If a person would absolutely divorce if they got cheated on, could they get married in the catholic church


Serious question. 20 characters


It would certainly be considered as grounds for nullity. But I’ve known people who’ve expressed this in pre-marriage prep who have married in the Church.


It’s an interesting question. We know that the Church may permit separation. Maybe that is the difference. If my spouse cheated I would divorce but accept that I am not free to enter another relationship unless a decree off nullity was obtained or maybe dies.


That’s what I mean. I would still respect the church position on annulments


This wold mean they do not understand the permanence of marriage, it is likely this would impact consent.


Not necessarily. I still believe marriage is forever. If the church said I couldn’t marry again I wouldn’t. But I wouldn’t stay with someone who cheated.


Then you might be viewed as having an intention against permanence.


A distinction has to be maintained between the “permanence” of marriage and the “indissolubility” of marriage. “Marriage is permanent” means that it is a stable relationship, not subject to a term limit. A person cannot be ignorant that marriage is permanent and still have valid consent (c. 1096). “Marriage is indissoluble” means that neither spouse can do anything to dissolve the marriage bond itself. A person cannot exclude the property of indissolubility from his consent and still gave a valid marriage (c. 1101.2).

Since the law allows for separation of spouses due to infidelity, there has to be more going on than a mere “if you are unfaithful, then I won’t continue to live with you” in order for the marriage to be invalid due to an exclusion of indissolubility. The person would have to be of the mind that infidelity either itself dissolves the marriage bond or it gives the innocent spouse the right to dissolve the marriage bond. In addition to that, the person would need to have a motivation for excluding the indissoluble nature of marriage.

For example, a woman knew that the guy was a philanderer during the courtship and had good reason to think that he would continue to be so, even in marriage. She was of the mind that if he was unfaithful during the marriage, she had the right to divorce and marry again. It was her firm intention to divorce as soon as infidelity was discovered and she would thereby be free of this marriage bond. They had a child together so she also thought that getting married would be a better situation than simple cohabitation–so, it was worth a try.



I was hoping you’d respond but I’d like to make 100% certain I understand your post

If a person would divorce or separate from an unfaithful spouse but understands that they are not free to enter another relationship they could potentially contract a valid marriage?


That is the basic idea. I appreciate the way you said “potentially.” That gives the needed wiggle room.



I’ll leave the canonical pieces to our dear canonist, but I would think that a stance to absolutely divorce is problematic from a moral point of view. It sets a precondition that you would cleave to another…so long as they do not wrong you in the future.

We are all called to forgive others and an absolute as put forth says that the person would not even consider reconciliation. Our duty to forgivee is very clearly stated throughout scripture. Christ tells us numerous times that the Father forgives us as we forgive others.

That doesn’t mean forgiveness cannot be conditional or that there are not valid reasons to seperate, but to have an absolute bar on forgiveness does raise concerns about one’s understanding of the totality of what marriage involves.

Wether those concerns rise to an actual impediment would be situational, but few clergy I know would not atleast probe a bit more if a person expressed a belief or intent such as this.


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