Hello. I have met a man who is seeking a divorce from his wife. He would like us to have a dating-type relationship. He is married to a Catholic woman; he is protestant; they married in a civil ceremony. The marriage was never blessed by the Church. The wife does not object to the divorce. They have one child. I think the marriage is invalid for lack of form. I mention this to provide the background. It is my life's aim to be faithful to the Church. I realize that this man presents a very problematic situation. My question:
*Does the validity/invalidity of the marriage as determined by the Catholic Church have any bearing on whether or not a relationship is adulterous?
My first thought is that it does not...that we are to honor marriage, even those that are ultimately deemed invalid by the Church because of the risk of scandal. Not all friends/family/acquaintances are privy to all of the details of the marriage and may presume that the "dating" couple is engaged in an adulterous relationship.
However, I wonder if that is true in every case. An extreme example would be a woman wanting to date a man "married" to another man. Such a "marriage" , though legal, would not be recognized by the Church or natural law. The man may have some legal committments with another man but not any real "marital" committments thus no adultery would occur because of the man's "marriage." So from that thought I wonder if I would be at risk of adultery if I dated a man who was in an invalid marriage?
I think I should add that I realize that fornication is a risk in this situation. I am trying to discern if an emotional relationship in this situation would be considered adultery.
I appreciate any counsel faithful to the Magisterium. Thanks.