My situation is really complicated and I am really unsure what to do. My questions are: am I morally obligated to let my father see my children – his grandchildren – honoring my father – if he is living in adultery. Or, do I have a higher moral obligation to protect my young children from his sinful and dishonest choices? Also, what do I tell my children about why grandpa is not living with grandma? My children are 6, 4, 2 and another baby on the way.
Background: My formerly respected father recently has left his faith, family, and my mom – his wife of almost 40 years. Their 40th anniversary is on August 16. He has been having an adulterous affair for around 2 years, and he says he has chosen to live the rest of his life with his co-adulterer and her young children. Even now, my mom is willing to forgive and we have all begged him for months to commit to counseling and to save his marriage. He says he has made his choice. His co-adulterer is around my age and formerly a close friend of both my mom and me. She has 5 young children ages 4-16, and my mom treated her like a daughter and her children like grandchildren. I considered her a dear friend and my children loved her and her children like family. This is a betrayal that runs very deep.
We live about 5 hours apart from my parents. My parents have a farm. My children adore their grandpa and I have made the effort to visit my parents several times a year, even choosing to home school partly to allow us to have the farm be a big part of our life.
My father is begging me to not keep my children away from him. He says I should “love the sinner, hate the sin.” I think he believes that because of my former friendship with his co-adulterer that we should be able to be one big, happy, blended family. I do not wish to condone his behavior. I know that I would never let my children be around him when he is with his “fake wife and family.” Her divorce was recently final, and they intend to marry, although I don’t think my mom will ever sign divorce papers and obviously even if she does, our Catholic faith believes that his re-marriage would not be valid and he would still be living in adultery.
My instinct is that I want to punish him and not let him see his beloved grandchildren, but that is my anger speaking. And then of course I really do not want my children to be badly influenced by his compromised character. Am I morally obligated under “honoring my father” to let him see my children? Or, I am more-so morally obligated to protect my children from his sinful lifestyle? And what do I tell my children about the situation?
My husband will support whatever choices I make, although he thinks we should just not associate with my father anymore.