Hi. So apparently the Catholic teaching on marriage is that it cannot be dissolved if it is valid, as demonstrated in this CA tract:
Now the hardest part of this to accept from me is that if your spouse leaves you or cheats on you, even say openly and to your face, or even say has another child by another person, according to the Catholic Church, you cannot ever remarry while the spouse is still alive.
This cuts you off from any of the benefits of marriage such as intimacy, love, affection, or sex, even though you remained faithful to the marriage. Luckily I haven’t experienced this kind of betrayal but I can imagine the psychological damage would be very great.
Now couple this Roman Catholic teaching with Jesus words (the actual words of our lord and savior, not what fallible men such as Jerome and Augustine said) about marriage in Matthew 19, from the NRSV, the most up to date and scholarly translation of the bible:
“And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery.” - Matthew 19:9
But apparently the Catholic church doesn’t put much stock in the words of Jesus here:
It seems to me that the Catholic teaching has deviated from the intention of our lord and savior. Here Jesus clearly grants the right to divorce your wife on the basis of unchastity. The fact that I’m not a Jew, as the above article insinuates, does not forbid me from taking Jesus at his word, his actual word from his disciple Matthew.
Now of course what the Catholics might say in return is that “Maybe you can get an annulment, because maybe the marriage wasn’t valid”. Now ignoring the oddity of how one can believe oneself to be married while the opposite is true, let’s suppose that the spouse just changed right out of the blue after having children with you and that you wouldn’t get an annulment. Say the ecclesiastic court found the marriage to be valid and you were actually married all along just like you thought you were. Say you had to be stuck in grinding celibacy against your wishes for the rest of your life because the Roman Catholic Church says so.
And just to be sure, these aren’t just implausible hypotheticals I’m talking about here, these are actual events that men in my life have had dealt to them by cheating wives on several occasions. These are the numerous stories I have read on Catholic Answers from supposedly good Catholic husbands and wives up and betraying and leaving their spouse. Given the prevalence of divorce and adultery these days, I don’t see why young Catholics hoping to have the benefits of marriage for a long time should be all that hopeful about finding any kind of happiness with the Roman Catholic church’s stance here.
The Roman Catholic church says to these heartbroken people that their spouse who betrayed them is still their spouse, that they have to remain celibate even though they got married and would like to have the benefits of marriage and stayed faithful to their marriage vows.
Now no other Christian church seems to take this view on divorce. But the Catholic will then claim that this is what Jesus intended, as Jesus founded the Catholic church. But even the Orthodox Church which can make a similarly strong claim to being the Church that Jesus founded, allows for remarriage. Why can’t we do it like them?
Can someone explain to me how the Catholic teaching on divorce is 1. acceptable to good sense 2. in line with the actual words of our lord and savior in Matthew 19:9 that allows for divorce in the case of unchastity?
I would be greatly appreciative as this is a real sticking point for me.