PART III: LIFE IN CHRIST
Section Two: The Ten Commandments
Chapter 2: “You Shall Love Your Neighbor As Yourself”
Article 6, The Sixth Commandment
IV. Offenses Against the Dignity of Marriage
§ 2381 Adultery is an injustice. He who commits adultery fails in his commitment. He does injury to the sign of the covenant which the marriage bond is, transgresses the rights of the other spouse, and undermines the institution of marriage by breaking the contract on which it is based. He compromises the good of human generation and the welfare of children who need their parents’ stable union.
§ 2382 The Lord Jesus insisted on the original intention of the Creator who willed that marriage be indissoluble (cf. Mt 5:31-32; 19:3-9; Mk 10:9; Lk 16:18; 1 Cor 7:10-11). He abrogates [nullifies] the accommodations that had slipped into the old Law (cf. Mt 19:7-9).
Between the baptized, “a ratified and consummated marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power or for any reason other than death” (CIC, canon 1141).
§ 2383 The separation of spouses, while maintaining the marriage bond, can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law (cf. CIC, canons 1151-1155).
If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.
§ 2384 Divorce is a grave offense against the Natural Law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which Sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery:
- “If a husband, separated from his wife, approaches another woman, he is an adulterer because he makes that woman commit adultery; and the woman who lives with him is an adulteress, because she has drawn another’s husband to herself” (Mor 73, 1: PG 31, 849-852).
Tomorrow – Divorce (to be continued)
(Part III, Section 2, Chapter 2, Article 6 – to be continued)
[Editor’s Note: The abbreviations in today’s posting are noted below.]
- “cf.” – “confer ”
- “CIC” – “Codex Iuris Canonici [Code of Canon Law]”
- “Mor” – St. Basil (c.375 A.D.), “Moralia [Morality/Ethics]”
- “PG” – “Patrologia Graeca [Greek Patrology]”, an enormous collection of writings of the Church Fathers and other ecclesiastical writers in the Greek language published by J. P. Migne, (Paris, 1857‑1866 A.D.)