Continuing in Adultery for the sake of the Children


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?


Basically your scenario is similar to the film Fatal Attraction, but instead Michael Douglas continues the affair with Glen Close because she blackmailed him.


Well, the first scenario is. And I suppose one could make the argument that someone who is blackmailed into continuing an affair has reduced culpability because they are under some degree of coercion. So maybe they can indeed be admitted to Communion.

But what about the other scenario, which is of someone who establishes a second family without actually getting a civil divorce? What, from a Catholic POV, is materially different between such a person, and one who is civilly divorced? They are both in adulterous relationships, and risk the well being of children if they were to stop committing adultery.

ETA: I also can see why some African bishops are concerned that the same arguments used to justify Communion for D+R Catholics, can be used to justify Communion for polygamists.

After all, many polygamists come from societies where women do not work outside the home, or who are expected to be under some man’s protection, and if a polygamous husband were to set aside his other wives, they would be at a severe disadvantage, as would their children - as in, literally starving. A much worse scenario than the First World problems children in Europe and the US might face if a second marriage “ended” because their parents tried to live as “brother and sister”.

So a polygamous man may wish to keep living with the other wives out of a sense of charity, not selfishness. And the same difficulties with maintaining a “brother and sister” relationship would apply.


first of all, AL doesn’t say what you’re implying. civil dovorce does not automatically reduce a person’s culpability
scenarios are not all black and white.

what about the woman who has entered in to a second marriage, then converted to the church but is in a traditional society where she is not able to leave her husband for the time being, and is pretty much forced in to relations with him?

AL is not about softening things for people who are not repentant for their sins. it’s to help people who relaly want to try and come back to the church but find themselves in a mess. there’s no communion free for all, you still can’t take communion if you are in mortal sin, however there are some situations that would not constitute mortal sin, the catechism already teaches this


I have heard of that scenario on CAF before, but it seems this would apply to a woman in a polygamous marriage who converts as well. Although if she had never been married before herself, her sin would actually be fornication, not adultery. Only the "husband "would be guilty of adultery, and perhaps rape against the “second wife”.

However, I doubt the “liberal” approach to AL is to limit Communion only to such extreme cases of reduced culpability.

AL is not about softening things for people who are not repentant for their sins. it’s to help people who relaly want to try and come back to the church but find themselves in a mess. there’s no communion free for all, you still can’t take communion if you are in mortal sin, however there are some situations that would not constitute mortal sin, the catechism already teaches this

Again, seems that some bishops would disagree, and I think this is part of the confusion, and how this has made some Catholics leave the Church and some (like me) less likely to join it.


You have to be selective about what you read. Much of what is being alleged is simply false.
Anyone who would walk away from Christ int he Eucharist over a document that is meant for Bishops and pastors is missing the whole point.


It is not okay to continue in adultery for the sake of children, to preserve one’s life, for a nation or for the whole world, or for whatever reason. Committing adultery is against God’s commandment ‘Thou shall not commit adultery’ and it is a grave sin. Adulterers will not inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9). Commiting adultery or any sin does not do any good for children but harms them. Sinning, whether mortal or venial sins, harms one’s relationship with God, one’s relationship with his/her fellow human beings, one’s relationship with the mystical body of Christ which is the Church, one’s relationship with the entire human community. ‘One may not do evil so that good may result from it’ (CCC#1756). Sinning does not produce good but evil and especially grievous, deadly, and harmful are mortal sins and grave matter of which adultery falls into this category. Consider the consequences for the human family of our first parent’s, Adam and Eve’s, mortal sin by which they disobeyed God’s commandment. We must be on our guard against calling evil good and good evil as God warned us through the prophet Isaiah:

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter" (Isaiah 5:20).


Perhaps I am confused … but at least here in the States I think few if any people have carnal relations within view of their children -

Thus in reality - it is possible to “Live as Brother & Sister” and maintain the family for the sake of the children from that second marriage …

Now one can ask whether that is hard to do for two people, hard to maintain over a long period of time, whether both partners support that arrangement or would that force one to leave which harms the family unity … but it is possible to refrain from the carnal aspects …

After all - spouses do so everyday due to medical reasons - some permanent others transient.

Some couples are separated for extended periods and and they are able to maintain family unity.

Couples living chaste lives is possible for a host of reasons unrelated to marriage irregularity … one would hope that a couple would seek to regularize their relationship and this relaxation of rules on reception of Communion would be for those who were seeking that with a high probability of success … and not a permanent acceptance of “adultery” … because I don’t think that is the intent …


Not doing the right thing compounds problems. Sin begets sin in a vicious cycle.
At every step the best course of action is to do the right thing.

I don’t buy the idea that families will melt away if a man and woman don’t have sex for a time.


TIW it seems hard to believe you have read AL or followed the debate very closely given the tentative conclusions you draw here.

In your second example: Some of the many things that show this is far from the rarer sort of irregular AL has in mind would be:
It is unclear if the worker has irreparably ended his first marriage. In these situations the pretence goes on unresolved for years…so return is usually possible even if not actually desired by the husband.
He has not attempted to gain an annulment the…if he even has grounds for being successful.
The Church would still want too see him acting responsibly re children of the first marriage and so alimony would be due. Given 1st wife doesn’t work much that would mean his alimony should be the same amount as always I would think.If he cannot afford to pay for both families his obligation is of course to the 1st family. If he fails in this then no Communion possibility.
If he passes all the above and the 2nd relationship is well established stable and happy he would need to convince the PP there were likely some grounds for an annulment if he had gone through the process and was declined. If it’s too difficult to go home and try that probably wouldn’t cut it.
If the PP was then convinced, despite the tribunal findings, that the man never really believed he was married to his 1st wife on some serious grounds that couldn’t be well proven to the tribunal, or getting an annulment truly was too difficult (unlikely as he used to travel home regularly anyways), then if he really did believe he deserved Communion he would be asked to abstain.
Given all the above and the etiology of this exampley he probably wouldn’t be able to abstain a d could then seek Confession, receive Communion and keep trying.

I find it hard to believe he, or any PP, would sanely think his first marriage was never a true one and that he also really loves God and he also deserves to have guilt free sex with his 2nd wife just because he has an issue with continence.
Most God fearing men in this scenario would either accept that they may well be graced but cannot receive Communion OR they attempt a life of abstention.
That is certainly how any PP who understands AL and current Church law would proceed.


It is not really clear that all couples can abstain just because some can.
Re medical reasons…well that is often a cause of men seeking prostitutes, pornography or work liaisons despite your high ideals.

St Paul from experience clearly thought abstention was not possible for some single men and unwise for even larger numbers of married young couples.


I have to sin sexually for children!?

Uh, we live in interesting and sad times.


Indeed, as iwe always have.

Some me have to sin pugnaciously for their children’s sake also, as in lethal self defence.
It’s sad but is needed at times.

Does it change the nature of the necessity that many men actually love a good excuse to be violent. They will of course sin mortally if they take this attitude even when necessity demands this sad necessity.

Why do we somehow think sex must be completely different in terms of the principle of double effect?

Sad but necessary situations do not therefore intrinsically bar one from Communion it seems.


I can’t believe how wrong you are. Adultery does not benifit children. Evil does not produce good. Jesus was not a liar.



The integrity of the person

2338 The chaste person maintains the integrity of the powers of life and love placed in him. This integrity ensures the unity of the person; it is opposed to any behavior that would impair it. **It tolerates neither a double life nor duplicity in speech.**125


You mean Pope Francis?

Adultery does not benifit children.

It seems some forms can.

Evil does not produce good.

Does killing a stranger in my home sometimes produce good?

Jesus was not a liar.

Though some who interpret his words may be mistaken.


Bh, The church cannot teach that adultery is ok. Or that someone insistent in sin can recoeve the Eucharist.

Pope Francis has not done what you say.

I’m embarrassed by your position.

Jesus’ words on marriage and the Eucharist cannot be mistaken.

Who is your God? What you think pope Francis represents or Jesus?


Yes your post demonstrates this well.
Adultery cannot benefit a child. The Pope has not said this. It is an injustice to infer that he has.
And the comparison with killing an invader simply doesn’t work morally. This has been pointed out repeatedly in other threads.


It is also “often a cause” of husbands raping their wives. Do you also see it as an impossible ideal that men hold in their sexual urges enough to not commit rape?


Killing is not OK, see the 5th Commandment. Yet Catholic soldiers receive Communion even without confession. As do lethal self defenders.

Pope Francis has not done what you say.

What is it you believe I said he stated?

I’m embarrassed by your position.

And I your words.

Jesus’ words on marriage and the Eucharist cannot be mistaken.

Yet they regularly are here on CAF by the dozens of AL topics, and over the centuries by the Orthodox and Protestant Churches…to say nothing of many Catholics who do not understand Tribunals that they consider divorce by another name :shrug:.
So sorry, Jesus’s words are indeed misunderstood by most … who still argue over exactly what he meant about marriage. And Communion…that is a completely different issue again of which he said zero re irregulars from my reading of the Gospels.

Who is your God? What you think pope Francis represents or Jesus?

Who are you :confused:.

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