First off, I would like to say that I am a Catholic, albeit not a particularly well-educated one. Take note that this is a lengthy read too ;). There are a couple of things that I have been wondering about, and I haven’t found the answers to them yet. I was hoping some of you guys could help me out
To start, 2-3 passages in Matthew regarding marriage confuse me. There are 2 main reasons these passage bother me. Before I go on, I just want to say that I know the Catholic position that if you are married within the Church, there is no acceptable reason for divorce. The passage that is often quoted to back this up is:
“And God said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will no longer become one’. So they are no longer two, but one. No human being must separate, then, what God has called together.” Matt 19:5-7
Yet, if you read on, you will read, “I tell you, then, that any man who divorces his wife for any other causes than his unfaithfulness, commits adultery if he marries some other woman.”
And again in Matthew 5:32, “But now I tell you: if a man divorces his wife for any other reason than her unfaithfulness, then he is guilty of making her commit adultery if she marries again; and the man who marries her commits adultery also”.
Now it seems that this is contradicted in 1 Cor 7:10-18 where divorce is not allowed, although it doesn’t specifically talk about a case where a partner commits adultery.
So the 1st reason these passages bother me is because I don’t see how they are in line with Catholic teaching since Jesus says that divorce is OK if a partner is unfaithful. It also annoys me when I read the typical Catholic response as to why divorce is always sinful because they simply ignore parts of the passages. Catholics are great at telling non-Catholics how they often take Biblical quotes “out of context”, yet I would say that the typical Catholic response (all that I recall reading anyway) completely avoids these points.
The 2nd reason why I am bothered by one of these passages is because Jesus says, “Moses gave you permission to divorce because you are so hard to teach. But it was not like this at the start of Creation” Matt 19:8
This particular statement made me realize something. Does this mean that God allows a lesser sin in order to make us avoid greater sin? (ie. God previously allowed the sin of divorce because he knew the truth wouldn’t go down well in Moses’ time). But hang on- I thought that God never led us to sin. Even if He is making us avoid a greater sin, he is still technically lead them to sin, no?