Hi all I have a question that has been bugging me that involves a friend’s divorce; Let’s call him John for now. The Church’s teaching on divorce is a little confusing so I thought I’d come here for clarification. I was wondering if, people who are divorced, are allowed to date. John was originally a Hindu during his marriage. He married a Christian woman (however she was not devout apparently). They married under a church as well as under a hindu ceremony. At some point in their marriage things went wrong. According to John he tried to save his marriage, even going to her father to sort things out. However his wife apparently abused drugs and at some point began dating other people. So fast forward to the present, John’s attempt to fix his marriage was unsuccessful, and at some point over the years his wife remarried. Would John be considered an adulterer if he were to search and date someone new? Would I as a his friend be committing a sin if I were to help him find someone new?
Well, what do you mean by “allowed”? A married person is not free to marry, and it is imprudent for them to “date” another when they are in such a state and not proper to the state of marriage.
The Church does not have any “date police” so it certainly cannot prevent someone from doing so.
So again, I don’t know what you mean by “allow” and what you think the Church can do about someone who dates in spite of their lack of freedom to marry.
That is a shame.
John was in a natural marriage. Since we have no Catholic tribunal ruling to the contrary, we must assume it was a valid marriage. God’s law on marriage applies to all people, not just Catholics.
John’s friend should not assist him in “finding someone new”.
As a HIndu, your friend does not believe in the Christian God, the permanent nature of marriage, etc. However, that does not mean that you can help him seek out and commit what is objectively adultery and wrong.
So since the wife has remarried would this second marriage be considered valid as well?
Also, does all this mean John will never be allowed to remarry without falling into sin? I know as Catholics there is annulment, but what about non-catholics?
You say he was orignially a Hindu. What is he now?
If he is Catholic then he is bound by Church laws, and thus if he wants to date/remarry, he would need to apply to have his first marriage annulled.
If he is not Catholic, and is either a Hindu still or something else, then Church rules don’t bind him. His remarriage would be objectively adultery, and thus you should not assist him in doing so, but you don’t need to attempt to impose the rules of our faith onto him. As a non-Catholic, he should follow his own faith and conscience in such matters.
He was raised as a Hindu as a child. He was never a big believer towards it though and was more inclined towards Christianity. He is now attending a non-denominational Christian church. If I remember correctly, he stated that they were young when they were married and rushed into it. He feels he is no longer bound to his ex-wife especially since she remarried. I assume he could be committing adultery if he were to remarry regardless of his ex-wife remarrying.
no. The wife is in an invalid second attempt at marriage.
John is not free to marry currently.
If John’s marriage were found to be invalid by the Catholic Church (God’s only authority on earth for this) then he might indeed be free to marry.
If he is not free to marry, and does so anyway, then objectively this is grave matter and adultery. Culpability is likely mitigated by John’s lack of knowledge on this topic.
They are bound by God’s law. They may not know it, and therefore may have reduced culpability.
Our responsibility is to evangelize.