Did Jesus really say this?


I can’t seem to locate the source at the moment, but I believe the Church does allow it if the faithful spouse and children are put in danger of losing their Catholic faith if they are to remain in the family unit. An example would be where a Catholic husband renounced his faith and became a Muslim for example and there would be expected pressure for the spouse and children to be converted and brought up in the offending spouse’s new faith.

Another example would be the faithful spouse and children and be exposed to physical/mental harm if they were to remain in the family. I’m not sure whether living separately is a reasonable solution instead of divorce for this example though.


Psst… ‘fornication’ means “sex outside of marriage” (after all, ‘adultery’ means sex with a non-spouse when married). The implication is that there isn’t a valid marriage – otherwise, it would be ‘adultery’. The use of “unlawful” makes that a bit more clear than the more generic ‘sexual immorality’, and clears up any confusion that might be caused by translating it as ‘adultery’. :wink:


There are 2 verses Mat 5:32 and Mat 19:3-9 that Jesus talked about divorce. In both he gave the exception clause. The example given was the man divorcing the wife. In those times, the wife is fully dependent on the husband for sustenance. Without a husband the divorced wife must necessarily remarry in order to survive. If the wife is chaste, the divorce will cause her to be an adulteress when she remarries in order to survive. Hence the guilt for the offending husband is more serious as he caused another to sin.

There may be OT biblical support for divorce. In Deuteronomy 24:4 the husband can not remarry a former wife because she has been “defiled” by another man. On that footing, one can argue that a cheating wife once defiled by another man, can not rejoin as one to her husband. So does that make divorce a permissible act in a cheating relationship?

God hates divorce Mal 2:16. To the extent that God continually overlook Israel’s , God’s OT bride , for being unfaithful. Jeremiah 3. I suspect the Church has taken the stance of forgiving and valuing the covenant with God on a higher level than the “defilement” part. There are a number of verses related to forgiveness. The one that comes to mind is if you don’t forgive others, we might not be forgiven either. Marriage is a holy covenant with God. 2 persons, joined as one, making the marriage vows in the presence of God. The man/woman team, even on bad terms with each other, still has a valid covenant with God. So only death ends this covenant. Or if all 3 parties agree which will not happen since God already declared he hates divorce.

But does Mat 5:32 actually permits divorce? If one slice and dice the language, it says if the wife is unchaste, then the husband will not be guilty of causing her to be an adulteress. But it does not say divorce is permissible for him, only that he is not guilty of causing his wife to be an adulteress because she already is. I can not identify from the language that Jesus is permitting divorce.

But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality [porneias], makes her the victim of adultery [moichatai], and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery [moichatai]. (NIV)



A ‘cheating wife’ would have committed adultery. In Leviticus 20, the penalty – for both – is death. Since the cheating wife & her paramour would already be dead, and not free to marry each other, Deuteronomy 24 doesn’t apply. Rather, it deals with a separate issue: divorce and remarriage.


Well ‘unlawful’ would mean someone who was previously married or is still married gets married again, then the marriage would be unlawful. The reason why adultery appears twice is that being previously married or still married (and getting married) IS adultery. Unlawful or Adultery is the same difference.


Divorce is acceptable if it was an adulterous marriage to begin with. That is what is meant.


What do you mean by that? Examples and biblical/Church supporting this contention?


What do you mean by that? Examples and biblical/Church supporting this contention?


Sacred Heart: You are speaking of an unlawful marriage—correct? The reason why adultry is is repeated twice.


Then the translator is reading what he/she thinks the author should have written, rather than what was written. When translators take those kinds of liberty, their text cannot be trusted.


Well if it is an adulterous marriage to begin with then it isn’t lawful at all to be married again. That would be adultery. Let’s say a person divorces their spouse and then marries again. That would be adultery. The person is already married and therefore enters an invalid union, then divorce is possible for the sake of the original marriage. The divorce of an adulterous marriage would mean that sanctity is brought back to the original marriage, therefore it is lawful to get a divorce in the instance of an unlawful marriage. An unlawful marriage is merely an adulterous marriage. An adulterous marriage is not lawful. Another example of an unlawful marriage would be a forced marriage where the two parties are not in agreement.


Yes but the word adultery is also translated as unlawful. There are other examples of how a marriage can be unlawful. One is an example where the marriage is forced. To be married before God, both parties must come into agreement. If its forced then that means both parties are not in agreement; therefore spiritually it becomes an unlawful marriage.

Another example of an unlawful marriage is where a man takes more than one wife. That is adultery and therefore the second or third…marriage is unlawful. This means that a divorce from the “extra wives” becomes lawful.


Got it. But I think we have been using the wrong term. There is no divorce allowable, only annulment. In this case an annulment is in order as this marriage suffers a defect rendering it invalid as one can marry only on a single or widow/widower status.


OK, that’s not what an “adulterous marriage” is – that would be a valid marriage in which one spouse is committing adultery, right?

What you’re describing here is an invalid marriage, since the spouse is already validly married. (In canon law terms, we’re talking about ‘ligamen’ – the valid prior bond of the first marriage means that the second marriage is invalid.)

Let’s say a person divorces their spouse and then marries again. That would be adultery. The person is already married and therefore enters an invalid union, then divorce is possible for the sake of the original marriage.

Umm… no – not if I understand you correctly. I think that what you’re saying is that Jesus meant “if you’re in an invalid second marriage, you can divorce, but that’s the only time divorce is possible.” That’s not what He meant here.

On the other hand, I think you’re presenting this case:
[list]*]Christians marry (let’s call them Abe and Betty).
*]Abe and Betty divorce.
*]Abe turns around and marries Cathy.
*]The marriage to Cathy is invalid; Abe (civilly) divorces Cathy and (civilly) re-marries Betty.
*]Since the marriage of Abe and Betty was never affected by the civil divorce, they continue to be validly married (in the eyes of the Church).[/list]

It seems that this is the situation you’re discussing. Yes, this is reasonable, and would be recommended by the Church as a means to return to the valid marriage. No, this is not what Jesus is talking about.


No – the translator is providing an accurate translation of what is written. This is not “taking liberty”, it is “translation.”

I hear what you’re saying, though: since, a priori, you don’t trust Catholic translations, you conclude that the translator is ‘correcting’ the original author.

What’s amusing is that you’re trusting other translators, who use a variety of words, and mistrusting the Catholic translation – but blaming the Catholic translation for doing exactly what the other translators do… :sad_yes:


Bottom line is what the Church teaches on faith and morals. This is the authority I believe in, and is for our own good.

I thank the Lord for the authentic Magisterium of the Church.


Heh, nothing to do with Catholic, you can lay off the sectarian stuff. The NAB has “unless the marriage is unlawful” but the interlinear doesn’t include Greek words for “marriage” or “unlawful”. The word for unlawful is, apparently, athemitos, but the word in the verse is porneia.

All the other bibles use an English word in line with the definition of porneia, and that includes the Douay-Rhiems Catholic bible as I already said. Unless the NAB use a different source text from all other translations, it’s incorrect.


Yes in an annulment; but scriptural speaking, the word used tends to be divorce in that passage. A matter of semantics I believe. But you are absolutely right, an annulment is the proper term when related to the context of this particular scriptural passage.


In an original marriage (where one person marries another for the first time), the marriage would be valid. If one commits adultery in their original marriage, leaves their partner who they sinned against; and then remarries–The ‘remarriage’ would be invalid and therefore adulterous. Anyone who marries an adulterer becomes an adulterer. There is no validity in such a marriage. It (the marriage) becomes unlawful then divorce can be attained through an annulment.

The valid prior bond is what I’ve been explaining in these posts. The former marriage is invalid if there is a latter marriage. Only the original marriage “counts”. All other marriages become adulterous.

Of course. The original marriage is valid. Once a man and woman is united, lawfully, in God’s presence the only thing God says that can break that bond is death of a spouse. What I am clearly saying is that if an adulterer leaves their original spouse and remarries then the ‘new marriage’ is inherently invalid; and therefore a divorce through annulment of the two adulterers marriage is possible. Look, under this nations laws divorce and remarriage is valid. What the Church says is that if an adulterous union’s couple desire to be divorced then its moral stance, the Church says this instance of divorce is possible (and even necessary) because it is not valid to begin with. Regardless, the Church doesn’t recognize an adulterous marriage. In reconciliation with the Church and the individuals, the Church will perform an annulment.


Look, the Church has its moral stance, which is a perfect moral stance, however, the Church is still subject to the laws of the nations it exists in. In the eyes of the law, here in the United States, an adulterous marriage is valid. Since it is valid in the eyes of the nation in which the Church resides, the Church must consider this validity in the eyes of a nations laws; and therefore, make it possible for an annulment to be available to any adulterous couple that desires to divorce.

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