Matthew 19:9 and a cheating spouse

With respect, I believe your friend was misinformed and then passed on her misunderstanding to you. For this is simply not, and never was, the policy, practice, or teaching of the church. I have found in my 57 years that many individuals SINCERELY simply DO NOT UNDERSTAND what their priest says, and go on to recount stories of what they were ‘told’ when they were never told anything of the kind. They THOUGHT they understood “X” but they were never told that.

How often have you heard, for example, a young teen girl ask her mother how she looked, and the mother would respond, “you look very nice’ and then teen would then wail to her friends that her mother thinks she is ugly!! The girl doesn’t hear’ look very nice’. . .she hears, 'you don’t look like a supermodel, therefore you are ugly”. . . And the girl would swear on a stack of Bibles that her mother called her ugly, and would sincerely believe it.

I personally take any kind of ‘hearsay’ testimony like this with a huge grain of salt.

First, my own dear mother (about to turn 84) married a divorced Protestant back in the 1950s. And guess what? We didn’t sit in the back of the church. When I was divorced over 10 years ago, I didn’t sit in the back of the church either, and I didn’t have to ‘pay a fee’ and seek approval of the POPE to get a decree of nullity.

BUT. . .when I was divorced, and first went to talk to the priest, I came away with the understanding that I couldn’t receive communion because I was divorced. And I consider myself a fairly knowledgeable Catholic. In the first upset and worry, I ‘heard’ something that wasn’t correct. . .because I MISUNDERSTOOD. God be praised, I went back to the priest and asked him to clarify and sure enough, it was MY MISUNDERSTANDING due to my being upset and nervous that made me think the Church taught I couldn’t take communion as a divorced Catholic.

Had I NOT done this, you’d probably find me on this forum claiming that “yes, when I was the innocent spouse of someone who divorced me, I was told that I couldn’t receive communion”. . . (because as I said, this was at first what I THOUGHT I heard). . .

It just goes to show that we always need to check and DOUBLE CHECK what we ‘think’ that we know or understand, because we can be utterly, and sincerely, WRONG.

Those who read Matthew 19 as permitting divorce for adultery etc are exactly like that. . .they are utterly and sincerely convinced they understand Jesus’ allowing divorce for adultery. . .but they are, of course, WRONG.

Yes, this rule is still in effect–but there is no fee–you don’t “pay the pope” for an annulment. If a once married person wants to remarry in the Catholic church after a divorce, they must seek and obtain an annulment. The problem is NOT the divorce. A Catholic can divorce–and so long as they live chastely and do not remarry or enter into another sexual relationship, they can receive the sacraments the same as when they were married. To be truly “rid” of spouse #1, to be free to remarry and still be able to receive the sacraments however, they must seek and obtain an annulment from the church. Perhaps I’m being flippant though I don’t mean to be, but I don’t see the huge issue here. People DO get annulments from the catholic church frequently–so long as they are seeking one for a valid reason. I bet a cheating spouse–one who actually had a child by another man-- would EASILLY be granted an annulment–I am definitely sure that such has happened in the past. Now a person who wanted an annulment because he was having an affair with his hot,sexy secretary and just wanted to ditch his old, less sexy wife–might have a problem. It’s basically a matter of common sense–which the Catholic church usually has more than enough of. Again, the church doesn’t derive satisfaction from making someone live 50 years in hell in a marriage to a partner who is adulterous and could even expose the spouse to STD’s nor does it rejoice in seeing someone unable to receive the sacraments. BUT, God made marriage a sacred institution. We must think before entering into it–and if we are in a position where continuing a marriage is impossible we still must ask God and go through the necessary steps to leave it. If someone is a real Catholic, finds themselves in an impossible position in their marriage and seeks to end the marriage, I would think that their faith would be sufficiently important to them that they would be willing to jump through a hoop or two to do so correctly and be able to remain able to receive the sacraments. If going through even a little hassle to do it the right way is just too much effort for them–then the catholic church and the sacraments probably aren’t all that important to them anyway so why would they care one way or another about the church’s position?

Yes, it is a hard saying, and even the disciples had a tough time accepting it.

Matthew 19:1 When Jesus finished these words, he left Galilee and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan. 2 Great crowds followed him, and he cured them there. 3 Some Pharisees approached him, and tested him, saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?” 4 He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” 7 They said to him, “Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss [her]?” 8 He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.” 10 [His] disciples said to him, “If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” 11 He answered, “Not all can accept [this] word, but only those to whom that is granted. 12 Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.”

I don’t know where the lady you speak of got such an idea–but it’s patently untrue.

You should know facts before incorrectly stating anything is “patently untrue”.
According to this website (#6), there is definitely a cost those seeking a RCC annulment have to pay:

I called my friend, who shared that she did have to pay a fee for her annulment, whose amount is, in the above website, not specifically stated. She said she paid $500 in 1985/6.

You don’t “request approval from the Pope,” and you don’t stand in the back of the church until you remarry. Those parts are, indeed, patently untrue.

Fees requested by the Tribunals can vary, depending on the type of case. However, the link you posted clearly says this: ** “Nor does the inability of a petitioner to share part of the costs of the process interfere with the possibility of obtaining an annulment.” **

Sounds like you got that right out of a Puritan Meeting hall in 1647. I mean seriously, come on. Do you actually believe what you are saying? That divorced people have to sit in the back of the Church? Comments like that make it hard for me to believe you have ever stepped foot inside a Catholic Church.

I’m relating what actually occurred and the answers I got from my RCC friends. I thought it was weird, but, yes, she & others (mostly if not all of them ladies) stood along the back wall of the church while us kids sat in the pew.

:shrug: I went to 5-6 services at the same church (St. Pius X) and though that was 30 years ago, it did happen that way. If your statement accurately reflects your inability to accept factual incidents, I hope you seek & can find a spirit of meekness in line with an obedience to Christ’s gospel.

May you be more & more aligned with the Holy Spirit moving within you!

I would say that there was some misinformation, not necessarily in what you’re saying, but in what the lady was told, or what was implied to her. It could be that a simple explanation about not receiving Communion evolved (via message from person to person to person) into standing in back, or allowing only children or such to sit in the pews. It’s also possible that we mis-remember things we learned that long ago, and memories blur together… :slight_smile: Could it be possible that at one time, one divorced person asked if they had to sit in a pew, or could sit/stand at the back so as not to be conspicuous when not receiving Communion, and perhaps the answer was yes…and the gossip mill flourished about the why, and it evolved as noted above…

For the record, my annulment back in 1990/91 didn’t cost a thing; I was only married a few months, and had a civil service to a non-Catholic who was already divorced.

Perhaps it could have happened in some twilight zone version of a Catholic Church, where everything possible was going wrong in every way, but it seems to me to be comparable in degree and in believability to someone saying they went to a PCA or OPC Church and the pastor taught them how to distinguish reprobates by smell. :shrug:
Perhaps that happened, but it sure is an odd and strange bizarre thing, seems a bit far fetched.

This was a quote from a site discussing Catholic annulment. Obviously such an undertaking has some cost associated with it–and when possible–I’d think that the parties requesting the annulment would be willing and even expect to help defray these costs. If, however, they can’t contribute due to true poverty, they can still apply for an annulment–all diocese have a budget that includes money for such things. What I’d think might be tacky–and this is only my opinion—would be to not contribute a cent toward the annulment process and then have a grand white wedding and extravagant reception to follow. Common sense should prevail.

6 Is money involved in the annulment process?

No and yes. Money does not affect the speed of the procedure or its successful completion. Nor does the inability of a petitioner to share part of the costs of the process interfere with the possibility of obtaining an annulment. Diocesan tribunals make special arrangements for people.

There are obviously extensive costs involved in maintaining an agency for annulment procedures. The annual budget of our tribunal exceeds $150,000 and covers items like rental space, salaries, office equipment and supplies. Income from annulment fees covers most but not all of these expenses.

There is a certain value, too, in the petitioners sharing part of this procedure—s cost. Similarly, it—s considered good practice to expect counseling clients to pay for counseling, or to expect college students to work for some portion of their financial aid. Paying something can help one develop a personal commitment to the process.

Thanks for all the answers guys. I will have to bring up this question in the RCIA class I’m signed up for this fall session (I’m hoping to get confirmed at Easter, but I still have some questions to confirm).

I can’t say I’m much convinced that the Catholic position is the right one. Thanks to the posters which have changed my view on the possibility of getting an annulment. But you see, the whole answer “The Catholic church is right, and that’s that, if you don’t like it, well extra ecclesiam nulla salus, so if you don’t like it enjoy hell” doesn’t convince me.

And I find the NAB translation a little suspect in how it perfectly reflects Catholic teaching.

I don’t think we can just wave away this saying of Jesus because it only appears in Matthew. Jesus promising to build his church on Peter only appears in Matthew as well. The gospel according to Matthew is my favorite gospel, probably the greatest impetus to my conversion to Christianity, so I take it seriously. What I see from Matthew is that, while Jesus obviously doesn’t want divorce, he allows for it. This seems to be the Eastern Orthodox take on it as well, as well as some Protestant denominations.

Apologies for my snarky comments in the OP. I need a better hobby to release my angst than snarky posting on CA (which you could probably also see in my post history)

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