Thursday, June 8, 2017

Marriage and Divorce


The Problem: Many Christian denominations permit divorce.

The Truth: Divorce is impossible - what God has joined, no man may break asunder. In order for a valid marriage to have occurred, both parties must make full, free, and knowledgeable assent to entrance into the sacrament. A serious defect of understanding, freedom, or intent may erect such an impediment to the graces proper to marriage that the bond of marriage is never actually established to begin with, despite the appearance of such. If, after proper investigation of the circumstances surrounding the event, such impediments are shown to have been present, the Church may declare that a valid sacramental marriage was not, in fact, undertaken. This formal declaration is called an "annullment" - it is the formal recognition that one or both parties were operating under such impediments that the graces proper to the establishment of the bond of marriage were not conferred, and no marriage was ever established.

Mt 5:31-32 "It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' 32 But I say to you that every one who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Mt 19:3-9 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?" 4 He answered, "Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder." 7 They said to him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" 8 He said to them, "For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery."

Porneia, the word translated here as "unchastity" means "sexual unlawfulness." It probably refers to a couple living together without being formally engaged or married, or to an attempt to marry someone who is too close in consanguinity, that is, to close of a blood relative, to validly do so.

Mk 10:2-9 And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" 3 He answered them, "What did Moses command you?" 4 They said, "Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to put her away." 5 But Jesus said to them, "For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6 But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.' 7 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder."

1 Cor 7:10-15 To the married I give charge, not I but the Lord, that the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does, let her remain single or else be reconciled to her husband)and that the husband should not divorce his wife.

12 To the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving partner desires to separate, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. For God has called us to peace.

This passage is the basis for the "Pauline privilege". Marriage is a sacrament. A sacrament may only be validly conferred onto a baptized person (except for baptism itself, which is the sacrament of entry into the Body of Christ, and the gateway to all other sacraments). Both partners must be baptized in order for a sacramental marriage to have occurred. If two unbaptized people marry, a natural, non-sacramental marriage occurs. If one member of a natural marriage is subsequently baptized, the natural marriage may, under certain circumstances, be dissolved in order to protect the faith of the baptized member.

Early Christians' comments on Divorce and Remarriage

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