Divorce and Annulment

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  LARobert 3 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #2061

    carolecon
    Member

    I’m sure this topic isn’t new but I couldn’t find an existing discussion that I could add to.
    I came across the article by Jon Jakoblich entitled ‘What does the Catholic church teach about divorce?’. In it he references Mark 10: 11-12. What does the church say about Mathew 19:9?

    #10094

    Deeown
    Member
    "carolecon":1a8hqfog wrote:
    I’m sure this topic isn’t new but I couldn’t find an existing discussion that I could add to.
    I came across the article by Jon Jakoblich entitled ‘What does the Catholic church teach about divorce?’. In it he references Mark 10: 11-12. What does the church say about Mathew 19:9?[/quote:1a8hqfog]
    I myself am an Orthodox Christian, and in the Orthodox faith divorce is strongly discouraged unless reasons such as domestic violence or unfaithfulness are present. I believe it is the same in the Catholic Church as well.
    #10095

    carolecon
    Member

    Thanks for your input Deeown. I am Catholic and am currently grappling with this issue.

    In the article that I am referring to, Jon addresses the question ‘What about if one spouse is abusive or unfaithful?’. His response is that ‘The Church permits a physical separation of the spouses and living apart, but the two still remain married’.
    This is why I am interested to know what the Catholic interpretation of Mathew 19:9 is ” I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity (some bibles use the words unfaithfulness or fornication) and marries another commits adultery.”

    #10096

    Andres Ortiz
    Keymaster

    The two still remain married until/if an annulment is granted. An annulment proves that the marriage wasn’t valid at all and is not a Catholic form of divorce.

    #10097

    carolecon
    Member

    If the marriage was indeed valid and breaks down later as a result of adultery (the divorce proceedings having been instituted by the party committing adultery), it appears that this is not sufficient grounds for anulment. Hence my attempt to try and understand the church’s interpretation of Mathew 19:9??

    #10102

    Andres Ortiz
    Keymaster

    On the surface it appears to read that It would not be adultery if someone divorced their spouse due to infidelity and married another, however, this seems inconsistent with Catholic teaching on divorce. As with all things in Scripture there is usually more to the story. I looked up the footnotes on this and related verses in the New American Bible.

    The same passage occurs also in Matthew 5:32 and the following are the footnotes on that passage:

    [31-32] See Deut 24:1-5. The Old Testament commandment that a bill of divorce be given to the woman assumes the legitimacy of divorce itself. It is this that Jesus denies. (Unless the marriage is unlawful): this “exceptive clause,” as it is often called, occurs also in Matthew 19:9, where the Greek is slightly different. There are other sayings of Jesus about divorce that prohibit it absolutely (see Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18; cf 1 Cor 7:10, 11b), and most scholars agree that they represent the stand of Jesus. Matthew’s “exceptive clauses” are understood by some as a modification of the absolute prohibition. It seems, however, that the unlawfulness that Matthew gives as a reason why a marriage must be broken refers to a situation peculiar to his community: the violation of Mosaic law forbidding marriage between persons of certain blood and/or legal relationship (Lev 18:6-18). Marriages of that sort were regarded as incest (porneia), but some rabbis allowed Gentile converts to Judaism who had contracted such marriages to remain in them. Matthew’s “exceptive clause” is against such permissiveness for Gentile converts to Christianity; cf the similar prohibition of porneia in Acts 15:20, 29. In this interpretation, the clause constitutes no exception to the absolute prohibition of divorce when the marriage is lawful.[/quote:1su4xcm5]
    It would appear that in the original context of the writing there were circumstances in the community which made exceptions to divorce allowed. However, in normal circumstances divorce is not permitted in a completely valid marriage.
    #10104

    LARobert
    Participant

    The verse that you have asked about was translated as unfaithfulness or Adultery by Protestant translators in the 16th Century. The original Greek word is Pornia, which when the Gospel was written did not mean unfailfulness after marriage, but to one’s fitness to marry prior to ones vows. So a woman (or man) who had fornicated, or had sexual relationships before marriage would not be able to enter into the sacrament without disclosing it to the spouse before the marriage, and having the Bishop absolve the impedement.

    For Henry VIII and other Protestants the change allowed for a radical change, including demoting Marriage from being a Sacrament to a simple legal contract, with little or no Graces. An oversimplification, but it has boiled down to this in practical terms.

    #10105

    carolecon
    Member

    Thanks to you both for the insightful responses. The Church seems to, for whatever reason, take a particularly hard stance when it comes to divorce. It’s clear that Jesus was strongly opposed to divorce. It seems though that, according to the rules of the Church, if one commits adultery (within a valid marriage), perhaps even murder and various other sins of a serious nature, one can go to confession, obtain absolution and thereafter carry on with life as per normal, receive communion etc. Whereas a person who has been divorced by a spouse who has found another partner (and in so doing committed adultery) is in effect expected to remain celibate for the rest of their lives.

    #10106

    LARobert
    Participant

    Confession (or rather the Sacrament itself) is not a magical incantation. What is involved is that someone who has sinned, and is truly sorry for his or her offence, approches the Sacrament, confesses his or her sin with the intention of giving up that sin. If you attempt to marry a second person regardless of what Jesus, or the Church teach, knowing that it is sinful, and continue to live in that sinful life, there is little evidence that you want to give up sin.

    Now the other side of this is Annulment. As mentioned above the New Testament speaks of Pornia. Or something that caused the marriage to be invalid from the first moment. (A bit in a minute about sin, but first Null and Void acts.) If there was something that caused the marriage to never be a Sacramental marriage, then it one would be free to marry in what may appear to be a second marriage. If someone has been granted a civil divorce, they really should have the marriage investigated by the Church to see if there was a valid marriage in the first place. You’ve brought up adultery as an example. Let’s say that one or both of the parties had not intended to marry “til death do us part.” and had witheld from the priest/deacon and their marriage partner that they did not believe that marriage was indisolvible, and a manogomous state. If one or both of the parties was drunk, taking drugs, or forced into the marriage. If one or both of the parties was too immature to make a commitment, there are several reasons why a marriage may never have really taken place. If such an impediment, or reason to prove that there was something that prevented the marriage from being a Sacramental Marriage, but only a civil contract, even if preformed in a Church, by a priest or deacon who had faculties to marry, then the marriage is not a Sacrament and could be declared to never have Sacramentally taken place.

    As to those who have a problem with scruples, or are always worried if the Sacraments they recieve were valid, (like absolution in the confessional) and sadly there are those who suffer from this spiritual and psychological illness. To sin, one must know it offends God and will to offend Him. So if one is married, and there was a real impediment to a valid marriage, the couple has not sinned as they did not intend to live in sin, and believed that they were really married. The situation can be corrected if they find out about the impedement.

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