Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Divorce for Any Reason Whatsoever?

Back when I was my own personal magisterium, I read the exception clause regarding divorce like most other Protestants (although few pay it any mind when the rubber hits the road). And even up to a few months ago, when I was asked about "biblical exceptions" for divorce by a Protestant elder, I didn't really have a good answer.

I would recommend Dave Armstrong's post on translation bias and the followup dialogue with an evangelical preacher. In short, there is no clause for "adultery" as an acceptable reason to divorce your wife. I knew the Church taught this, but didn't really understand why/how this is true given what the text seemed to be saying.

Saying that you can't divorce unless your wife is unfaithful is like saying you can't murder unless someone really pisses you off. Two wrongs don't make a right.


Milehimama said...

Must go read this!

I have a (Catholic!) friend who cheated on her husband, then used the "adultery clause" to divorce him. How does THAT work?

Amy said...

Tim, the footnote for that passage in the RSV compares Jesus' use of the word "pornea" to the laws of consanguinity, or marrying someone too closely related to you, which would be an unlawful union to begin with, and that marriage would have to be ended immediately once the couple discovered that relationship. One of the translators of the NAB wrote a paper on exactly that, going into great detail on the subject.

Milehimama - if you interpret that passage the way many have, then having an affair to get a divorce does have a certain twisted logic to it...

Tim A. Troutman said...

Milehimama - yikes.... Even if the typical Protestant reading of that verse is correct, she'd still be in the wrong.

Amy - Yes, that's the same line of argument Armstrong uses. I'm still a young Catholic and learning a lot - I'm used to my NIV & NKJV footnotes.. They're not usually helpful).

George Weis said...

I 100% AGREE. Nice post Tim.