Adultery/Divorce

It is with a very heavy heart that I write this asking for advice.

I am a married woman with small children. I am unhappily married and have considered divorce several times. I do not completely understand the Church’s position on divorce. Will I be allowed to practice in my faith? Will my children be punished?

Also I have done something terrible and committed adultery. This is something that I have not yet confessed but plan to immediately. The affair was not the reason I am contemplating divorce, I believe it is just a by-product of my unhappiness the past several years. I am truely sorry for this and am embarrassed for my behaviors.

Have I ruined all my chances for going to Heaven. The thought of not spending eternal life with those I love is too much to bear. I really am a good person, I have just strayed.

there are a lot of steps to take first, retrouvaille, marriage counselling, you can get a referral to a Catholic counselor from your pastor or Catholic Charities, you must go to confession at the earliest opportunity. You cannot face what you are dealing with on your own, you need Christ’s grace, given freely in His sacraments.

You must meet with your priest for pastoral care on the situations in your life, besides confession. In general, yes a divorced person who is otherwise in the state of grace may receive communion.

Hi there. Peace of Christ.

Firstly…we are all sinners…even the saints were sinners. Remember that. I say this because God’s forgiveness is infinitely bigger than our guilt.

And, to answer your questions specifically:

I do not completely understand the Church’s position on divorce. Will I be allowed to practice in my faith? Will my children be punished?

If you get a legal divorce, you will still be married in the eyes of the Church…so, as long as you do not re-marry or have extra-marital sex, you are still okay to practice your faith. If you wanted to re-marry, you’d need an annulment…
Your Children will not be punished for anything you do

Also I have done something terrible and committed adultery. This is something that I have not yet confessed but plan to immediately. The affair was not the reason I am contemplating divorce, I believe it is just a by-product of my unhappiness the past several years. I am truly sorry for this and am embarrassed for my behaviour.
Have I ruined all my chances for going to Heaven. The thought of not spending eternal life with those I love is too much to bear. I really am a good person, I have just strayed.

No you have not. If you confess this, promising not to do it again, you will be forgiven (as you indicated that you will do ASAP). The sin will be wiped away with the Blood of the Lamb and it will be FORGOTTEN. So, Rejoice!
Even if you die now, before confession, the intent of going to confession at the earliest chance would be enough in the eyes of the Church. You’re fine.

That takes care of the immediate state of your soul.

Good luck with your marriage, I’ll pray for you!

PM.

Hello,
Remember that Jesus came to serve. Just before the Last Supper, Jesus washed the feet of the apostles. He humbled himself to wash the dirtiest part of the body. Allow yourself to experience his mercy by allowing Jesus to wash your soul clear in the sacrament of confession. If it has been awhile since you made a good one thats not a problem either. Just ask the priest to help you and he will.

You seem to understand that adultery is a grave sin. You should also be aware that “Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death.” (CCC 2384).

Have you sought marriage counseling? My recommendation is to seek forgiveness through the Sacrament of Penance, and ***strive to repair your marriage. *** Try to convince your husband to attend counseling with you. God forgives us as we forgive others.

From a Catholic perpective, “a marriage which is ratified and consummated cannot be dissolved by any human power or by any cause other than death.” (1983 CIC, c. 1141).

Furthermore, there must be lawful reason to severe conjugal life with your spouse. According the Church, “spouses have the obligation and the right to maintain their common conjugal life, unless a lawful reason excuses them.” (1983 CIC, c. 1151).

Lawful reasons for separation (note: separation is not divorce) include: adultery by your spouse (see below), spouse who occasions grave danger of soul or body to the other or to the children, or a spouse who otherwise makes the common life unduly difficult.

In cases of adultery, "it is earnestly recommended that a spouse, motivated by christian charity and solicitous for the good of the family, should not refuse to pardon an adulterous partner and*** should not sunder the conjugal life.*** Nevertheless, if that spouse has not either expressly or tacitly condoned the other’s fault, he or she has the right to sever the common conjugal life, provided he or she has not consented to the adultery, nor been the cause of it, nor also committed adultery. (1983 CIC, c. 1152 §1)

"A spouse who occasions grave danger of soul or body to the other or to the children, or otherwise makes the common life unduly difficult, provides the other spouse with a reason to leave, either by a decree of the local Ordinary or, if there is danger in delay, even on his or her own authority. In all cases, when the reason for separation ceases, the common conjugal life is to be restored, unless otherwise provided by ecclesiastical authority. (1983 CIC, c. 1153 §1, §2 ).

If you desire to remain faithful to your Catholic obligations, unless there is “danger in delay,” even given lawful reasons to separate from your spouse as described above, you still need to bring a case for separation to the competent ecclesiastical authority.

just like every one else has told you Gods forgiveness is greater than than we can understand. remember St Paul ? his job or hobby was to go around and kill followers of Christ!!! yet God forgave him and he inturn forgave himself so he could carry on and not be burdened with guilt . So go see your confessor and accept forgivness and don’t let it burden you anymore. Now find a GOOD catholic counsler . I am very lucky , in my area we have a Franscian Priest who runs a counseling office nobody can say enough about him . you may go through a few people before you find the right person . pray to GOD for Guidance he will not fail you. you may not like where he guides you , and you have to make sure it’s not you guiding yourself.I hopes this helps a little . PEACE of CHRIST to YOU

My best advice is to take this all to your priest. Schedule a time for both confession and some pastoral counseling. I don’t know what the trouble in your marriage is, but that really needs to be the focus and your priest can probably give you some really good direction.

You have not ruined your chance for getting into Heaven. Please remember that God is very merciful, generous and more importantly, forgiving. Remember in the Bible (John 8: 1-11) when the crowds wanted to kill the women who was caught in sexual sin. Jesus sent the people away to think about their own sins. Jesus asked the woman, “Has no one condemed you? The woman replied, “No one Lord”. Jesus said to her, Neither do I condem you; go, and do not sin again”.

Just remember to go to confession and you will receive the grace from God and be in His friendship again. God will ALWAYS forgive you.

Peace,

Mark

The only person who can really counsel you is your pastor. I hope you will feel comfortable talking with him - or another priest - very very soon.

The dynamic for women committing adultery is very complex. It sounds as if you truly regret the action and are ready to take it to Confession, which is just where it needs to go.

Also, the matter of divorce is too complex to address here. There are times when divorce is absolutely necessary to protect the lives and safety of the wife and children. There are also other situations in which divorce is the lesser of two evils.

I did not know, when my husband and I separated and divorced, that he was homosexual; however, our marriage was a nightmarish travesty of psychological abuse and contempt from our wedding night onward. He is now living openly as a homosexual, and I have received immense healing through the nullity process (First Instance declaration received a month ago).

When I went through my situation, I was not Catholic, and I was embarrassed to discuss our troubles with anyone - nice people just didn’t talk about certain topics, then. Now I know that, had I only dared to trust, I would have received a mountain of support from friends and pastors.

No one knows what it is like to be in a marriage with a pathological complication - even until I received my declaration from my diocesan tribunal, I didn’t realize how brutal and heavy or complete the oppression had been.

Do - talk to your priest/Confessor. You will have my prayers.

I just want to thank every single one of you for your replies and messages. I will reply to the messages soon - it really means a lot to me.

I went to confession last week and spent some time talking to the priest. He was actually a lot different then I thought he would be. I was terrified to go - just terrified. He made me feel so confortable and offered pretty good advice.

I am still struggling. This will not be something that is going away overnight or anytime maybe. I know that I need to work on my marriage and I know that I made a promise in the sacrament of matrimony. But I am just unhappy. I have been unhappy for years. I am struggling with that. Do I deserve to be happy? I don’t know. I am young - I don’t want to be unhappy forever. It affects me being a good mother.

Anyway, Thanks again. I do feel much better after confession. I thank you for your prayers.

I’m a little concerned about the “happiness” question. Is your husband the cause of your unhappiness, or the scapegoat for it? I say this, just because it is not clear at all what his part is in your unhappiness from your posts.

In any case, I’d continue with the priest and counseling to see the root of your problem, and solutions that are consistent with you vows, if any at all are available.

There is this popular secular myth that happiness is our birthright as Americans and as Christians. It is a myth - and like myths tend to be, it is not true.

Your unhappiness might be your gut telling you of a serious problem in your marriage, or it might be a character weakness on your part; no one here can tell you which it is.

To a large extent, happiness is a choice we make - to be contented with what we have, to find and to appreciate the beauty that comes our way from day to day.

I’m going to extend my earlier advice and urge you to do some reading and praying - ask God to show you the root cause of your unhappiness. Take the insights He gives you to your priest as you discuss your situation with him.

Sage advice and comments. I had hesitated to comment further on the happiness myth (somehow it conviently forgets the “for worse part” part of the deal), and especially on something else I saw in the OP:

I am still struggling. This will not be something that is going away overnight or anytime maybe. I know that I need to work on my marriage and I know that I made a promise in the sacrament of matrimony. But I am just unhappy. I have been unhappy for years. I am struggling with that. Do I deserve to be happy? I don’t know. I am young - I don’t want to be unhappy forever. It affects me being a good mother.

The divorce industry sells quite a line on divorcing the father is being a good mother. Unless dad is beating the kids or you, or otherwise abusing them or you, leave them out of it. I’ve seen plenty of atrocities committed in divorce court (family court is a misnomer) in the name of the children. The stats alone on fatherless children (such that the single best predictor of all sorts of behavior, criminal, drugs, depression, etc. in children is whether dad is in the home, not to mention the atrotious stats on step fathers (there are outstanding exceptions here) and even worse, live in boyfriends) expose this lie for what it is.

Again, those who can professionally counsel in person are the only ones who are going to be able to help in this.

First of all, you will be in my daily prayers! I loved seeing what you mentioned here about going to confession. You felt comfortable and received good advice because you were blessed with an encounter with Christ. The confessional is one of the greatest gifts we have.

I just want you to remember, as you make this battle, that God does not love you in spite of anything. He loves you…period. It is easy for us to fall into a trap of self loathing and, more often than not, we begin to believe that God sees us as we see us. I had a spiritual director say something I will never forget: “Do not create God in your image. He does not see you the way you see you.” Take a hold of that truth, find that love and you will find the right path, you WILL find peace.

I will be praying for you and am so glad you’ve taken the steps you have. Continue on that path, hold tight to God’s love, and let Him lead you. Faith, hope, and love. They are all yours, so do me a favor and smile today! :smiley:

God bless you!

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