I’ve followed the recent AL debates and apparently one of the arguments for allowing divorced and remarried Catholics who are NOT living as “brother and sister” to receive Communion is that (1) separation may not be possible if the couple has children and (2) stopping conjugal relations is somehow bad for the children of the “second marriage”.
I also know that most Catholics do not think an adulterous spouse has any obligation to confess or apologize to the wronged spouse. Again, “think of the innocent children” is a common argument; based on assumptions that (1) apparently the vast majority of married Catholics would immediately divorce a spouse who committed adultery and (2) a divorce would be bad for the children.
Well, so what if someone is an adulterous relationship, and decides to end it. But the affair partner threatens to tell the spouse about the affair UNLESS the adulterer continues the adultery. And the situation is such that it’s almost a 100% guarantee that the wronged spouse will pursue divorce if the affair became known, and this would hurt the innocent children. Especially if the “wronged” spouse was actually not the best custodial option for children due to say, alcoholism, or mental illness, etc. But the couple lives in a community where divorce courts unfairly favor one sex over the other in custody decisions and the children are definitely going to wind up living in a situation that’s much worse than if the marriage didn’t end.
So, it seems in this situation, it might be for the best interest of the children to continue the adulterous relationship. And the adulterer can continue to receive Communion, at least in the parishes that allow divorced and remarried to do so too. Otherwise, it seems there is a double standard.
I could also apply this to situations where affairs result in children, there are certainly cases of people who have two separate families even if only one of the relationships are legal marriage.
I don’t just mean extreme situations such as Sister Wives. I’ve heard this is fairly common among some men who immigrate to other countries to work, but leave their wives and children behind in the “home country”, and often wind up entering sexual relationships with local women, that often result in children.
And since many such immigrants come from traditional societies where mothers are not expected to work, if those adulterous relationships were to end, the children would suffer. Also, such an immigrant might have difficulty pursuing annulment in his home country. So, does this mean an immigrant in this situation is also free to receive Communion despite continuing in adultery? Or maybe all he has to do is to get a civil divorce from the first wife and marry the mistress?
I used to think the Catholic view was that divorce does not exist, and that a civil divorce certificate is irrelevant in judging situations as adulterous. But apparently, now it DOES make a difference, a civilly divorced person is less culpable for adultery than one who is not. But I still see a double standard. So, why is it ok to continue in adultery for the sake of the children for those civilly divorced from the first spouse, but not for those still legally married?