Church's teaching



I'm a cradle catholic and believe in my faith deeply and attend church regularly. I'm married in the church to my husband who is not catholic, but does go to church with me and our 3 little children.
We've hit upon some hard times this past year and I'm a working mother. Our son has some medical issues which were discovered this year and has made our lives a bit more challenging. My husband comes from a culture that demands service and is use to being served hand and foot.
I know that my husband and I do need professional counseling, however I need to understand the Church's position on an individual who is not faithful to their spouse. To what degree does the Church say that the line has been crossed is it with the actual physical act of infidelity or all the steps leading to it.
My husband is playing with fire and has crossed the line for me today in that he actually called up an escort service. I did not want to know more because I was utterly disgusted. I know we have issues in our marriage and it's a very difficult balancing act to be a working mother of 3 small children and a half way decent wife.
Thanks for any feedback on this as I know the 3 conditions for a mortal sin and I don't know how that would apply in this scenario. I personally don't want to wait for that last condition to be fulfilled even while going to counseling.


I am sad for the heartache in your marriage. May God heal and bless your marriage and family.

If you wish to read what the Church teaches about intention to sin and sin, you might find the official Catechism of the Catholic Church helpful

Regarding sin:

Regarding purity

Your husband's behaviour appears to show intent and appears to indicate that your husband was courting a grave occasion of sin, something which as a Catholic he would know is a mortal sin. This itself is gravely sinful and is a matter for his confession. If he fully intended/intends to follow through, it's the same as the act. If he freely decided not to then it is for the priest to decide whether it is grave but not mortal. Your husband knows whether or not he intended just to alarm you, but not a good choice of behaviour.

I realize you must know that this is a matter for your husband's conscience. And whether or not you contribute unreasonably to your husband's possibly intended sin is between you and God also. However I feel very much for you in your shock and sadness. I think you are trying to assess what action you should take and this is why you ask the question of us. It would seem a good idea to me to make an appointment with your priest and talk to him about things, ask his advice. It isn't something we can really advise you much about.

I hope and pray that you and your husband can successfully seek the help your marriage needs.
I'll pray for you both and your family at Mass.


Thank you so much for your wise words of wisdom Trishie. I have contacted our parish priest to get some guidance.
It's rather ironic that I was listening to EWTN the other day and heard the story of Our Lady of Knock and realized how important it is to truly keep families together albeit rather late in the game.
Thank you for your prayers and I will also pray to St. Monica as well.


I would talk to your priest. I also would not engage in marital relations until you get him STD tested - wait six months - and get another set of tests.


[quote="baloutang, post:1, topic:208975"]
however I need to understand the Church's position on an individual who is not faithful to their spouse. To what degree does the Church say that the line has been crossed is it with the actual physical act of infidelity or all the steps leading to it.


I'm not sure what you are looking for here. What, exactly, do you mean by "the Church's position" regarding faithfulness? You already know the answer to that: Adultery is a violation of the Sixth Commandment.

The Church doesn't have a "position" on "crossing" a line. The Church teaches fidelity in marriage is an essential property of marriage. I suggest reading the Catechism on the Sacrament of Marriage along with the sections on the Sixth and Ninth Commandments.

Your husband is not Catholic. Did he not intend faithfulness when you married? Why is he seeking out an escort service? You say he is from a different culture, is he also unbaptized/a non-Christian? I'm not getting it. Why would he suddenly be calling an escort? This didn't happen overnight.

Regarding what the Church says about maintaining a common life with an adulterer, here are the relevant canons in Canon Law:

Can. 1151 Spouses have the duty and right to preserve conjugal living unless a legitimate cause excuses them.

Can. 1152 §1. Although it is earnestly recommended that a spouse, moved by Christian charity and concerned for the good of the family, not refuse forgiveness to an adulterous partner and not disrupt conjugal life, nevertheless, if the spouse did not condone the fault of the other expressly or tacitly, the spouse has the right to sever conjugal living unless the spouse consented to the adultery, gave cause for it, or also committed adultery.

§2. Tacit condonation exists if the innocent spouse has had marital relations voluntarily with the other spouse after having become certain of the adultery. It is presumed, moreover, if the spouse observed conjugal living for six months and did not make recourse to the ecclesiastical or civil authority.

§3. If the innocent spouse has severed conjugal living voluntarily, the spouse is to introduce a cause for separation within six months to the competent ecclesiastical authority which, after having investigated all the circumstances, is to consider carefully whether the innocent spouse can be moved to forgive the fault and not to prolong the separation permanently.

Can. 1153 §1. If either of the spouses causes grave mental or physical danger to the other spouse or to the offspring or otherwise renders common life too diYcult, that spouse gives the other a legitimate cause for leaving, either by decree of the local ordinary or even on his or her own authority if there is danger in delay.

§2. In all cases, when the cause for the separation ceases, conjugal living must be restored unless ecclesiastical authority has established otherwise.

Can. 1154 After the separation of the spouses has taken place, the adequate support and education of the children must always be suitably provided.

Can. 1155 The innocent spouse laudably can readmit the other spouse to conjugal life; in this case the innocent spouse renounces the right to separate.


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