Author Topic: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?  (Read 13174 times)

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Offline William

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If a married person confessed infidelity to an Orthodox priest, would the priest require them to tell this to their spouse?
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2014, 06:29:51 PM »
Not necessarily. 
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Offline JamesR

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2014, 06:32:35 PM »
I'd think it should be

Infidelity is a serious thing. It's the ONE ground that Jesus Christ Himself grants for a divorce.

That being said, shouldn't the other party be notified about it?

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2014, 06:38:02 PM »
Not necessarily. 
it would, however, have to be some serious extenuating circumstances.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
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Offline Papist

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2014, 06:40:08 PM »
Not necessarily. 
it would, however, have to be some serious extenuating circumstances.
Could confessing that infidelity do more harm than good?
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2014, 06:45:30 PM »
Not necessarily. 
it would, however, have to be some serious extenuating circumstances.
Could confessing that infidelity do more harm than good?
It could. But one would have to demonstrate why that should determine it.

I have a friend who has told me that even if I knew her husband was cheating (she wasn't married-or even knew him-at the time), not to tell her.  She hasn't changed her mind (fortunately I can't imagine him cheating).

Many have been doubly hurt by being the last to know.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
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Offline ZealousZeal

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2014, 06:55:42 PM »
Not necessarily. 
it would, however, have to be some serious extenuating circumstances.
Could confessing that infidelity do more harm than good?
It could. But one would have to demonstrate why that should determine it.


The harm has already been done. Keeping one spouse in ignorance is not letting them make choices about their own life with all the information available.
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2014, 06:58:19 PM »
Not necessarily. 
it would, however, have to be some serious extenuating circumstances.

Agreed.  

Of all questions this is an "ask your priest, but I hope you never have to" question.  I can imagine a priest requiring a penitent to come forward with this information and confess to the spouse.  But I can also imagine circumstances in which a priest might think it is better to deal with the penitent's sin without aggravating the marriage further.  AFAIK, there is no canonical requirement (the canons actually imply some "leeway" on this, IMO), but the answer to the OP would depend on any number of circumstances unique to the particular situation.  I don't think there is "one true Orthodox answer for all time".  
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Offline DeniseDenise

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2014, 07:11:06 PM »
The question was not 'should the person confess this to their spouse'
But rather
'Should the Priest require that they do so'

That is the distinction I think Mor is addressing.

There might be situations where the Priest would not 'require' it.
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2014, 07:15:33 PM »
Not necessarily. 
it would, however, have to be some serious extenuating circumstances.
Could confessing that infidelity do more harm than good?

Ah a papist and casuistry. ;)
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Offline Agabus

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2014, 07:19:39 PM »
Will the spouse need to get tested?
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Offline Papist

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2014, 07:19:56 PM »
Not necessarily.  
it would, however, have to be some serious extenuating circumstances.
Could confessing that infidelity do more harm than good?

Ah a papist and casuistry. ;)

Haha, that was not my intention.  :D I was seriously curious as to what people thought about the matter.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2014, 07:20:23 PM by Papist »
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Offline Theophania

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2014, 07:37:39 PM »
It's common knowledge that you secretly want to be born in early 17th century Russia.  As a serf or a royal, I know not.  Chances are serf.

Offline William

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2014, 08:18:40 PM »
I read an article in which an influential Orthodox priest encouraged not disclosing this for the sake of the marriage and the feelings of the innocent spouse. The adulterer gets to feel relief because his religion teaches unconditional divine forgiveness, but his spouse now believes a lie about the other and the marriage, loses a chance for restitution, and loses the option to end the failed marriage (as allowed by Christ in this case) or to forgive.

This might be the final straw for me. It has become clearer and clearer to me over the past few months that I just don't share the Christian view of how to deal with evil actions. Forgiving others unconditionally, without restitution and justice, does not solve these problems in any real way, it simply ignores them. Letting God forgive while not owning up to actions to the people who've actually been hurt - that is abhorrent. I remember reading in Wounded By Love how Elder Porphyrios of Kafsokalivia helped a man who murdered his wife escape from the police, because he had "repented."

Orthodoxy has made me feel very intense self-hatred and guilt over the fact that I cannot feel emotional "forgiveness" toward my abusive parents for their unrestituted actions. The only solace the church seems to give is "well, you're evil too, you're especially evil if you ever feel wronged even for the most heinous of acts, and we won't even require those who have hurt you to honestly reconcile with you, just with God and their confessor." I think that this religion might just not be for me.
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2014, 08:51:02 PM »
I read an article in which an influential Orthodox priest encouraged not disclosing this for the sake of the marriage and the feelings of the innocent spouse. The adulterer gets to feel relief because his religion teaches unconditional divine forgiveness, but his spouse now believes a lie about the other and the marriage, loses a chance for restitution, and loses the option to end the failed marriage (as allowed by Christ in this case) or to forgive.

This might be the final straw for me. It has become clearer and clearer to me over the past few months that I just don't share the Christian view of how to deal with evil actions. Forgiving others unconditionally, without restitution and justice, does not solve these problems in any real way, it simply ignores them. Letting God forgive while not owning up to actions to the people who've actually been hurt - that is abhorrent. I remember reading in Wounded By Love how Elder Porphyrios of Kafsokalivia helped a man who murdered his wife escape from the police, because he had "repented."

Orthodoxy has made me feel very intense self-hatred and guilt over the fact that I cannot feel emotional "forgiveness" toward my abusive parents for their unrestituted actions. The only solace the church seems to give is "well, you're evil too, you're especially evil if you ever feel wronged even for the most heinous of acts, and we won't even require those who have hurt you to honestly reconcile with you, just with God and their confessor." I think that this religion might just not be for me.

Forgiveness is not about paybacks.  That's not forgiveness.  And in actuality, it's not just Orthodoxy that requires you to forgive unconditionally.  It's a therapeutic human thing so that you can move on.  The fact that you are unable to forgive your parents is what makes you hate yourself.  You are a very young man, and you have a lot to learn about relationships and forgiveness.

The point of an Orthodox advice of forgiveness is not to feel you have low self-esteem, but that it could help you actually move on in life, and gives you a bit of perspective of how to deal with things in a humble manner.  It makes you the stronger person, not the weaker.

The issue of marriage is something even married people find complicated to answer simply because people try their best to avoid this problem anyway.  But from a therapist/priest pov, it's a good question.  What would a non-Orthodox therapist do, do you think, in this situation?  Don't you think every situation has a different answer?
« Last Edit: July 10, 2014, 08:53:28 PM by minasoliman »
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Offline gzt

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2014, 08:52:49 PM »
I read an article in which an influential Orthodox priest encouraged not disclosing this for the sake of the marriage and the feelings of the innocent spouse. The adulterer gets to feel relief because his religion teaches unconditional divine forgiveness, but his spouse now believes a lie about the other and the marriage, loses a chance for restitution, and loses the option to end the failed marriage (as allowed by Christ in this case) or to forgive.
I think we need to see this article - he saw fit to publish it, so it's fair game to share it with us. Or at least PM it.

As for your other stuff, I think you've been getting bad advice, but I'm not in any position to give advice.

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2014, 08:52:55 PM »

Orthodoxy has made me feel very intense self-hatred and guilt over the fact that I cannot feel emotional "forgiveness" toward my abusive parents for their unrestituted actions. The only solace the church seems to give is "well, you're evil too, you're especially evil if you ever feel wronged even for the most heinous of acts, and we won't even require those who have hurt you to honestly reconcile with you, just with God and their confessor." I think that this religion might just not be for me.

Perhaps this is the wrong forum to address this concern.

I have started a new thread in the convert section.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,59504.new.html#new
« Last Edit: July 10, 2014, 08:59:44 PM by Maria »
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Offline Deacon Lance

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2014, 09:32:08 PM »
How did you get from here:
Quote
I don't agree with a lot of what has been said above. If you have come to confession, fulfilled the penance, and committed to not sinning again, you have repented, end of story. The sincerity, sorrow, shame, guilt and compunction you lack is made up for by the action of God through the priest's absolution. Only a saint can feel perfect compunction, so the church only asks you to give what you're capable of giving. This is the whole reason why confession exists - a concrete and visible guarantee of God's forgiveness in spite of our imperfection. Belief in the absolute efficacy of the priest's absolution in the sacrament is simply a matter of faith. Also remember that emotions are not everything. If you regret something, it's better to not feel guilt and not do it again than to feel guilt and continue to do it.

You only have to nudge your toe forward an inch and the Lord will come running to you over thousands of miles.

To here:

I read an article in which an influential Orthodox priest encouraged not disclosing this for the sake of the marriage and the feelings of the innocent spouse. The adulterer gets to feel relief because his religion teaches unconditional divine forgiveness, but his spouse now believes a lie about the other and the marriage, loses a chance for restitution, and loses the option to end the failed marriage (as allowed by Christ in this case) or to forgive.

This might be the final straw for me. It has become clearer and clearer to me over the past few months that I just don't share the Christian view of how to deal with evil actions. Forgiving others unconditionally, without restitution and justice, does not solve these problems in any real way, it simply ignores them. Letting God forgive while not owning up to actions to the people who've actually been hurt - that is abhorrent. I remember reading in Wounded By Love how Elder Porphyrios of Kafsokalivia helped a man who murdered his wife escape from the police, because he had "repented."

Orthodoxy has made me feel very intense self-hatred and guilt over the fact that I cannot feel emotional "forgiveness" toward my abusive parents for their unrestituted actions. The only solace the church seems to give is "well, you're evil too, you're especially evil if you ever feel wronged even for the most heinous of acts, and we won't even require those who have hurt you to honestly reconcile with you, just with God and their confessor." I think that this religion might just not be for me.

My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2014, 09:39:08 PM »
I read an article in which an influential Orthodox priest encouraged not disclosing this for the sake of the marriage and the feelings of the innocent spouse. The adulterer gets to feel relief because his religion teaches unconditional divine forgiveness, but his spouse now believes a lie about the other and the marriage, loses a chance for restitution, and loses the option to end the failed marriage (as allowed by Christ in this case) or to forgive.

This might be the final straw for me. It has become clearer and clearer to me over the past few months that I just don't share the Christian view of how to deal with evil actions. Forgiving others unconditionally, without restitution and justice, does not solve these problems in any real way, it simply ignores them. Letting God forgive while not owning up to actions to the people who've actually been hurt - that is abhorrent. I remember reading in Wounded By Love how Elder Porphyrios of Kafsokalivia helped a man who murdered his wife escape from the police, because he had "repented."

Orthodoxy has made me feel very intense self-hatred and guilt over the fact that I cannot feel emotional "forgiveness" toward my abusive parents for their unrestituted actions. The only solace the church seems to give is "well, you're evil too, you're especially evil if you ever feel wronged even for the most heinous of acts, and we won't even require those who have hurt you to honestly reconcile with you, just with God and their confessor." I think that this religion might just not be for me.
I hope that is not the counsel you have received. If so, it is not good counsel.

Coming from a background that could be considered physically abusive by some and was definitely mentally and emotionally abusive, the best I can say to you is that granting forgiveness to those who have wronged you is a healing mechanism for you, not an obligation that you must do.  I have been able to put my past behind me and be at peace with it.  My brother has had a much more difficult time with doing that and it has caused greater stress and anxiety in his life. He is just now learning how to deal with those emotions 15 years after they happened. The sooner you are able to go through that process, the better. The only person you hurt by withholding forgiveness of others is yourself. The person who has hurt you doesn't need your forgiveness, they have been able to go through their life quite easily without it and will be able to continue to do so. You are the one who is hurting and in need of healing.  At least, that is what I have learned in my own experience, hopefully, it will help you to some degree.  :)
God bless!

Offline gzt

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2014, 09:39:25 PM »
Having read the article, I disagree with his reading of it, as the article specifically states that it strongly advises, in accordance with the prevailing wisdom in the literature, disclosure of infidelity under the guidance of a spiritual father and professional therapeutic help, and points at a review article about therapeutic responses to marital infidelity. However, it does not mention "requiring" it.

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2014, 09:41:28 PM »
Not necessarily. 

WRONG ANSWER.
Well Mor, now you know where kelly stands on the issue.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #22 on: July 10, 2014, 09:48:47 PM »
I read an article in which an influential Orthodox priest encouraged not disclosing this for the sake of the marriage and the feelings of the innocent spouse. The adulterer gets to feel relief because his religion teaches unconditional divine forgiveness, but his spouse now believes a lie about the other and the marriage, loses a chance for restitution, and loses the option to end the failed marriage (as allowed by Christ in this case) or to forgive.

This might be the final straw for me. It has become clearer and clearer to me over the past few months that I just don't share the Christian view of how to deal with evil actions. Forgiving others unconditionally, without restitution and justice, does not solve these problems in any real way, it simply ignores them. Letting God forgive while not owning up to actions to the people who've actually been hurt - that is abhorrent. I remember reading in Wounded By Love how Elder Porphyrios of Kafsokalivia helped a man who murdered his wife escape from the police, because he had "repented."

Orthodoxy has made me feel very intense self-hatred and guilt over the fact that I cannot feel emotional "forgiveness" toward my abusive parents for their unrestituted actions. The only solace the church seems to give is "well, you're evil too, you're especially evil if you ever feel wronged even for the most heinous of acts, and we won't even require those who have hurt you to honestly reconcile with you, just with God and their confessor." I think that this religion might just not be for me.
I hope that is not the counsel you have received. If so, it is not good counsel.

Coming from a background that could be considered physically abusive by some and was definitely mentally and emotionally abusive, the best I can say to you is that granting forgiveness to those who have wronged you is a healing mechanism for you, not an obligation that you must do.  I have been able to put my past behind me and be at peace with it.  My brother has had a much more difficult time with doing that and it has caused greater stress and anxiety in his life. He is just now learning how to deal with those emotions 15 years after they happened. The sooner you are able to go through that process, the better. The only person you hurt by withholding forgiveness of others is yourself. The person who has hurt you doesn't need your forgiveness, they have been able to go through their life quite easily without it and will be able to continue to do so. You are the one who is hurting and in need of healing.  At least, that is what I have learned in my own experience, hopefully, it will help you to some degree.  :)

Does anyone here actually take the Gospel seriously? Is newage self help blip blap now what counts as good news?

You should talk to a Priest, even a lesbian Anglican one for some guidance on the structure of forgiveness or you could read nearly anything Jesus said.

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2014, 10:12:08 PM »
Or you could just ask orthonorm. He will tell you how evil you are, and why self-hatred and guilt are wonderful.  ::)
« Last Edit: July 10, 2014, 10:12:19 PM by TheTrisagion »
God bless!

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #24 on: July 10, 2014, 10:21:38 PM »
Not necessarily. 

WRONG ANSWER.

Kelly,

The question was not 'should the person confess this to their spouse'
But rather
'Should the Priest require that they do so'

That is the distinction I think Mor is addressing.

There might be situations where the Priest would not 'require' it.


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Offline DeniseDenise

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #25 on: July 10, 2014, 10:26:31 PM »
Hey!

Don't put me in the middle of your KelMor spat!
All opinions expressed by myself are quite tragically my own, and not those of any other poster or wall hangings.

Offline William

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #26 on: July 10, 2014, 10:31:44 PM »
How did you get from here:
Quote
I don't agree with a lot of what has been said above. If you have come to confession, fulfilled the penance, and committed to not sinning again, you have repented, end of story. The sincerity, sorrow, shame, guilt and compunction you lack is made up for by the action of God through the priest's absolution. Only a saint can feel perfect compunction, so the church only asks you to give what you're capable of giving. This is the whole reason why confession exists - a concrete and visible guarantee of God's forgiveness in spite of our imperfection. Belief in the absolute efficacy of the priest's absolution in the sacrament is simply a matter of faith. Also remember that emotions are not everything. If you regret something, it's better to not feel guilt and not do it again than to feel guilt and continue to do it.

You only have to nudge your toe forward an inch and the Lord will come running to you over thousands of miles.

To here:

I read an article in which an influential Orthodox priest encouraged not disclosing this for the sake of the marriage and the feelings of the innocent spouse. The adulterer gets to feel relief because his religion teaches unconditional divine forgiveness, but his spouse now believes a lie about the other and the marriage, loses a chance for restitution, and loses the option to end the failed marriage (as allowed by Christ in this case) or to forgive.

This might be the final straw for me. It has become clearer and clearer to me over the past few months that I just don't share the Christian view of how to deal with evil actions. Forgiving others unconditionally, without restitution and justice, does not solve these problems in any real way, it simply ignores them. Letting God forgive while not owning up to actions to the people who've actually been hurt - that is abhorrent. I remember reading in Wounded By Love how Elder Porphyrios of Kafsokalivia helped a man who murdered his wife escape from the police, because he had "repented."

Orthodoxy has made me feel very intense self-hatred and guilt over the fact that I cannot feel emotional "forgiveness" toward my abusive parents for their unrestituted actions. The only solace the church seems to give is "well, you're evil too, you're especially evil if you ever feel wronged even for the most heinous of acts, and we won't even require those who have hurt you to honestly reconcile with you, just with God and their confessor." I think that this religion might just not be for me.



I was talking about how one does not have control over whether he feels emotions such as guilt, not whether restitution to a betrayed spouse or abused family member should be necessary.

I suppose you have a point, though, in that the "Belief in the absolute efficacy of the priest's absolution" which I mentioned is the reason why some would feel justified in keeping these kinds of secrets. If God and the church have forgiven you, the forgiveness of the offended party would just get in the way.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #27 on: July 10, 2014, 10:40:57 PM »
I read an article in which an influential Orthodox priest encouraged not disclosing this for the sake of the marriage and the feelings of the innocent spouse. The adulterer gets to feel relief because his religion teaches unconditional divine forgiveness, but his spouse now believes a lie about the other and the marriage, loses a chance for restitution, and loses the option to end the failed marriage (as allowed by Christ in this case) or to forgive.

This might be the final straw for me. It has become clearer and clearer to me over the past few months that I just don't share the Christian view of how to deal with evil actions. Forgiving others unconditionally, without restitution and justice, does not solve these problems in any real way, it simply ignores them. Letting God forgive while not owning up to actions to the people who've actually been hurt - that is abhorrent. I remember reading in Wounded By Love how Elder Porphyrios of Kafsokalivia helped a man who murdered his wife escape from the police, because he had "repented."

Orthodoxy has made me feel very intense self-hatred and guilt over the fact that I cannot feel emotional "forgiveness" toward my abusive parents for their unrestituted actions. The only solace the church seems to give is "well, you're evil too, you're especially evil if you ever feel wronged even for the most heinous of acts, and we won't even require those who have hurt you to honestly reconcile with you, just with God and their confessor." I think that this religion might just not be for me.

William,

I'm not sure how you got from the OP to your final paragraph above, so I'm not sure what to address (and I see Fr Lance has taken that confusion one step ahead).  If you're willing, you can guide this discussion.

I don't know the article you mention above, so I can't comment other than to say that, in my experience, the advice priests might give in such situations is as varied as the concrete situations which present themselves.  There are some basic principles to apply, but no easy answers about how to apply them, to what extent, etc.  When a priest is faced with this sort of situation, there are multiple aspects which he's going to consider.  I don't envy his task, but I also don't think it's unreasonable.  A couple facing such a situation will struggle through how to go forward, what to deal with, etc., and as emotionally and psychologically hurt and conflicted as they might be, it may be helpful to have a third party considering things which may not be in the forefront for them.  These are, after all, people's lives that are in the balance, not just the settling of scores.  

I think Mina has some good things to say in this thread regarding forgiveness vs justice.  If that's the direction you want to go in, as opposed to the more limited situation in the OP, that's up to you.  
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Offline William

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #28 on: July 10, 2014, 10:57:02 PM »
I suppose it comes down to this. I truly believe from the bottom of my heart that keeping this a secret from your spouse would be absolute, pure evil. Therefore, I cannot subscribe to a system of beliefs which can even occasionally justify this.

These beliefs that the consequences of terrible actions can just be done away with by well-wishing, by asking forgiveness from third parties...I just can't.

I'm sorry.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #29 on: July 10, 2014, 11:03:52 PM »
William, you must have a variety of experiences feeding into your dark view of the thread?
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #30 on: July 10, 2014, 11:05:08 PM »
Hey!

Don't put me in the middle of your KelMor spat!
Don't worry, they will kiss and make up soon enough.  ;)
God bless!

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #31 on: July 10, 2014, 11:08:14 PM »
I suppose it comes down to this. I truly believe from the bottom of my heart that keeping this a secret from your spouse would be absolute, pure evil. Therefore, I cannot subscribe to a system of beliefs which can even occasionally justify this.

These beliefs that the consequences of terrible actions can just be done away with by well-wishing, by asking forgiveness from third parties...I just can't.

I'm sorry.
As with most things in life, you can't just come at it with a black and white approach. A priest must tailor his counsel to the specific situation. Also, as much as I respect Mor and much of what he says, I would not cast aside all of Orthodoxy just because some guy on the internet said "not necessarily"
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #32 on: July 10, 2014, 11:26:17 PM »
I suppose it comes down to this. I truly believe from the bottom of my heart that keeping this a secret from your spouse would be absolute, pure evil. Therefore, I cannot subscribe to a system of beliefs which can even occasionally justify this.

These beliefs that the consequences of terrible actions can just be done away with by well-wishing, by asking forgiveness from third parties...I just can't.

I'm sorry.

I don't think you need to be sorry.  It's what you believe deep within you.  And it's not like I disagree with you entirely.  I just think it's considerably more complicated from the perspective you asked about--that of the priest counseling a penitent. 

I do think you are misunderstanding forgiveness.  It's not that "the consequences of terrible actions can just be done away with by well-wishing, by asking forgiveness from third parties...", not at all.  Actually, that entire phrase is all wrong, I don't think the Church believes that either.   
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #33 on: July 10, 2014, 11:31:38 PM »
I am not a priest nor any kind of therapist and am not in a position to give any advice. However, here's a situation where telling the spouse may not be a good idea: the woman cheats on the husband, which is definitely a bad thing, but has good reason to believe that, should the husband find out, he will kill her. This happens in America. Quite a lot. Perhaps not every day (or perhaps every day - the numbers of romantic partner homicides are grim, and surely some significant portion are from this scenario).

More frequently, the threat is that, if he finds out, he will beat her within an inch of her life. This is much, much more common.

In those two situations, what is your advice about the "bad" spouse telling the "innocent" spouse about the infidelity? She must do it immediately? She is required to do it, but not immediately? If not immediately, what conditions should be fulfilled before she tells the man? What if those conditions are never fulfilled?

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #34 on: July 10, 2014, 11:33:13 PM »
I am not a priest nor any kind of therapist and am not in a position to give any advice. However, here's a situation where telling the spouse may not be a good idea: the woman cheats on the husband, which is definitely a bad thing, but has good reason to believe that, should the husband find out, he will kill her. This happens in America. Quite a lot. Perhaps not every day (or perhaps every day - the numbers of romantic partner homicides are grim, and surely some significant portion are from this scenario).

More frequently, the threat is that, if he finds out, he will beat her within an inch of her life. This is much, much more common.

In those two situations, what is your advice about the "bad" spouse telling the "innocent" spouse about the infidelity? She must do it immediately? She is required to do it, but not immediately? If not immediately, what conditions should be fulfilled before she tells the man? What if those conditions are never fulfilled?

Say wha??
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #35 on: July 10, 2014, 11:37:19 PM »
 In the United States, more than 5 million women are abused by an intimate partner each year. In 2007, intimate partners committed 14% of all homicides in the U.S., killing an estimated 1,640 women. Intimate partner violence is a leading cause of homicides and injury-related deaths during pregnancy. Now, those aren't all due to infidelity, but...

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #36 on: July 10, 2014, 11:37:36 PM »
Also, as much as I respect Mor and much of what he says, I would not cast aside all of Orthodoxy just because some guy on the internet said "not necessarily"

The OP asked about what priests would require of penitents in a particular situation, not about what the penitent ought to do.  Though I'm not a priest, I answered based on my understanding of what I've studied and how I was trained.  I never claimed that my answer was authoritative, though I think I'm not out of line to suppose that my posts on any given day are more authoritative than what others might throw out on any number of topics.  
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #37 on: July 10, 2014, 11:40:33 PM »
In the United States, more than 5 million women are abused by an intimate partner each year. In 2007, intimate partners committed 14% of all homicides in the U.S., killing an estimated 1,640 women. Intimate partner violence is a leading cause of homicides and injury-related deaths during pregnancy. Now, those aren't all due to infidelity, but...

I'm not questioning your accuracy, but for completeness sake, where do you get these numbers from?

And regardless, I think spousal violence or threat or abuse of any kind is a serious marriage issue.  If that's what leads to infidelity, before even addressing infidelity, one has to address the fact that the spouse is in a dangerous position to continue as a spouse.
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Offline TheMathematician

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #38 on: July 10, 2014, 11:44:55 PM »
I believe, especially in cases such as these, that a quote from the film The Man in the Iron Mask(1998) rings soundly here. From Aramis " I have prayed every day for forgiveness. But now I realize that forgiveness must come from you before it can come from God. "

In general, if you are truly repentant and sorry for what you have done, then it matters not what the priest would require, or not require, you will confess what you have done to your wife or husband and seek their forgiveness even before you enter the church for confession. Remember, while sacramental confession is still essential, forgiveness comes from God alone, and works through the priest in sacramental confession.

A point to remember is that, during Forgiveness Vespers, we respond with "God Forgives!'" We seek forgiveness from God, but we must, in general, ask forgiveness from our spouse before we are truly repentant before God and recieve His forgiveness

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #39 on: July 10, 2014, 11:54:29 PM »
In the United States, more than 5 million women are abused by an intimate partner each year. In 2007, intimate partners committed 14% of all homicides in the U.S., killing an estimated 1,640 women. Intimate partner violence is a leading cause of homicides and injury-related deaths during pregnancy. Now, those aren't all due to infidelity, but...

I'm not questioning your accuracy, but for completeness sake, where do you get these numbers from?

And regardless, I think spousal violence or threat or abuse of any kind is a serious marriage issue.  If that's what leads to infidelity, before even addressing infidelity, one has to address the fact that the spouse is in a dangerous position to continue as a spouse.
The government. One place to find numbers is here: http://opdv.ny.gov/statistics/nationaldvdata/index.html

I definitely agree about the issue of domestic violence. But, look: priests deal with all kinds of messed up stuff. This is not outside the purview of what could come up: a woman who cheated on her husband and he thinks he will beat her, or even kill her. There are a lot of issues there that need to be dealt with. But, you know, I want to see what the "always must tell the innocent spouse" crowd has to say about it.

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #40 on: July 11, 2014, 12:05:34 AM »
In the United States, more than 5 million women are abused by an intimate partner each year. In 2007, intimate partners committed 14% of all homicides in the U.S., killing an estimated 1,640 women. Intimate partner violence is a leading cause of homicides and injury-related deaths during pregnancy. Now, those aren't all due to infidelity, but...

I'm not questioning your accuracy, but for completeness sake, where do you get these numbers from?

And regardless, I think spousal violence or threat or abuse of any kind is a serious marriage issue.  If that's what leads to infidelity, before even addressing infidelity, one has to address the fact that the spouse is in a dangerous position to continue as a spouse.
The government. One place to find numbers is here: http://opdv.ny.gov/statistics/nationaldvdata/index.html

I definitely agree about the issue of domestic violence. But, look: priests deal with all kinds of messed up stuff. This is not outside the purview of what could come up: a woman who cheated on her husband and he thinks he will beat her, or even kill her. There are a lot of issues there that need to be dealt with. But, you know, I want to see what the "always must tell the innocent spouse" crowd has to say about it.
Looking through the link, you will notice-or should-that no distinction is made between spouse, shack-up or one night stand.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #41 on: July 11, 2014, 12:25:56 AM »
Do unto others as you would have them do to you. I believe no one would like to live in a relationship where things like that are kept in secret.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 12:26:26 AM by Alpo »
I just need to find out how to say it in Slavonic!

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #42 on: July 11, 2014, 12:28:33 AM »
In the United States, more than 5 million women are abused by an intimate partner each year. In 2007, intimate partners committed 14% of all homicides in the U.S., killing an estimated 1,640 women. Intimate partner violence is a leading cause of homicides and injury-related deaths during pregnancy. Now, those aren't all due to infidelity, but...

I'm not questioning your accuracy, but for completeness sake, where do you get these numbers from?

And regardless, I think spousal violence or threat or abuse of any kind is a serious marriage issue.  If that's what leads to infidelity, before even addressing infidelity, one has to address the fact that the spouse is in a dangerous position to continue as a spouse.
The government. One place to find numbers is here: http://opdv.ny.gov/statistics/nationaldvdata/index.html

I definitely agree about the issue of domestic violence. But, look: priests deal with all kinds of messed up stuff. This is not outside the purview of what could come up: a woman who cheated on her husband and he thinks he will beat her, or even kill her. There are a lot of issues there that need to be dealt with. But, you know, I want to see what the "always must tell the innocent spouse" crowd has to say about it.
Looking through the link, you will notice-or should-that no distinction is made between spouse, shack-up or one night stand.
That's certainly the most important thing to note when reading statistics about women getting beaten up.

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #43 on: July 11, 2014, 12:31:38 AM »
In the United States, more than 5 million women are abused by an intimate partner each year. In 2007, intimate partners committed 14% of all homicides in the U.S., killing an estimated 1,640 women. Intimate partner violence is a leading cause of homicides and injury-related deaths during pregnancy. Now, those aren't all due to infidelity, but...

I'm not questioning your accuracy, but for completeness sake, where do you get these numbers from?

And regardless, I think spousal violence or threat or abuse of any kind is a serious marriage issue.  If that's what leads to infidelity, before even addressing infidelity, one has to address the fact that the spouse is in a dangerous position to continue as a spouse.
The government. One place to find numbers is here: http://opdv.ny.gov/statistics/nationaldvdata/index.html

I definitely agree about the issue of domestic violence. But, look: priests deal with all kinds of messed up stuff. This is not outside the purview of what could come up: a woman who cheated on her husband and he thinks he will beat her, or even kill her. There are a lot of issues there that need to be dealt with. But, you know, I want to see what the "always must tell the innocent spouse" crowd has to say about it.
Looking through the link, you will notice-or should-that no distinction is made between spouse, shack-up or one night stand.
That's certainly the most important thing to note when reading statistics about women getting beaten up.

You said husbands kill their wives who find out they cheated on them quite a lot in America. That is about verbatim. I think I know what you meant, now that I see statistics, but the way you put it you'd think husbands cutting innocent wive's heads off is an American cultural trait of which the naive Greek priest need beware.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #44 on: July 11, 2014, 12:36:02 AM »
In the United States, more than 5 million women are abused by an intimate partner each year. In 2007, intimate partners committed 14% of all homicides in the U.S., killing an estimated 1,640 women. Intimate partner violence is a leading cause of homicides and injury-related deaths during pregnancy. Now, those aren't all due to infidelity, but...

I'm not questioning your accuracy, but for completeness sake, where do you get these numbers from?

And regardless, I think spousal violence or threat or abuse of any kind is a serious marriage issue.  If that's what leads to infidelity, before even addressing infidelity, one has to address the fact that the spouse is in a dangerous position to continue as a spouse.
The government. One place to find numbers is here: http://opdv.ny.gov/statistics/nationaldvdata/index.html

I definitely agree about the issue of domestic violence. But, look: priests deal with all kinds of messed up stuff. This is not outside the purview of what could come up: a woman who cheated on her husband and he thinks he will beat her, or even kill her. There are a lot of issues there that need to be dealt with. But, you know, I want to see what the "always must tell the innocent spouse" crowd has to say about it.
Looking through the link, you will notice-or should-that no distinction is made between spouse, shack-up or one night stand.
That's certainly the most important thing to note when reading statistics about women getting beaten up.

You said husbands kill their wives who find out they cheated on them quite a lot in America. That is about verbatim. I think I know what you meant, now that I see statistics, but the way you put it you'd think husbands cutting innocent wive's heads off is an American cultural trait of which the naive Greek priest need beware.
I qualified it as, Perhaps not every day (or perhaps every day - the numbers of romantic partner homicides are grim, and surely some significant portion are from this scenario). Every day would be 365 per year. "Not every day" would be some number less than 365 per year. I think 100 would be a lot. The threat is undoubtedly more common than the execution, and the numbers of beatings far more. If you're really going to get hung up on the frequency, we can put murder off the table and focus on the beatings. HTH. HAND.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #45 on: July 11, 2014, 12:40:22 AM »
In the United States, more than 5 million women are abused by an intimate partner each year. In 2007, intimate partners committed 14% of all homicides in the U.S., killing an estimated 1,640 women. Intimate partner violence is a leading cause of homicides and injury-related deaths during pregnancy. Now, those aren't all due to infidelity, but...

I'm not questioning your accuracy, but for completeness sake, where do you get these numbers from?

And regardless, I think spousal violence or threat or abuse of any kind is a serious marriage issue.  If that's what leads to infidelity, before even addressing infidelity, one has to address the fact that the spouse is in a dangerous position to continue as a spouse.
The government. One place to find numbers is here: http://opdv.ny.gov/statistics/nationaldvdata/index.html

I definitely agree about the issue of domestic violence. But, look: priests deal with all kinds of messed up stuff. This is not outside the purview of what could come up: a woman who cheated on her husband and he thinks he will beat her, or even kill her. There are a lot of issues there that need to be dealt with. But, you know, I want to see what the "always must tell the innocent spouse" crowd has to say about it.
Looking through the link, you will notice-or should-that no distinction is made between spouse, shack-up or one night stand.
That's certainly the most important thing to note when reading statistics about women getting beaten up.
When the safest place statistically for a woman is her home with her husband the father of her children, and that fact is purposely being obscured by obscuring terms, yeah, it is.

Sorry to upset the narrative.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 12:51:36 AM by ialmisry »
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Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #46 on: July 11, 2014, 01:18:44 AM »
Or you could just ask orthonorm. He will tell you how evil you are, and why self-hatred and guilt are wonderful.  ::)

Actually, he'll probably tell you: Stop feeling so guilty; you're crazy.

At least in my experience.
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Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #47 on: July 11, 2014, 01:20:18 AM »
How did you get from here:
Quote
I don't agree with a lot of what has been said above. If you have come to confession, fulfilled the penance, and committed to not sinning again, you have repented, end of story. The sincerity, sorrow, shame, guilt and compunction you lack is made up for by the action of God through the priest's absolution. Only a saint can feel perfect compunction, so the church only asks you to give what you're capable of giving. This is the whole reason why confession exists - a concrete and visible guarantee of God's forgiveness in spite of our imperfection. Belief in the absolute efficacy of the priest's absolution in the sacrament is simply a matter of faith. Also remember that emotions are not everything. If you regret something, it's better to not feel guilt and not do it again than to feel guilt and continue to do it.

You only have to nudge your toe forward an inch and the Lord will come running to you over thousands of miles.

To here:

I read an article in which an influential Orthodox priest encouraged not disclosing this for the sake of the marriage and the feelings of the innocent spouse. The adulterer gets to feel relief because his religion teaches unconditional divine forgiveness, but his spouse now believes a lie about the other and the marriage, loses a chance for restitution, and loses the option to end the failed marriage (as allowed by Christ in this case) or to forgive.

This might be the final straw for me. It has become clearer and clearer to me over the past few months that I just don't share the Christian view of how to deal with evil actions. Forgiving others unconditionally, without restitution and justice, does not solve these problems in any real way, it simply ignores them. Letting God forgive while not owning up to actions to the people who've actually been hurt - that is abhorrent. I remember reading in Wounded By Love how Elder Porphyrios of Kafsokalivia helped a man who murdered his wife escape from the police, because he had "repented."

Orthodoxy has made me feel very intense self-hatred and guilt over the fact that I cannot feel emotional "forgiveness" toward my abusive parents for their unrestituted actions. The only solace the church seems to give is "well, you're evil too, you're especially evil if you ever feel wronged even for the most heinous of acts, and we won't even require those who have hurt you to honestly reconcile with you, just with God and their confessor." I think that this religion might just not be for me.



I was talking about how one does not have control over whether he feels emotions such as guilt, not whether restitution to a betrayed spouse or abused family member should be necessary.

I suppose you have a point, though, in that the "Belief in the absolute efficacy of the priest's absolution" which I mentioned is the reason why some would feel justified in keeping these kinds of secrets. If God and the church have forgiven you, the forgiveness of the offended party would just get in the way.

Really?  So God can forgive you on my behalf, if you wrong me?  That's an unusual thought.

But my real point in replying to this post is to say that people have a lot more control over their ability to feel guilty than you seem to think. 
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Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #48 on: July 11, 2014, 01:24:55 AM »
In the United States, more than 5 million women are abused by an intimate partner each year. In 2007, intimate partners committed 14% of all homicides in the U.S., killing an estimated 1,640 women. Intimate partner violence is a leading cause of homicides and injury-related deaths during pregnancy. Now, those aren't all due to infidelity, but...

I'm not questioning your accuracy, but for completeness sake, where do you get these numbers from?

And regardless, I think spousal violence or threat or abuse of any kind is a serious marriage issue.  If that's what leads to infidelity, before even addressing infidelity, one has to address the fact that the spouse is in a dangerous position to continue as a spouse.
The government. One place to find numbers is here: http://opdv.ny.gov/statistics/nationaldvdata/index.html

I definitely agree about the issue of domestic violence. But, look: priests deal with all kinds of messed up stuff. This is not outside the purview of what could come up: a woman who cheated on her husband and he thinks he will beat her, or even kill her. There are a lot of issues there that need to be dealt with. But, you know, I want to see what the "always must tell the innocent spouse" crowd has to say about it.
Looking through the link, you will notice-or should-that no distinction is made between spouse, shack-up or one night stand.
That's certainly the most important thing to note when reading statistics about women getting beaten up.
When the safest place statistically for a woman is her home with her husband the father of her children, and that fact is purposely being obscured by obscuring terms, yeah, it is.

Sorry to upset the narrative.

No map to back up your claims?  I'm surprised.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #49 on: July 11, 2014, 01:33:51 AM »
In the ancient Orthodox Church, the practice used to be one of openly confessing one's sins before the entire Church, but it was stopped shortly after Constantine issued his decree of toleration as people are not that willing to forgive when someone had violated their dearest daughter or stolen a huge sum of money from the treasury.

Infidelity to one's wife is serious, and I can only imagine what the wife would think if her husband was forbidden to enter the church and had to stand outside during the Divine Liturgy. Perhaps that is what some guys are doing as they stand outside smoking their cigarettes and cigars while their dear wives go inside to pray for them.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 01:34:27 AM by Maria »
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #50 on: July 11, 2014, 01:35:29 AM »
Infidelity to one's wife is serious, and I can only imagine what the wife would think if her husband was forbidden to enter the church and had to stand outside during the Divine Liturgy. Perhaps that is what some guys are doing as they stand outside smoking their cigarettes and cigars while their dear wives go inside to pray for them.

Yeah, this kind of speculation is super-helpful...
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #51 on: July 11, 2014, 01:40:21 AM »
Infidelity to one's wife is serious, and I can only imagine what the wife would think if her husband was forbidden to enter the church and had to stand outside during the Divine Liturgy. Perhaps that is what some guys are doing as they stand outside smoking their cigarettes and cigars while their dear wives go inside to pray for them.

Yeah, this kind of speculation is super-helpful...

I forgot the smilie.  ::)

The Serbian Priest said that it was a custom in his church for the men to stand outside the church smoking because they are not allowed to smoke in the church. The dear wives go into the church to pray for their husbands. Oh, and the men are happy to accompany their wives to church because they do feel protected by their prayers.
The memory of God should be treasured in our hearts like the precious pearl mentioned in the Holy Gospel. Our life's goal should be to nurture and contemplate God always within, and never let it depart, for this steadfastness will drive demons away from us. - Paraphrased from St. Philotheus of Sinai
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #52 on: July 11, 2014, 03:23:58 AM »
In the United States, more than 5 million women are abused by an intimate partner each year. In 2007, intimate partners committed 14% of all homicides in the U.S., killing an estimated 1,640 women. Intimate partner violence is a leading cause of homicides and injury-related deaths during pregnancy. Now, those aren't all due to infidelity, but...

I'm not questioning your accuracy, but for completeness sake, where do you get these numbers from?

And regardless, I think spousal violence or threat or abuse of any kind is a serious marriage issue.  If that's what leads to infidelity, before even addressing infidelity, one has to address the fact that the spouse is in a dangerous position to continue as a spouse.
The government. One place to find numbers is here: http://opdv.ny.gov/statistics/nationaldvdata/index.html

I definitely agree about the issue of domestic violence. But, look: priests deal with all kinds of messed up stuff. This is not outside the purview of what could come up: a woman who cheated on her husband and he thinks he will beat her, or even kill her. There are a lot of issues there that need to be dealt with. But, you know, I want to see what the "always must tell the innocent spouse" crowd has to say about it.
Looking through the link, you will notice-or should-that no distinction is made between spouse, shack-up or one night stand.
That's certainly the most important thing to note when reading statistics about women getting beaten up.

You can almost taste the signaling here.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #53 on: July 11, 2014, 03:44:55 AM »
Even if it brings pain the spouse needs to know.
Thank you.

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #54 on: July 11, 2014, 03:49:29 AM »
Even if it brings pain the spouse needs to know.

What if it brings pain to more than the spouse?  What if it causes a divorce when there are children?
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Offline Nicene

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #55 on: July 11, 2014, 03:58:18 AM »
Even if it brings pain the spouse needs to know.

What if it brings pain to more than the spouse?  What if it causes a divorce when there are children?

Isn't it the spouse's right to get a divorce?
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #56 on: July 11, 2014, 04:02:08 AM »
Even if it brings pain the spouse needs to know.

What if it brings pain to more than the spouse?  What if it causes a divorce when there are children?

Isn't it the spouse's right to get a divorce?

They can.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #57 on: July 11, 2014, 08:41:40 AM »
Also, as much as I respect Mor and much of what he says, I would not cast aside all of Orthodoxy just because some guy on the internet said "not necessarily"

The OP asked about what priests would require of penitents in a particular situation, not about what the penitent ought to do.  Though I'm not a priest, I answered based on my understanding of what I've studied and how I was trained.  I never claimed that my answer was authoritative, though I think I'm not out of line to suppose that my posts on any given day are more authoritative than what others might throw out on any number of topics.  
I meant no affront to you Mor, but when an individual is meeting with a priest in person, there is a much greater capacity to dialog and discuss the issue. It is a barrier of the medium of the internet, not of you personally that I was trying to explain.  Even if I obtained advice from a priest on here that I thought was strange or I did not understand, it would not be a cause for me to question Orthodoxy. Although a priest online may know my internet persona, they don't really know me.  It is far better to have a discussion with a priest the penitent trusts in person than relying on perhaps a theoretically correct answer but not one that is beneficial for the penitent directly.  I sense this thread arose of some personal struggle on the part of the OP, not just a curious inquiry on the theoretical.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #58 on: July 11, 2014, 09:12:52 AM »
Even if it brings pain the spouse needs to know.

What if it brings pain to more than the spouse?  What if it causes a divorce when there are children?
What if the children aren't his and he doesn't know it?
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Offline jah777

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #59 on: July 11, 2014, 10:06:57 AM »
St. Nikodemos also counsels spiritual fathers to be careful not to disclose confessed adultery to the other spouse out of concern for how damaging this information would be.  The role of the spiritual father is to help the person confessing to repent and turn away from such things. 

There is no question that adultery is absolutely devastating to the spouse who is cheated on.  I honestly do not know what would be worse:

1)  Learning right away about the adultery
2)  Learning about the adultery only many years later

If a person is willing to confess such a major sin, most likely they truly wish to repent and not repeat the sin.  My preference would be for my wife to immediately confess and repent, then fulfill whatever epitemia (penance) is given to her, but for me to never know and for her to never again commit this sin.  However, a person who has committed adultery should be given an epitemia by the spiritual father to not commune for a number of years.  If my wife never communed from Sunday to Sunday, I would certainly grow suspicious and I don't think I would let the matter go until she gave me an explanation that actually made sense.  In other words, I don't know how it could be kept secret in that context even if the spiritual father does not require one to tell their spouse.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 10:07:17 AM by jah777 »

Offline genesisone

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #60 on: July 11, 2014, 10:51:23 AM »
St. Nikodemos also counsels spiritual fathers to be careful not to disclose confessed adultery to the other spouse out of concern for how damaging this information would be.  The role of the spiritual father is to help the person confessing to repent and turn away from such things. 

There is no question that adultery is absolutely devastating to the spouse who is cheated on.  I honestly do not know what would be worse:

1)  Learning right away about the adultery
2)  Learning about the adultery only many years later

If a person is willing to confess such a major sin, most likely they truly wish to repent and not repeat the sin.  My preference would be for my wife to immediately confess and repent, then fulfill whatever epitemia (penance) is given to her, but for me to never know and for her to never again commit this sin.  However, a person who has committed adultery should be given an epitemia by the spiritual father to not commune for a number of years.  If my wife never communed from Sunday to Sunday, I would certainly grow suspicious and I don't think I would let the matter go until she gave me an explanation that actually made sense.  In other words, I don't know how it could be kept secret in that context even if the spiritual father does not require one to tell their spouse.
Your words here make much sense.

It's also important to consider the nature of the infidelity. Remember that our Lord told us that even to lust after a woman is to commit adultery. So the scope of what infidelity might be is wide. Most posts here seem to imagine that we are discussing a full-blown sexually active affair. But what if it is no more than a stolen kiss in the storage room at work twenty years ago? Is that the same thing? If a man confessed that to his wife today, she might begin wondering quite unnecessarily if "more" had happened not just then but in the intervening two decades. In that case, confession to the wife would do far more harm than good.

Much better to let it remain under the judgement of the priest who will have heard more of the details. That's one of the things that I appreciate about Orthodoxy: how we live out our faith is not a one-size-fits-all deal.

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #61 on: July 11, 2014, 10:53:19 AM »
I suppose that when sit-coms have a higher morality than your religion, something is wrong.

Orthodoxy has taught me a lot, and I'm glad to have learned from it. But I cannot have any part with a faith that can justify this. Thanks to everyone for their help over the years.
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Offline jah777

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #62 on: July 11, 2014, 10:55:11 AM »
I suppose that when sit-coms have a higher morality than your religion, something is wrong.

Orthodoxy has taught me a lot, and I'm glad to have learned from it. But I cannot have any part with a faith that can justify this. Thanks to everyone for their help over the years.

What sin are you accusing the Orthodox Church of justifying? 

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #63 on: July 11, 2014, 10:57:02 AM »
I suppose that when sit-coms have a higher morality than your religion, something is wrong.

Orthodoxy has taught me a lot, and I'm glad to have learned from it. But I cannot have any part with a faith that can justify this. Thanks to everyone for their help over the years.
Doesn't it seem at all strange to you that you are bagging a religion based on an internet conversation over an issue that does not personally affect you seeing as you are not even married?  ???
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Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #64 on: July 11, 2014, 11:19:46 AM »
The question was not 'should the person confess this to their spouse'
But rather
'Should the Priest require that they do so'

That is the distinction I think Mor is addressing.

There might be situations where the Priest would not 'require' it.

I tell you what; you are one sharp, logical person. I had been coming to that realization as I read your posts, but this one caused me to cement my opinion. Are you perhaps in the legal profession?
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 11:24:59 AM by Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) »

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #65 on: July 11, 2014, 12:07:49 PM »
There is no biblical requirement that we confess to priest's only.

It only makes sense, if you steal something, to confess to the one you stole from.
If you lie, you right your lie through confession to whom you lie to.
If you cheat on your spouse, you confess it to them.

On biblical standard, we are forgiven by God based on how we forgive others.

Christianity is a horrendously hard and difficult faith to be in.  It means we have to carry a heavy cross down a narrow path.  Confessing things to a priest is child's play compared with confessing to a victim.  Been there, done that, and have experienced both.

The churches would like to convince you that absolution exists only in their clergy, when in reality, biblically, it is from those who have received the holy ghost.   Of course this is handy for the church as it gives monopoly control over forgiving sins.

As Yeshua stated in the Lord's prayer "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us".     We must forgive others who confess to us of their sins and wrongs towards us if we want our heavenly father to forgive us.

Absolutely, a person who has wronged a spouse, should confess their sins to their spouse.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #66 on: July 11, 2014, 12:17:48 PM »
I suppose that when sit-coms have a higher morality than your religion, something is wrong.

Orthodoxy has taught me a lot, and I'm glad to have learned from it. But I cannot have any part with a faith that can justify this. Thanks to everyone for their help over the years.

 :-\

God bless you William.  I hope one day you grow out of your teenage emotional logic.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #67 on: July 11, 2014, 12:21:24 PM »
There is no biblical requirement that we confess to priest's only.

It only makes sense, if you steal something, to confess to the one you stole from.
If you lie, you right your lie through confession to whom you lie to.
If you cheat on your spouse, you confess it to them.

On biblical standard, we are forgiven by God based on how we forgive others.

Christianity is a horrendously hard and difficult faith to be in.  It means we have to carry a heavy cross down a narrow path.  Confessing things to a priest is child's play compared with confessing to a victim.  Been there, done that, and have experienced both.

The churches would like to convince you that absolution exists only in their clergy, when in reality, biblically, it is from those who have received the holy ghost.   Of course this is handy for the church as it gives monopoly control over forgiving sins.

As Yeshua stated in the Lord's prayer "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us".     We must forgive others who confess to us of their sins and wrongs towards us if we want our heavenly father to forgive us.

Absolutely, a person who has wronged a spouse, should confess their sins to their spouse.
If you can come up with any evidence in the Bible that outside the Church laying hands on you, you can receive the Holy Spirit to grant absolution, we can have a discussion. Otherwise, you lack standing, as you have nothing to stand on.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #68 on: July 11, 2014, 12:21:41 PM »
And the train wreck continues...

There is no biblical requirement that we confess to priest's only.

It only makes sense, if you steal something, to confess to the one you stole from.
If you lie, you right your lie through confession to whom you lie to.
If you cheat on your spouse, you confess it to them.

You're conflating two different matters.

Quote
On biblical standard, we are forgiven by God based on how we forgive others.

No.  "On biblical standard", we are forgiven by God because we have already forgiven everyone else.  Doesn't anyone pray the Lord's Prayer anymore in your religion?

Quote
Christianity is a horrendously hard and difficult faith to be in.  It means we have to carry a heavy cross down a narrow path.  Confessing things to a priest is child's play compared with confessing to a victim.  Been there, done that, and have experienced both.

Agreed.

Quote
The churches would like to convince you that absolution exists only in their clergy, when in reality, biblically, it is from those who have received the holy ghost.   Of course this is handy for the church as it gives monopoly control over forgiving sins.

Where in Scripture does it say that "those who have received the holy ghost (sic)" are the ones from whom "absolution" comes?  

Quote
As Yeshua stated in the Lord's prayer "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us".     We must forgive others who confess to us of their sins and wrongs towards us if we want our heavenly father to forgive us.

You added that restriction.  It is not what Jesus said.

Quote
Absolutely, a person who has wronged a spouse, should confess their sins to their spouse.

Personally, I understand and lean in this direction, but I know enough to know that such situations have multiple complications, and such a black and white solution isn't always necessarily the best one if the goal is healing and saving and not merely laying it all on the table and seeing what happens.  
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #69 on: July 11, 2014, 12:23:19 PM »
YiM,
No one has ever claimed that we only need to confess to priests. Of course we must seek forgiveness from those who we have wronged. That being said, Christ specifically gave the Apostles and, by extension, their successors the power to forgive sin.

Quote
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

Otherwise Christ's statement makes no sense. If He was talking to any Christian, why would He give the allowance to withhold forgiveness?
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #70 on: July 11, 2014, 12:25:07 PM »
The question was not 'should the person confess this to their spouse'
But rather
'Should the Priest require that they do so'

That is the distinction I think Mor is addressing.

There might be situations where the Priest would not 'require' it.

I tell you what; you are one sharp, logical person. I had been coming to that realization as I read your posts, but this one caused me to cement my opinion. Are you perhaps in the legal profession?
LOL. Carl, don't confuse logic with casuistry with logic (I'm accusing the legal profession, not Denise).
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #71 on: July 11, 2014, 12:30:33 PM »
There is no biblical requirement that we confess to priest's only.

It only makes sense, if you steal something, to confess to the one you stole from.
If you lie, you right your lie through confession to whom you lie to.
If you cheat on your spouse, you confess it to them.

On biblical standard, we are forgiven by God based on how we forgive others.

Christianity is a horrendously hard and difficult faith to be in.  It means we have to carry a heavy cross down a narrow path.  Confessing things to a priest is child's play compared with confessing to a victim.  Been there, done that, and have experienced both.

The churches would like to convince you that absolution exists only in their clergy, when in reality, biblically, it is from those who have received the holy ghost.   Of course this is handy for the church as it gives monopoly control over forgiving sins.

As Yeshua stated in the Lord's prayer "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us".     We must forgive others who confess to us of their sins and wrongs towards us if we want our heavenly father to forgive us.

Absolutely, a person who has wronged a spouse, should confess their sins to their spouse.

Nvm
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 12:31:53 PM by minasoliman »
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Offline Anna.T

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #72 on: July 11, 2014, 02:40:55 PM »
I suppose it comes down to this. I truly believe from the bottom of my heart that keeping this a secret from your spouse would be absolute, pure evil. Therefore, I cannot subscribe to a system of beliefs which can even occasionally justify this.

These beliefs that the consequences of terrible actions can just be done away with by well-wishing, by asking forgiveness from third parties...I just can't.

I'm sorry.

William,

You will of course do what you think is best, but what strikes me about this whole idea is your statement:

Quote
Therefore, I cannot subscribe to a system of beliefs which can even occasionally justify this.

Frankly, I see a problem with this. OK, so you've found a situation where an Orthodox priest has "justified it". Strike Orthodoxy. Guess what? Go to a Lutheran priest and ask him if there might ever be a case where it was justified. If he thinks about it a while, I'm sure he will come up with a scenario to "justify it" as well. Strike Lutheranism. Now try a Baptist pastor, an Assembly of God pastor, and work your way through all of the denominations. I can imagine you will find in them church leaders who will say there CAN BE a situation that would be kinder not to disclose the infidelity.

OK, so strike Christianity? But you know what? I would imagine you will find the same if you ask Buddhists, Hindus, Wiccans, and atheists. No matter what "belief system" ... you are probably going to find someone who will say it is kinder - in some cases, not to disclose it.

What if you had a couple where the man had committed adultery shortly after their marriage. He felt bad, ended the affair, and never told his wife. Ten years go by, and he goes to his pastor/priest/therapist/whoever and tells them he's feeling guilty. Should he confess to his wife?

But the wife has cancer. She is in the hospital, dying. They don't have sexual relations anymore. The man is not that adulterous person anymore. He isn't going to be committing adultery anymore. Divorce at this point is a painful expense. She would only die, knowing that the husband she loved all those years had cheated on her when their love was new.

Do you still think she must be told? That to refrain from telling her is wrong, and you want no part of any belief system that would endorse letting her die in peace without laying that horrible burden on her in her deathbed?

If you do .... then well ... give it a few years. Maybe you will see things differently someday.

I'm NOT a moral relativist. But pastoral wisdom is something I greatly respect within the Orthodox Church (and within any church where I see it). To me, this question embodies the "spirit of the Law" above the "letter of the Law".

God be with you.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 02:44:48 PM by Anna.T »
Aγιος ὁ Θεός, Ἅγιος ἰσχυρός, Ἅγιος ἀθάνατος, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #73 on: July 11, 2014, 03:00:19 PM »
I heard a story once about a husband who was cheating on his wife for many years but repented on his death bed.  She sat next to him as he lay dying holding his hand and he was overwhelmed with guilt.  He looked into her eyes and told her he loved her but he had to admit his crime to her.  She told him to be quiet, that whatever it was she forgave him and loved him as much as she always had.  He tells her that he just cannot go with this still on his conscience, but again she tells him that all is forgiven.  Finally he just blurts out that he'd been boffing the neighbor's wife for the past few years.  She tells him that she knew and forgave him.  He is incredulous, and asked her how long she knew.  She said that she saw them a few days ago through the window, and that is why she decided to poison him.

Moral of the story is, don't cheat on your spouse. 


As for what the priest should do, I would hope that he would at least withhold communion until the spouse admitted their crime.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #74 on: July 11, 2014, 03:21:46 PM »
Here is a scenario worth considering.  Perhaps there is a married couple where one spouse cares a great deal about their faith while the other is rather indifferent or perhaps not even Orthodox.  Now, the person who is faithful in praying, fasting, giving alms, and everything else nevertheless still struggles intensely with lust on a regular basis and on one occasion gives into adultery.  We know from the lives of the saints that someone can be extremely pure and even be able to cast our demons and heal the sick and yet still fall into such a sin (i.e. St. James the Faster below).  If the spouse found out, who is weak in faith, they may reject Orthodoxy and turn their back on God altogether.  "It did no good for my spouse", they might say or, "I would never do that and I don't even care about religion, I guess Orthodoxy really is a sham."  That spouse may also take the children and file for divorce, then raise the children without any Christian and Orthodox influence.  Or, if they do not divorce they may still insist that the children not be raised in the Church.  

If the spouse who fell into the sin confesses and sincerely repents, they may become a much better spouse, the family is preserved and kept together, and the children are raised in the Faith with two parents.  Divorce can have very tragic effects.  

Of course, there can be many different contexts and situations where adultery might occur, but the above scenario is given just to say that I can understand how or why a spiritual father might consider it best for the soul of the person confessing, as well as the souls of the spouse and children, for the confessed sin to be not only stopped immediately but also never spoken of again.  A responsible spiritual father will fully explain to the person confessing how terrible such a sin is and the damage that would come if the spouse found out.


St. James the Faster

He lived in the sixth century. He was so perfected in pleasing God that James cured the most gravely ill through his prayers. But the enemy of mankind lured him into great temptations. At one time, an immoral woman was sent to him by some scoffers. She misrepresented herself to James, pretending to be crying yet all the while luring him into sin. Seeing that he was going to yield to sin, James placed his left hand into the fire and held it there for some time until it was scorched. Seeing this, the woman was filled with fear and terror, repented and amended her life. On another occasion, James did not flee from his temptation, but rather he succumbs to a maiden, who was brought as a lunatic by her parents to be cured of her insanity. He, indeed, healed her and after that, sinned with her. Then in order to conceal his sin he killed her and threw her into a river. As is common, the steps from adultery to murder are not too distant. James lived for ten years after that as a penitent in an open grave. At that time there was a great drought which caused both people and live-stock to suffer. As a result of his prayers, rain fell; James knew that God had forgiven him. Here is an example, similar to that of David, of how twisted is the demon of evil; how by God's permission, the greatest spiritual giants can be overthrown, and through sincere and contrite penance, God, according to His mercy, forgives even the greatest sins and does not punish those when they punish themselves.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 03:24:41 PM by jah777 »

Offline William

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #75 on: July 11, 2014, 03:28:31 PM »
I am not a utilitarian. A spouse has certain rights which simply cannot be violated for the sake of a false, lying peace. I believe that evil is real, and things can't just be the same because something is a secret. I will NEVER agree with the "well what if..." scenarios no matter what depressing sob story you come up with. The consequences exist because of what the spouse did, not because he decided to tell.

This opinion of mine, it's not voluntary; that's just what I know is right. I couldn't change my beliefs even if I wanted to do so. The only case I can think of is if the spouse has explicitly expressed a desire to not know. And that is because THEY have made the decision, as is their inviolable right, not that of the adulterer and his third-party confidant.

Anna, you are right. I don't expect any other religion to agree with me. I believe religion is vital to man's well-being, especially in modern society. The community, the values, the worship, the consolation, the meaning, all are completely irreplaceable by anything the irreligious can offer. That does not mean that it is moral, or that I can compromise. It's a shame that I will have to go without it.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #76 on: July 11, 2014, 03:30:59 PM »
I am not a utilitarian. A spouse has certain rights which simply cannot be violated for the sake of a false, lying peace. I believe that evil is real, and things can't just be the same because something is a secret. I will NEVER agree with the "well what if..." scenarios no matter what depressing sob story you come up with. The consequences exist because of what the spouse did, not because he decided to tell.

This opinion of mine, it's not voluntary; that's just what I know is right. I couldn't change my beliefs even if I wanted to do so. The only case I can think of is if the spouse has explicitly expressed a desire to not know. And that is because THEY have made the decision, as is their inviolable right, not that of the adulterer and his third-party confidant.

Anna, you are right. I don't expect any other religion to agree with me. I believe religion is vital to man's well-being, especially in modern society. The community, the values, the worship, the consolation, the meaning, all are completely irreplaceable by anything the irreligious can offer. That does not mean that it is moral, or that I can compromise. It's a shame that I will have to go without it.
Did this morality come from a sit-com?
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Offline Anna.T

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #77 on: July 11, 2014, 03:42:38 PM »
I am not a utilitarian. A spouse has certain rights which simply cannot be violated for the sake of a false, lying peace. I believe that evil is real, and things can't just be the same because something is a secret. I will NEVER agree with the "well what if..." scenarios no matter what depressing sob story you come up with. The consequences exist because of what the spouse did, not because he decided to tell.

This opinion of mine, it's not voluntary; that's just what I know is right. I couldn't change my beliefs even if I wanted to do so. The only case I can think of is if the spouse has explicitly expressed a desire to not know. And that is because THEY have made the decision, as is their inviolable right, not that of the adulterer and his third-party confidant.

Anna, you are right. I don't expect any other religion to agree with me. I believe religion is vital to man's well-being, especially in modern society. The community, the values, the worship, the consolation, the meaning, all are completely irreplaceable by anything the irreligious can offer. That does not mean that it is moral, or that I can compromise. It's a shame that I will have to go without it.

Very well. So what shall you choose? Will you disbelieve in God, and be an athiest? A humanist?

I fear you will find among those ones who will be able to imagine some situation where to withhold is kinder and more merciful.

I can't speak to whatever it is that is making you think this right to know is always right, no matter what. I have heard of situations where someone took that point of view and "unburdened" themselves, to the detriment of the one they wronged. That means you justify further harm on the injured party, for the sake of the "right" of the abuser to unburden their conscience.

Seeing as how confession in the Church to a priest is expected for absolution, I find this very curious. We've had to create some rather convoluted scenarios in order to justify not telling. I would think that in nearly every case, the priest would require the adulterer to confess to their spouse. It does not seem to be in any form the "standard procedure" of the Church to encourage the covering of sin.

Aγιος ὁ Θεός, Ἅγιος ἰσχυρός, Ἅγιος ἀθάνατος, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς

Let us commit ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Offline minasoliman

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #78 on: July 11, 2014, 03:46:28 PM »
This opinion of mine, it's not voluntary; that's just what I know is right.

William, if everyone thinks like this, do you think the world would be a better place?

I think you completely glossed over the fact that this has nothing to do with any religion whatsoever.  If you feel like the answer "depends" strongly contradicts your personal morality, you have to even reject secular therapist suggestions.  Again, your teenage emotional logic is not rational, it's merely inexperienced thinking.

If you feel that sit-com morality is better than religion's, you become a joke.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 03:47:00 PM by minasoliman »
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #79 on: July 11, 2014, 03:55:31 PM »
Mina, do you think that your inane commentary is in any way helpful? You have not presented any logic at all, only a willingness to allow for the avoidance of the natural consequences of an action. I have never heard the categorical imperative called illogical, teenage emotion. That's certainly an interesting interpretation.

Why would I care about what secular therapists think? I can disagree with their moral evaluations with a clear conscience, just like I can disagree with a gynecologist who recommends a termination. I can't do that with a priest or a saint while belonging to their religion.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #80 on: July 11, 2014, 03:58:02 PM »
William, in this confusing world, I can be sure there's more to your ultimatums than the topic at hand. I'm praying for you.
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #81 on: July 11, 2014, 04:08:23 PM »
Mina, do you think that your inane commentary is in any way helpful? You have not presented any logic at all, only a willingness to allow for the avoidance of the natural consequences of an action. I have never heard the categorical imperative called illogical, teenage emotion. That's certainly an interesting interpretation.

Why would I care about what secular therapists think? I can disagree with their moral evaluations with a clear conscience, just like I can disagree with a gynecologist who recommends a termination. I can't do that with a priest or a saint while belonging to their religion.

That's precisely why you're so immature.  Your analogies reveal how much you do not know much.  You have every right to disagree, but that does not mean your disagreements are correct.  Your opinions are not "involuntary".  They're merely sophomoric.  Sure, don't get a termination, but you'll die.  Sure, don't go to therapy, but you'll suffer the consequences.

My opinions on many things have changed since I was your age.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 04:09:59 PM by minasoliman »
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #82 on: July 11, 2014, 04:14:01 PM »
It is interesting how in the course of my deconstruction of your defense of secret-keeping, you end up defending abortion. I believe that speaks for itself.

Don't worry mina, if you're right, I'll grow out of my deeply-held, innate, lifelong moral sensibilities. In that case, I'll just come back to the church anyway, and your infantile arguments won't even have been necessary.
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #83 on: July 11, 2014, 04:20:10 PM »
LOL...so you think there is not at least one reason why there should be a choice for an abortion?

I rest my case.  I hope you outgrow your stubbornness to think in the shoes of a therapist rather than in your own little lala land.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #84 on: July 11, 2014, 04:25:25 PM »
Mina, do you think that your inane commentary is in any way helpful? You have not presented any logic at all, only a willingness to allow for the avoidance of the natural consequences of an action. I have never heard the categorical imperative called illogical, teenage emotion. That's certainly an interesting interpretation.

Why would I care about what secular therapists think? I can disagree with their moral evaluations with a clear conscience, just like I can disagree with a gynecologist who recommends a termination. I can't do that with a priest or a saint while belonging to their religion.
If you are willing to harden your heart over something theoretical (and I take it the scenario at present is theoretical), we can't be sure that it just won't harden further
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #85 on: July 11, 2014, 04:27:22 PM »
Mina, do you think that your inane commentary is in any way helpful? You have not presented any logic at all, only a willingness to allow for the avoidance of the natural consequences of an action. I have never heard the categorical imperative called illogical, teenage emotion. That's certainly an interesting interpretation.

Why would I care about what secular therapists think? I can disagree with their moral evaluations with a clear conscience, just like I can disagree with a gynecologist who recommends a termination. I can't do that with a priest or a saint while belonging to their religion.
If you are willing to harden your heart over something theoretical (and I take it the scenario at present is theoretical), we can't be sure that it just won't harden further

I think he made his decision before this theoretical issue.  He was fishing for a reason to disbelieve, only believing he is the sole source of all truth in this world without proper knowledge of every situation, every scenario, and even basic physical situations, let alone moral ones.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 04:28:19 PM by minasoliman »
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Offline JamesR

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #86 on: July 11, 2014, 04:33:00 PM »
Here is a scenario worth considering.  Perhaps there is a married couple where one spouse cares a great deal about their faith while the other is rather indifferent or perhaps not even Orthodox.  Now, the person who is faithful in praying, fasting, giving alms, and everything else nevertheless still struggles intensely with lust on a regular basis and on one occasion gives into adultery.  We know from the lives of the saints that someone can be extremely pure and even be able to cast our demons and heal the sick and yet still fall into such a sin (i.e. St. James the Faster below).  If the spouse found out, who is weak in faith, they may reject Orthodoxy and turn their back on God altogether.  "It did no good for my spouse", they might say or, "I would never do that and I don't even care about religion, I guess Orthodoxy really is a sham."  That spouse may also take the children and file for divorce, then raise the children without any Christian and Orthodox influence.  Or, if they do not divorce they may still insist that the children not be raised in the Church.

If their spouse still committed adultery, then maybe it's true that Orthodoxy didn't do anything for them and that parent would have a right to contemplate the upbringing of their children and whether they want them to be involved in such a thing. 

Quote
If the spouse who fell into the sin confesses and sincerely repents, they may become a much better spouse, the family is preserved and kept together, and the children are raised in the Faith with two parents.  Divorce can have very tragic effects.  

And what's it built off of? A lie. It becomes an artificial evil.

Plus, Christ HIMSELF said that adultery is the one ground for divorce. That being said, I don't care how many Canons, Fathers, or patristics are quoted. If Christ gave a spouse the right to divorce in the case of adultery, then I imagine that that spouse has the right to know and thus decide whether or not they want to continue the marriage.

This is especially true because adultery harms the innocent party as well. Married people become one flesh and so when one part of that one flesh uses it to sin, they are sinning against the flesh of their innocent partner as well.

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #87 on: July 11, 2014, 04:36:31 PM »
Really?  So God can forgive you on my behalf, if you wrong me?  That's an unusual thought.

For what it's worth, when I was kid in Protestant school they used to teach us that when an offending party sincerely apologized, that we had a God-given duty to forgive them. Not sure if it's true or not.

Quote
But my real point in replying to this post is to say that people have a lot more control over their ability to feel guilty than you seem to think.

I'd agree with that. Guilt isn't a natural feeling.

Offline William

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #88 on: July 11, 2014, 04:36:48 PM »
It looks like we've gotten to the point of the thread where we go from attempting to help the doubter to picking out his personality flaws so to assure ourselves that nothing in his struggle is genuine or could ever affect us. Here is my posting history if you'd like to look for some ammunition: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=4091;sa=showPosts

That's fine. I've admitted that I can't change my beliefs here, and God knows I've done that myself plenty here on OC.net with others who have struggled. I'd prefer if we could just agree to disagree, but you can do what you need to do.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #89 on: July 11, 2014, 04:39:14 PM »
Plus, Christ HIMSELF said that adultery is the one ground for divorce. That being said, I don't care how many Canons, Fathers, or patristics are quoted. If Christ gave a spouse the right to divorce in the case of adultery, then I imagine that that spouse has the right to know and thus decide whether or not they want to continue the marriage.

1.  Right =/= Duty

2.  Not that I don't believe such exists, but you'll need something other than the words of Christ to establish a "right to know".  The situation he addressed was one that was or became "public knowledge".  
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Offline JamesR

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #90 on: July 11, 2014, 04:40:15 PM »
Not necessarily. 
it would, however, have to be some serious extenuating circumstances.
Could confessing that infidelity do more harm than good?

What does it matter if it's going to come to light someday anyway? Might as well do it fast like a band-aid instead of letting it build up and get worse. I imagine most spouses would feel more angry and betrayed if they found out years later that their spouse was unfaithful to them than if that party confessed right away.

Of course, maybe they'll never find out. But you never know. I'd rather confess it than to risk it coming out years later and having to be paranoid forever about that partner finding out the truth.

Plus, it seems very dishonest and jerk-ish to keep such a secret from someone. Treat others as you'd like. I certainly wouldn't want infidelity kept a secret from me; that being said, I'd feel morally pressured into confessing it.

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #91 on: July 11, 2014, 04:40:37 PM »
There isn't much more to be said here that mina has not already said.  At some point, you young fellas will come to realize that very little is black and white in the world. Absolutes are easy to pronounce but destructive to live by. I think in the VAST overwhelming situations that arise, the spouse should be made aware and a counseling priest would urge in that direction. Counseling isn't math though. This isn't 2+2=4.  If a counselor or priest gives everyone the same exact advice for the same situations, you wouldn't need a counselor, you need a computer.

Input problem.
Problem = infidelity

Please wait while we process this problem...

Response = divorce him and sue him for all he's got.
God bless!

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #92 on: July 11, 2014, 04:41:37 PM »
Guilt isn't a natural feeling.

Aren't you the one toting around the idea that "everything that happens in nature is natural"?  Or is that only when talking about masturbation, fornication, drugs, tobacco, guns, etc.?
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Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #93 on: July 11, 2014, 04:42:55 PM »
For myself, if my wife ever did cheat on me, I would prefer she never tell me.  If any of you become her confessor when she eventually converts to Orthodoxy, please keep that in mind.  ;)
God bless!

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #94 on: July 11, 2014, 04:43:34 PM »
... Guilt isn't a natural feeling.

True guilt is a natural psychological pain analogous to physical pain -- it serves an important purpose. Another important natural pain people nowadays seem to try to deny is shame. If a guilty person had been receptive to shame, he would often have avoided guilt. The Apostles and Church offer teachings on these subjects.

Of course there are artificial counterfeits of both these, and they can even be commoner than the true, but this does not prove guilt and shame are "unnatural."
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #95 on: July 11, 2014, 04:45:13 PM »
There isn't much more to be said here that mina has not already said.  At some point, you young fellas will come to realize that very little is black and white in the world. Absolutes are easy to pronounce but destructive to live by.

Except when it comes to being anti-LGBT marriage and anti-abortion, right?

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #96 on: July 11, 2014, 04:45:36 PM »
For myself, if my wife ever did cheat on me, I would prefer she never tell me.  If any of you become her confessor when she eventually converts to Orthodoxy, please keep that in mind.  ;)

Are you saying this in the Spirit or as an idea that struck you?
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #97 on: July 11, 2014, 04:46:48 PM »
Guilt isn't a natural feeling.

Aren't you the one toting around the idea that "everything that happens in nature is natural"?  Or is that only when talking about masturbation, fornication, drugs, tobacco, guns, etc.?

Perhaps I worded myself wrong.

I think that a person has to choose to feel guilty. When I do something deemed "wrong," I usually don't feel any guilt or remorse about it until I dwell on this religious stuff and in a way, have to "make myself" feel guilty. That being said, I don't think we necessarily have to feel guilty because the feeling of guilt is something we choose more often than we think.

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #98 on: July 11, 2014, 04:49:29 PM »
For myself, if my wife ever did cheat on me, I would prefer she never tell me.  If any of you become her confessor when she eventually converts to Orthodoxy, please keep that in mind.  ;)

Well I'd certainly want to know. And truth be told, I'd probably divorce her.

Like William, I have extraordinarily high personal standards and I don't think I could be with someone who didn't share the same standards. I'd never stay with an adulteress and similarly I'd never commit adultery on my partner. Again, ask for nothing you yourself aren't willing to give.

If she kept this a secret from me...well, that's even worse than the act itself. It's dishonesty, which I really despise. You become the fool out of the entire thing.

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #99 on: July 11, 2014, 04:52:10 PM »
For myself, if my wife ever did cheat on me, I would prefer she never tell me.  If any of you become her confessor when she eventually converts to Orthodoxy, please keep that in mind.  ;)

Are you saying this in the Spirit or as an idea that struck you?
What does that mean?
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #100 on: July 11, 2014, 04:53:32 PM »
2.  Not that I don't believe such exists, but you'll need something other than the words of Christ to establish a "right to know".  The situation he addressed was one that was or became "public knowledge".

You don't think the Golden Rule would apply here? As well as St. Paul's bit about your body not being your own but your spouse's?

In light of those passages, I'm not sure how many folks there are out there who wouldn't want to know if their spouse cheated on them. I'm not saying them don't exist, but they certainly seem rarer. And if you wouldn't want it to be kept a secret from you, wouldn't it become your responsibility to make sure that you don't keep it a secret from your partner? Especially when your body which you defiled is not your property but that of your spouse?

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #101 on: July 11, 2014, 04:54:06 PM »
It looks like we've gotten to the point of the thread where we go from attempting to help the doubter to picking out his personality flaws so to assure ourselves that nothing in his struggle is genuine or could ever affect us. Here is my posting history if you'd like to look for some ammunition: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=4091;sa=showPosts

That's fine. I've admitted that I can't change my beliefs here, and God knows I've done that myself plenty here on OC.net with others who have struggled. I'd prefer if we could just agree to disagree, but you can do what you need to do.

If you only wrote on this thread alone, then by all means, no one needs to see your past to see what's wrong with your thinking.  It's okay to have some flaws. Who doesn't have flaws?  The point is to be humble about it.  Sometimes, not everything in this world fits so perfectly in your imagination.

Forget about Christianity or religion for a moment.  Just common sense with some wisdom-based experience can help you achieve a lot of understanding.  Having a saint or a priest tell you some advice does not mean you cannot disagree or cannot change your mind.  A priest telling you advice is a matter of trying to help you elucidate the world better for you, to deal with things in a way you never thought about (in fact, most priests today I understand do take counseling lessons, not just mere patristic wisdom).  Same thing with any therapist or physician.  It is not a matter of infallibility.  It's a matter of practicality to help resolve a problem within a society.

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #102 on: July 11, 2014, 04:54:41 PM »
There isn't much more to be said here that mina has not already said.  At some point, you young fellas will come to realize that very little is black and white in the world. Absolutes are easy to pronounce but destructive to live by.

Except when it comes to being anti-LGBT marriage and anti-abortion, right?
I think there are grey areas to both of those as well.

I think civil unions should be permitted. I think there are situations where abortion is unfortunately a necessity, particularly when the mother's life is at risk. I am not going to go out of my way to trumpet them as wonderful things, but rather accept them as things that are the result of fallen mankind.
God bless!

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #103 on: July 11, 2014, 04:57:43 PM »
For myself, if my wife ever did cheat on me, I would prefer she never tell me.  If any of you become her confessor when she eventually converts to Orthodoxy, please keep that in mind.  ;)

Well I'd certainly want to know. And truth be told, I'd probably divorce her.

Like William, I have extraordinarily high personal standards and I don't think I could be with someone who didn't share the same standards. I'd never stay with an adulteress and similarly I'd never commit adultery on my partner. Again, ask for nothing you yourself aren't willing to give.

If she kept this a secret from me...well, that's even worse than the act itself. It's dishonesty, which I really despise. You become the fool out of the entire thing.
I already told my wife if she cheats on me that I don't want to know about it.  Of course, I'm not too concerned that it would ever happen, but if it does, I would prefer to be oblivious to the fact.  Further, I think if she did tell me, I would prefer it be years later.  If she came to me now and said that she cheated on me a year after we got married, but she cut it off and it never happened again, I would be pretty tore up about it, but I would not divorce her.  We have built up too much since then to throw it all away.
God bless!

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #104 on: July 11, 2014, 04:58:18 PM »
...

Perhaps I worded myself wrong.

I think that a person has to choose to feel guilty. When I do something deemed "wrong," I usually don't feel any guilt or remorse about it until I dwell on this religious stuff and in a way, have to "make myself" feel guilty. That being said, I don't think we necessarily have to feel guilty because the feeling of guilt is something we choose more often than we think.

You're not a natural case. For that matter, none of us Westerns is. We are continually conditioned to ignore most impulses that are not materialistic and satisfy a certain set of narrow purposes.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #105 on: July 11, 2014, 05:00:17 PM »
2.  Not that I don't believe such exists, but you'll need something other than the words of Christ to establish a "right to know".  The situation he addressed was one that was or became "public knowledge".

You don't think the Golden Rule would apply here? As well as St. Paul's bit about your body not being your own but your spouse's?

You are the one who referred to Christ's allowance of divorce in the case of adultery.  All I said was that it wasn't enough to defend your thesis.  If you are beginning to read more of Scripture than the occasional proof-text, great.  

Quote
In light of those passages, I'm not sure how many folks there are out there who wouldn't want to know if their spouse cheated on them. I'm not saying them don't exist, but they certainly seem rarer. And if you wouldn't want it to be kept a secret from you, wouldn't it become your responsibility to make sure that you don't keep it a secret from your partner? Especially when your body which you defiled is not your property but that of your spouse?

Keep reading.  "Property" is not the right lens through which to look at these issues.  If you think otherwise, you need a lot more help than anyone can provide in this thread.  
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Offline JamesR

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #106 on: July 11, 2014, 05:00:53 PM »
Even if it brings pain the spouse needs to know.

What if it brings pain to more than the spouse?  What if it causes a divorce when there are children?

Still, isn't it kind of unfair and exploitive to screw over an entirely innocent party by keeping it a secret just so that the family doesn't fall apart even though you're the one responsible for it? It seems like a form of outsourcing responsibility to another party like my family had no problem doing with me. I'm all for preserving the family, but if it means lying to an innocent party and thus screwing him/her over, I'm not so sure if it's worth it. Do ends justify means?

Offline Anna.T

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #107 on: July 11, 2014, 05:37:22 PM »
So many "gray areas". So many reasons. So many circumstances that might affect opinions, even years from now.

If it is a requirement to tell the spouse of infidelity, with the expectation that it will probably lead to divorce, what about lust?

Christ said that to look at a woman to lust after her is the same as adultery.

Must every instance be confessed? Must it lead to divorce? Even if there are children? Even if it happened years ago and not since?

And as for saying "I would never ... "  There's a reason the saying goes "never say never". It's easy to look forward with eyes that only see a certain color, but then as you pass through life, things get more and more complicated, and you see that it is not as simple as you first expected.

That's not meant to be an insult. It's the human condition.

Again, it's another reason I'm thankful for pastoral wisdom.

What did Jesus do when they brought Him the woman who had been caught in adultery? The Law said she should be stoned. Did He mete out the proper punishment? Did He tell her she had to go confess to her husband?

No, He told her "Go and sin no more." Anyone who believes they know the moral thing to do, who would disagree with the heart of Christ, well ....

Let God be true and every man a liar. He IS truth, and none of our ideals or ideas are truth if they don't agree with Him.

I'm not sure of the point of the thread in general anymore though.

But the wise thing to consider is the eternal effect on everyone affected by the situation, and make recommendations based on that, whatever they turn out to be.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 05:39:48 PM by Anna.T »
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Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #108 on: July 11, 2014, 05:40:27 PM »
There isn't much more to be said here that mina has not already said.  At some point, you young fellas will come to realize that very little is black and white in the world. Absolutes are easy to pronounce but destructive to live by. I think in the VAST overwhelming situations that arise, the spouse should be made aware and a counseling priest would urge in that direction. Counseling isn't math though. This isn't 2+2=4.  If a counselor or priest gives everyone the same exact advice for the same situations, you wouldn't need a counselor, you need a computer.

Input problem.
Problem = infidelity

Please wait while we process this problem...

Response = divorce him and sue him for all he's got.
quite a moral problem when he isn't the one committing the infidelity.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #109 on: July 11, 2014, 05:47:05 PM »
It looks like we've gotten to the point of the thread where we go from attempting to help the doubter to picking out his personality flaws so to assure ourselves that nothing in his struggle is genuine or could ever affect us. Here is my posting history if you'd like to look for some ammunition: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=4091;sa=showPosts

That's fine. I've admitted that I can't change my beliefs here, and God knows I've done that myself plenty here on OC.net with others who have struggled. I'd prefer if we could just agree to disagree, but you can do what you need to do.
Since I speak with the voice of experience on this matter, I point out that drawing attention to making dogmatic statements on theoretical situations and justifying it with feelings isn't picking out personality flaws.  It is just pointing out the perils of building on a foundation of sand.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #110 on: July 11, 2014, 05:54:48 PM »
What did Jesus do when they brought Him the woman who had been caught in adultery?

That story is not true. It's an addition.

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #111 on: July 11, 2014, 05:56:22 PM »
What did Jesus do when they brought Him the woman who had been caught in adultery?

That story is not true. It's an addition.

LOL.  Just stop. 
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #112 on: July 11, 2014, 05:58:07 PM »
What did Jesus do when they brought Him the woman who had been caught in adultery?

That story is not true. It's an addition.

So is all of Orthodoxy to the biblical literalist (by which I'm not granting your assertion, by the way).
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #113 on: July 11, 2014, 05:58:54 PM »
What did Jesus do when they brought Him the woman who had been caught in adultery?

That story is not true. It's an addition.

LOL.  Just stop. 

Almost no scholar apart from the odd American Baptist fundamentalists consider it authentic and I'm unaware of any patristic commentary on it from the Ante Nicene Fathers and Nicene Fathers. Most commentaries on it come much later. Even St. John Chrysostom, whose homilies I've personally studied very much, says nothing about this story.

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #114 on: July 11, 2014, 06:02:53 PM »
What did Jesus do when they brought Him the woman who had been caught in adultery?

That story is not true. It's an addition.

LOL.  Just stop. 

Almost no scholar apart from the odd American Baptist fundamentalists consider it authentic and I'm unaware of any patristic commentary on it from the Ante Nicene Fathers and Nicene Fathers. Most commentaries on it come much later. Even St. John Chrysostom, whose homilies I've personally studied very much, says nothing about this story.

That's not the point.  The prodigal son is not true, but it professes truth.  Really James, really?
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #115 on: July 11, 2014, 06:05:58 PM »
What did Jesus do when they brought Him the woman who had been caught in adultery?

That story is not true. It's an addition.

LOL.  Just stop. 

Almost no scholar apart from the odd American Baptist fundamentalists consider it authentic and I'm unaware of any patristic commentary on it from the Ante Nicene Fathers and Nicene Fathers. Most commentaries on it come much later. Even St. John Chrysostom, whose homilies I've personally studied very much, says nothing about this story.

You will excuse me if I require a bit more substantiation for your claim of considerable scholarly research.  

Is this story contained in the official text of the Bible in your Church?  
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #116 on: July 11, 2014, 06:09:44 PM »
What did Jesus do when they brought Him the woman who had been caught in adultery?

That story is not true. It's an addition.

LOL.  Just stop. 

Almost no scholar apart from the odd American Baptist fundamentalists consider it authentic and I'm unaware of any patristic commentary on it from the Ante Nicene Fathers and Nicene Fathers. Most commentaries on it come much later. Even St. John Chrysostom, whose homilies I've personally studied very much, says nothing about this story.

That's not the point.  The prodigal son is not true, but it professes truth.  Really James, really?

Who said that the story of the woman adulteress professes truth? It seems fishy all the way if you ask me. Not only is it not really a part of the original narrative, but we don't even know when it was added and who added it. Whoever added it may not have been the Church but could have simply been some weirdo or anti-Semite trying to make a point. I don't see proof or evidence that the story is authentic or true and I don't see proof or evidence that the story professes truth and was truly added by the Church and not just some weirdo or translator.

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #117 on: July 11, 2014, 06:10:45 PM »
Is this story contained in the official text of the Bible in your Church?

Yes, IIRC, however, it has the "earlier manuscripts do not include this" disclaimer.

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #118 on: July 11, 2014, 06:15:00 PM »
At this point I'm convinced that James is just an internet performance artist.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #119 on: July 11, 2014, 06:15:51 PM »
What did Jesus do when they brought Him the woman who had been caught in adultery?

That story is not true. It's an addition.

LOL.  Just stop. 

Almost no scholar apart from the odd American Baptist fundamentalists consider it authentic and I'm unaware of any patristic commentary on it from the Ante Nicene Fathers and Nicene Fathers. Most commentaries on it come much later. Even St. John Chrysostom, whose homilies I've personally studied very much, says nothing about this story.

You will excuse me if I require a bit more substantiation for your claim of considerable scholarly research.  

Is this story contained in the official text of the Bible in your Church?  

That was going to be my question - is it canonical?

It is my understanding that the Protoevangelion of James was read in Churches (and was implicitly accepted) until it started being used by heretics to support errors, so it was no longer read, and not made part of the canon. But anything that DID make it into the canon (including additions) were necessarily regarded by the Church as being illustrative of Truth.

If we start undercutting Scripture, and thus the Tradition and Church that supports it - what do we have left to trust?

I'm not trying to be disagreeable, but do you think this story misrepresents the heart of Our Lord?
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #120 on: July 11, 2014, 06:16:19 PM »
James, there's no question of its being Scriptural. You're confusing higher criticism's attempt to unveil original authorship, and so forth, with what makes a writing canonical.

(However, even from the critical perspective of whether "X" wrote the story, your position is hardly inarguable. But why change the whole topic of the thread?)
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #121 on: July 11, 2014, 06:17:32 PM »
What did Jesus do when they brought Him the woman who had been caught in adultery?

That story is not true. It's an addition.

LOL.  Just stop. 

Almost no scholar apart from the odd American Baptist fundamentalists consider it authentic and I'm unaware of any patristic commentary on it from the Ante Nicene Fathers and Nicene Fathers. Most commentaries on it come much later. Even St. John Chrysostom, whose homilies I've personally studied very much, says nothing about this story.

That's not the point.  The prodigal son is not true, but it professes truth.  Really James, really?

Who said that the story of the woman adulteress professes truth? It seems fishy all the way if you ask me. Not only is it not really a part of the original narrative, but we don't even know when it was added and who added it. Whoever added it may not have been the Church but could have simply been some weirdo or anti-Semite trying to make a point. I don't see proof or evidence that the story is authentic or true and I don't see proof or evidence that the story professes truth and was truly added by the Church and not just some weirdo or translator.

NM, too many posts behind. It seems you don't think the Church is able to protect the Canon of Scripture then.

As I said, we have nothing, in that case. You trust the "scholars" more?
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #122 on: July 11, 2014, 06:21:56 PM »
So the point of the story is not about forgiveness, but about anti-Semitism...gotcha.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #123 on: July 11, 2014, 06:23:01 PM »
(In other words, when you can provide me with liturgies to compare, one with a reading about the adulteress, and another commemorating SS. Lachmann and Tischendorf, then I'll at least agree to be confused.)
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #124 on: July 11, 2014, 06:34:29 PM »
Is this story contained in the official text of the Bible in your Church?

Yes, IIRC, however, it has the "earlier manuscripts do not include this" disclaimer.

Fixed it for you.  There's no such disclaimer in Greek or Syriac, so unless you've recently become some sort of Protestant, the Bible of the Church accepts this passage as canonical Scripture.   

Next time, don't blaspheme the Holy Spirit to score cheap points in a discussion of something you know little about.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #125 on: July 11, 2014, 06:35:29 PM »
NM, too many posts behind. It seems you don't think the Church is able to protect the Canon of Scripture then.

The Church has no Canon of Scriptures and still isn't.

Several of the Fathers had different opinions on what was Canon and what wasn't. Even to this day, there is some variance in different jurisdictions. The Ethiopians for example include the book of Enoch into their Canon whereas others don't.

The notion of a Canon isn't very Orthodox.

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #126 on: July 11, 2014, 06:36:13 PM »
Is this story contained in the official text of the Bible in your Church?

Yes, IIRC, however, it has the "earlier manuscripts do not include this" disclaimer.

Fixed it for you.  There's no such disclaimer in Greek or Syriac, so unless you've recently become some sort of Protestant, the Bible of the Church accepts this passage as canonical Scripture.   

Next time, don't blaspheme the Holy Spirit to score cheap points in a discussion of something you know little about.

My Church uses the NKJV which includes the disclaimer.

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #127 on: July 11, 2014, 06:37:25 PM »
James, stop being obtuse, please.  Look at the forest of Anna's message.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #128 on: July 11, 2014, 06:38:37 PM »
Is this story contained in the official text of the Bible in your Church?

Yes, IIRC, however, it has the "earlier manuscripts do not include this" disclaimer.

Fixed it for you.  There's no such disclaimer in Greek or Syriac, so unless you've recently become some sort of Protestant, the Bible of the Church accepts this passage as canonical Scripture.   

Next time, don't blaspheme the Holy Spirit to score cheap points in a discussion of something you know little about.

My Church uses the NKJV which includes the disclaimer.

When I said "Church", I meant "Eastern Orthodox", not "JamesR's OCA parish in Sometown, CA".
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #129 on: July 11, 2014, 06:39:14 PM »
NM, too many posts behind. It seems you don't think the Church is able to protect the Canon of Scripture then.

The Church has no Canon of Scriptures and still isn't.

Several of the Fathers had different opinions on what was Canon and what wasn't. Even to this day, there is some variance in different jurisdictions. The Ethiopians for example include the book of Enoch into their Canon whereas others don't.

The notion of a Canon isn't very Orthodox.

Keep digging, you're halfway to China.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #130 on: July 11, 2014, 06:39:24 PM »
NM, too many posts behind. It seems you don't think the Church is able to protect the Canon of Scripture then.

The Church has no Canon of Scriptures and still isn't.

Several of the Fathers had different opinions on what was Canon and what wasn't. Even to this day, there is some variance in different jurisdictions. The Ethiopians for example include the book of Enoch into their Canon whereas others don't.

The notion of a Canon isn't very Orthodox.

Surely if it's appointed to be read, it's canonical in the Orthodox sense. What the Scriptures do not exclude is well-known; all they include may be a different subject.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #131 on: July 11, 2014, 06:39:54 PM »
James, stop being obtuse, please.  Look at the forest of Anna's message.

What?

I'm just pointing out that the story in question is absent from the Church for a very long time until I'm not so sure when. And even then, I see no proof or evidence to suggest that it professes truth or was really added by the Church. To be honest, I don't know where that story came from. So isn't it better to be skeptical of it than to accept it when our Church has been silent on it and logical reason tells us it's fishy?

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #132 on: July 11, 2014, 06:41:22 PM »


Maybe an image can get some attention.
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Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #133 on: July 11, 2014, 06:42:36 PM »
Is this story contained in the official text of the Bible in your Church?

Yes, IIRC, however, it has the "earlier manuscripts do not include this" disclaimer.

Fixed it for you.  There's no such disclaimer in Greek or Syriac, so unless you've recently become some sort of Protestant, the Bible of the Church accepts this passage as canonical Scripture.   

Next time, don't blaspheme the Holy Spirit to score cheap points in a discussion of something you know little about.

My Church uses the NKJV which includes the disclaimer.

When I said "Church", I meant "Eastern Orthodox", not "JamesR's OCA parish in Sometown, CA".

Oh.

Well in that case, I'm unsure. But I can tell you that historically this story was absent from the Church for a long time.

Here's a good question: are there any days of the year where that story is officially read, in either the Western or Byzantine rite? And if so, when/where did it become included? In my OCA parish, I do not recall ever hearing that story read in either the Gospel reading at Liturgy or in any of the other services.

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #134 on: July 11, 2014, 06:42:59 PM »
James, stop being obtuse, please.  Look at the forest of Anna's message.

What?

I'm just pointing out that the story in question is absent from the Church for a very long time until I'm not so sure when. And even then, I see no proof or evidence to suggest that it professes truth or was really added by the Church. To be honest, I don't know where that story came from. So isn't it better to be skeptical of it than to accept it when our Church has been silent on it and logical reason tells us it's fishy?

My ecclesiastical Gospel book from Greece says your logical reason is fishy.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #135 on: July 11, 2014, 06:45:45 PM »
James, stop being obtuse, please.  Look at the forest of Anna's message.

What?

I'm just pointing out that the story in question is absent from the Church for a very long time until I'm not so sure when. And even then, I see no proof or evidence to suggest that it professes truth or was really added by the Church. To be honest, I don't know where that story came from. So isn't it better to be skeptical of it than to accept it when our Church has been silent on it and logical reason tells us it's fishy?

My ecclesiastical Gospel book from Greece says your logical reason is fishy.

I don't think trusting the Church's infallibility and guidance by the Holy Spirit doesn't mean that she can make a mistake in regards to the Bible. The Johannine Comma is also a well known later addition to the epistle and yet the Church accepts that as well.

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #136 on: July 11, 2014, 06:49:54 PM »
Is this story contained in the official text of the Bible in your Church?

Yes, IIRC, however, it has the "earlier manuscripts do not include this" disclaimer.

Fixed it for you.  There's no such disclaimer in Greek or Syriac, so unless you've recently become some sort of Protestant, the Bible of the Church accepts this passage as canonical Scripture.   

Next time, don't blaspheme the Holy Spirit to score cheap points in a discussion of something you know little about.

My Church uses the NKJV which includes the disclaimer.

When I said "Church", I meant "Eastern Orthodox", not "JamesR's OCA parish in Sometown, CA".

Oh.

Well in that case, I'm unsure. But I can tell you that historically this story was absent from the Church for a long time.

Here's a good question: are there any days of the year where that story is officially read, in either the Western or Byzantine rite? And if so, when/where did it become included? In my OCA parish, I do not recall ever hearing that story read in either the Gospel reading at Liturgy or in any of the other services.

Three are a number of passages that escape liturgical reading. There is even a separate MS tradition that comprises the Gospels that were only for liturgical reading.

Unless you can show Fathers condemning the passage, you're just not right about its not belonging in the Scriptures for Orthodoxy. But if you want to pursue the textual critical angle (without condemning the Church in the process), maybe if you start a new thread I'll lob some of the very early witnesses at you.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #137 on: July 11, 2014, 06:51:19 PM »
James, stop being obtuse, please.  Look at the forest of Anna's message.

What?

I'm just pointing out that the story in question is absent from the Church for a very long time until I'm not so sure when. And even then, I see no proof or evidence to suggest that it professes truth or was really added by the Church. To be honest, I don't know where that story came from. So isn't it better to be skeptical of it than to accept it when our Church has been silent on it and logical reason tells us it's fishy?

My ecclesiastical Gospel book from Greece says your logical reason is fishy.

I don't think trusting the Church's infallibility and guidance by the Holy Spirit doesn't mean that she can make a mistake in regards to the Bible. The Johannine Comma is also a well known later addition to the epistle and yet the Church accepts that as well.

Define "mistake." And start a new thread.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #138 on: July 11, 2014, 06:52:50 PM »
Well in that case, I'm unsure. But I can tell you that historically this story was absent from the Church for a long time.

Do tell.

Quote
Here's a good question: are there any days of the year where that story is officially read, in either the Western or Byzantine rite? And if so, when/where did it become included? In my OCA parish, I do not recall ever hearing that story read in either the Gospel reading at Liturgy or in any of the other services.

It is a good question.  A cursory review indicates that it is in the ecclesiastical text of the Gospels in the Byzantine rite, but is not appointed to be read in the Lectionary.  It does appear in the traditional Roman Lectionary (and, I presume, the other Western rites) on the Saturday after the Third Sunday of Lent:



As to when it was included, I'd have to look into that.  I suspect it is at least pre-Schism because it appears in the Lenten services, and my understanding is that Roman Lent is rather old.  
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #139 on: July 11, 2014, 06:56:09 PM »
James, stop being obtuse, please.  Look at the forest of Anna's message.

What?

I'm just pointing out that the story in question is absent from the Church for a very long time until I'm not so sure when. And even then, I see no proof or evidence to suggest that it professes truth or was really added by the Church. To be honest, I don't know where that story came from. So isn't it better to be skeptical of it than to accept it when our Church has been silent on it and logical reason tells us it's fishy?

My ecclesiastical Gospel book from Greece says your logical reason is fishy.

I don't think trusting the Church's infallibility and guidance by the Holy Spirit doesn't mean that she can make a mistake in regards to the Bible. The Johannine Comma is also a well known later addition to the epistle and yet the Church accepts that as well.

So then where is the mistake? 
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #140 on: July 11, 2014, 08:53:54 PM »
NM, too many posts behind. It seems you don't think the Church is able to protect the Canon of Scripture then.

The Church has no Canon of Scriptures and still isn't.

Several of the Fathers had different opinions on what was Canon and what wasn't. Even to this day, there is some variance in different jurisdictions. The Ethiopians for example include the book of Enoch into their Canon whereas others don't.

The notion of a Canon isn't very Orthodox.

Point of order: Ethiopians are not Orthodox in the same sense that you and I are.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #141 on: July 11, 2014, 09:04:53 PM »
Not necessarily. 
it would, however, have to be some serious extenuating circumstances.
Could confessing that infidelity do more harm than good?

I don't think so.  If she finds out later and he didn't tell her about it, it will be worse.  The spouse would feel even more betrayed if she wasn't told about it and then found out.

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #142 on: July 11, 2014, 09:08:59 PM »
NM, too many posts behind. It seems you don't think the Church is able to protect the Canon of Scripture then.

The Church has no Canon of Scriptures and still isn't.

Several of the Fathers had different opinions on what was Canon and what wasn't. Even to this day, there is some variance in different jurisdictions. The Ethiopians for example include the book of Enoch into their Canon whereas others don't.

The notion of a Canon isn't very Orthodox.

Point of order: Ethiopians are not Orthodox in the same sense that you and I are.

:-X
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #143 on: July 11, 2014, 10:17:33 PM »
I think concentrating on the gray areas can lead to as much fallacy as looking at the black and white.  The black & white understanding may be immature and unnuanced, but I remember Christ saying something about the Kingdom of Heaven and childlike faith.  Looking for the 512 times that adultery can be justified (because it's less damaging then 'fink abowt da childrenz') does nothing to condemn the offense that led to the possibility of the compounded sin that itself led to divorce, murder, and starving babies.  For laypeople the best advice we can give (after 'thou shalt not commit adultery') is that in most cases the souse should be told.  Trying to hide it reeks of trying to cover one's nakedness before God.  After we have condemned the sin (since we are not talking about a specific instance here, we should be judgmental of the sin as the only condemnation is of the Tempter) we should hope that the priest, acting as an icon of Christ, will use his better judgement in specific instances as Christ did with that specific adulteress. 
Das ist des Jägers Ehrenschild, daß er beschützt und hegt sein Wild, weidmännisch jagt, wie sich’s gehört, den Schöpfer im Geschöpfe ehrt.

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #144 on: July 12, 2014, 11:10:30 AM »
I agree with you, but that wasn't the question that was asked.
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Offline Anna.T

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #145 on: July 12, 2014, 11:41:49 AM »
I think concentrating on the gray areas can lead to as much fallacy as looking at the black and white.  The black & white understanding may be immature and unnuanced, but I remember Christ saying something about the Kingdom of Heaven and childlike faith.  Looking for the 512 times that adultery can be justified (because it's less damaging then 'fink abowt da childrenz') does nothing to condemn the offense that led to the possibility of the compounded sin that itself led to divorce, murder, and starving babies.  For laypeople the best advice we can give (after 'thou shalt not commit adultery') is that in most cases the souse should be told.  Trying to hide it reeks of trying to cover one's nakedness before God.  After we have condemned the sin (since we are not talking about a specific instance here, we should be judgmental of the sin as the only condemnation is of the Tempter) we should hope that the priest, acting as an icon of Christ, will use his better judgement in specific instances as Christ did with that specific adulteress. 

I don't think anyone at all has justified adultery. I agree with your point that adultery is adultery is adultery.

The question seems to boil down to an individual deciding to give up any notion of faith in God (essentially, since all religion is rejected?) - on the basis of the statement that in a very rare case, it might be kinder not to confess the adultery to the offended spouse.

I usually see this kind of argument in a much simpler form - that being something along the lines of "there can be no loving, all-powerful God because evil exists in the world". There's not that much difference between the two mindsets.

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Offline William

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #146 on: July 12, 2014, 12:51:35 PM »
Having taken a cursory look at therapists' recommendations online, it looks like quite a few insist upon disclosure. Of course, they don't hold themselves up as moral authorities like a church does, so they can't be expected to be as forceful as a priest would be. I don't have any sort of statistics about it, but those who urged the necessity of complete honesty as an ethical obligation and as the only real hope of salvaging the relationship seemed to outweigh those who recommended keeping this a secret. So it looks like some secular therapists are more moral than the Orthodox church. I can safely reject the appeal to secular therapy as a proof that my standards are wrong, since some of them clearly agree with me.

Interestingly, I found this statistic that 93% of offended spouses considered disclosure the right thing to do after a period of time: http://www.jenniferschneider.com/articles/surviving_disclosure.html

The above is not surprising, but even if it were just 1% I wouldn't have a different ethical view. People are autonomous and have certain rights in their relationships, rights which are clearly not acknowledged or respected by the Orthodox church. Marriage and family as abstractions, "salvation and healing," "therapy," the belief in the efficacy of religious rituals in atoning for sins - all of these are more important than the people actually involved.

Some of you have made the argument (without proof) that this is only a rare exception. As I have said, this is not negotiable for me anymore than free consent upon entering a marriage is negotiable or can be excepted. But I'll respond to the point anyway. Every single source I have seen either implicitly or explicitly says that the innocent spouse will remain in the dark while the offending party is cleansed via various religious rituals. These sources include the canons, a monograph, several contemporary articles, and some citations from this thread. This is consistent with traditional Orthodox treatment of other sins - remember my earlier example of Elder Porphyrios helping a murderer escape from the police because he had repented. It's also consistent with pastoral treatment in other religious bodies. I've found literally dozens of examples on CAF of people relating how their priest insisted that this be kept a secret, making me suspect that this is the "standard" seminary instruction. Maybe pastoral psychology is similar across religions, and this is standard in Orthodox seminaries, too, and that is why every Orthodox source I've seen on this seems to lean toward nondisclosure?

In short, it does not seem to be an exception. It seems to be the norm. I'm in the middle of doing further research on this point, and it's the main thrust of the thread, so if anyone has anymore information, I'd appreciate it.

The process of realizing that the institution I've held as my primary moral authority for years can allow for something so outrageously immoral on an official level has actually made me physically ill.
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Offline Anna.T

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #147 on: July 12, 2014, 01:12:11 PM »
Several points you bring up, and I will not be able to address them all.

Firstly, if you have canons that state adultery should not be confessed to the offended spouse, I'd like to see them?

Secondly, is one of your complaints that forgiveness is possible without confession/absolution from the offended party? Are you bothered by the fact that God can forgive even if the offended party does not forgive?

Remember that Scripture in general does advise us to go to an offended person and try to reconcile. That IS a Biblical principle.

However, God does not hold our forgiveness hostage to the whims of the other person. If that were true, one could never be forgiven if perhaps someone they had once offended was now dead. Or if they ever offended a particularly bitter person, even in some small way, who then chose to keep the power of unforgiveness over the person.

Thank God He is not limited in this way.

Of course, Scriptures do say that we must forgive others. And God knows us. I'm sure He understands intimately how difficult this can be in certain cases. IMO, it's not about "feeling" forgiveness toward someone, but a conscious choice to put any revenge - or lack of - in God's hands.

Also, you admit this is only a cursory survey of secular therapists' websites. I can almost guarantee you that, if engaged deeply in conversation, most or all of them will in fact admit that there may be certain scenarios which might dictate confession to the offended spouse be withheld.

And if they begin touting the need for confession to the offended spouse as a necessary step for the adulterer's sake in order to absolve their own guilt, please understand that this is the secular world's response to the sacrament of confession and absolution. The sacrament is for the sake of the adulterer. If confessing would damage the one offended, and it is done for the sake of "clearing the conscience" of the one who committed adultery, then what that really amounts to is a selfish act on the part of the adulterer, further damaging the one s/he sinned against, for the sake of their own comfort. Such an act is heinous, in my mind, if damage can truly result.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2014, 01:16:44 PM by Anna.T »
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Offline Anna.T

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #148 on: July 12, 2014, 01:15:22 PM »
Duplicate - sorry
« Last Edit: July 12, 2014, 01:16:17 PM by Anna.T »
Aγιος ὁ Θεός, Ἅγιος ἰσχυρός, Ἅγιος ἀθάνατος, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς

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Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #149 on: July 12, 2014, 01:37:46 PM »
The process of realizing that the institution I've held as my primary moral authority for years can allow for something so outrageously immoral on an official level has actually made me physically ill.
Before you get too sick, where do you get the impression that the Church has EVER taken an "official" position on not recommending an adulterer to confess to the innocent spouse?  Is there ANY teaching you have found ANYWHERE that has sanctioned that as "official"?  Moreover, do you know of ANY priest that has EVER given that advice to an adulterous penitent?

Honestly William, you need to look to an actual priest to get proper perspective on the Church's teachings and stop relying on an internet forum.
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #150 on: July 12, 2014, 02:35:57 PM »
I've seen some therapists claim that if a spouse desires to confess out of self-guilt, they should hold off on confessing and learn how to deal with guilt, not getting rid of it, but learning to live with it.  Otherwise, it becomes a selfish reason to confess.  If you confess because you feel it's the spouse's rights, then it seems fine.  There are a lot of factors that go into cheating.  Some psychologists simply don't recommend it if it's a slip-up, on the basis that there is ultimately more harm than good being done in confessing.  The point is there are varying opinions from therapists depending upon the situation and the mental health of the parties involved.  I suspect also that not every priest will give the same advice.  It's been alluded to you that some priests agree there are a few exceptions to confessing infidelity.  Your problem is that it completely taints your view.

Getting opinions from what spouses believe, which is what you purported to show from your link isn't the same as what therapists believe.  Furthermore, your link is about sex addicts.  Not every infidelity is due to sex addiction.  I can see why with sex addicts, it's more beneficial to confess than to withhold confession, and I would be hard pressed to find any priest that would disagree on that point.

Furthermore, this is telling from you:

Quote
The above is not surprising, but even if it were just 1% I wouldn't have a different ethical view.

This is why the world seems to revolve around you rather than taking an honest approach and jumping to conclusions and judgments.
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Offline William

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #151 on: July 12, 2014, 02:51:08 PM »
Nothing you've said refutes what I've posted. I acknowledged the variety of opinion, which is different from the unanimous front you implied earlier in the thread.

Okay mina, I get it. You do not respect the rights of spouses within a union that is supposed to be based on unconditional trust and honesty. There's no need for the continued, moronic insults.

I'd like to note that so far, in this thread, only mina has seriously attacked the ethical point behind my contention. However, he has not done this with arguments, but by repeatedly issuing pathetic insults and assumptions about me.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2014, 03:01:34 PM by William »
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #152 on: July 12, 2014, 03:01:47 PM »
Of all the reasons I've ever heard to leave a religion, this is the most ridiculous I've ever come across.  ::)
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #153 on: July 12, 2014, 03:04:48 PM »
Nothing you've said refutes what I've posted. I acknowledged the variety of opinion, which is different from the unanimous front you implied earlier in the thread.

Your problem is overgeneralization.  I simply acknowledged that there is no such thing as everyone thinking that you have to confess no matter what (whether religious or non-religious), which is what you hold to.  Your black-and-white approach, mixed in with the fact that you continue to take my stating the obvious as insults only proves to show that you do not want to have an open mind about it.

And then you turn it into me not respecting the rights of spouses.  Okay, call it whatever you like since it makes you feel better about yourself.  I don't know what else I could offer to help you on this regard.  You want help, you need to ask without showing forth your snark against the Church or your pompous and stubborn attitude about it.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2014, 03:07:19 PM by minasoliman »
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #154 on: July 12, 2014, 03:10:32 PM »
I'd like to note that so far, in this thread, only mina has seriously attacked the ethical point behind my contention. However, he has not done this with arguments, but by repeatedly issuing pathetic insults and assumptions about me.
Except that you haven't even been able to demonstrate that the position of the Church is that infidelity does not need to be confessed to the innocent spouse. You have invented a non-existent problem and decided to leave the Church over it. You might as well leave the Church because it sanctions arranged marriage.
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #155 on: July 12, 2014, 03:54:54 PM »
William,

I may be wrong, but I get the feeling that some people in this discussion are interacting with you as if they're trying to talk you back from a precipice and save you from going over.  Personally, I don't care.  That doesn't mean I don't care about you, but I believe you have the right to make this issue (whatever "this issue" is, because I'm not sure you're even sure) the reason why you walk away from whatever it is you're walking away from--OCNet, Orthodoxy, Jesus Christ, religion as a whole, etc. 

That said, some thoughts. 

It seems clear to me that you don't have enough information at your disposal, at least not at this moment, nor do you have the context to understand it.  That's not a "You're too young" or "You're not married" criticism (though that may be relevant).  It's a "Mor thinks you ought to take things one step at a time and not make yourself physically ill over stuff that requires some time and effort to understand well" suggestion.  If you want/need to put off converting indefinitely to do so, go right ahead.   

Having taken a cursory look at therapists' recommendations online, it looks like quite a few insist upon disclosure. Of course, they don't hold themselves up as moral authorities like a church does, so they can't be expected to be as forceful as a priest would be. I don't have any sort of statistics about it, but those who urged the necessity of complete honesty as an ethical obligation and as the only real hope of salvaging the relationship seemed to outweigh those who recommended keeping this a secret. So it looks like some secular therapists are more moral than the Orthodox church. I can safely reject the appeal to secular therapy as a proof that my standards are wrong, since some of them clearly agree with me.

Interestingly, I found this statistic that 93% of offended spouses considered disclosure the right thing to do after a period of time: http://www.jenniferschneider.com/articles/surviving_disclosure.html

When you pose the superior morality of secular therapists against that of the Church, I think you're making a false comparison.  Feel free to correct me if you know better, but "secular therapy" as a discipline is fairly young and almost entirely "Western".  I don't reject it for those reasons (I've studied under practitioners and also have benefited from their services), but it is what it is.  Western culture informs it, and it in turn informs the culture.  So if your morality and mine lines up with what they recommend, I wouldn't say that's because that is the only right way of doing things and something else is not.  It is not necessarily like that.

Much of the Church's "sources" for how to deal with these issues derive from another time and another type of culture, one which is foreign to those in the West unless they're a particular type of cradle or know them well enough.  I'm not sure how well read you are in the sources, but it doesn't sound like you're very familiar with them.  If you were, you would realise that the presuppositions are quite different from those in the contemporary West.  If you come from or have been thoroughly exposed to a traditional Eastern culture (as I am/have been), the presuppositions and recommendations you find in the canons and other sources (which are already nuanced) make more sense (i.e., you understand how they got to where they did).  Again, it's not the only right way of doing things, but it is what it is. 

What we see in the canons is the way the Church has tried to apply the gospel to particular situations involving real people in a particular time and place.  Like all canons, there are universal principles which are applied locally, and the results can look different depending on the where, when, whom, etc.  The way you're supposed to use the canons is to take those universals and apply them to the situation in front of you, which requires you not only to know what the universals are, but also what the situation in front of you is.  You need to know a lot about all angles before you can begin to try and move forward with a plan.  It's not so simple as to say "St John the Persian instructed penitents to shut up about it and move on, so that's what we must do" because you can also find secular therapy precedents for doing something in situation X that would totally not work in a different context even though you're still dealing with an instance of situation X. 

Quote
The above is not surprising, but even if it were just 1% I wouldn't have a different ethical view. People are autonomous and have certain rights in their relationships, rights which are clearly not acknowledged or respected by the Orthodox church. Marriage and family as abstractions, "salvation and healing," "therapy," the belief in the efficacy of religious rituals in atoning for sins - all of these are more important than the people actually involved.

Not at all.  I just think you have a limited notion of who the people involved actually are.  That limitation is itself Western.  Maybe that's how you are, that's how you live your life, and you will find someone to marry who has similar values.  And may God bless you never to have to confront this problem, but if you do, maybe you'll deal with it according to those values without hesitation.  But that doesn't mean it's the right thing for everyone else (or even for everyone involved in your life).  We are not all William. 

Quote
Some of you have made the argument (without proof) that this is only a rare exception. As I have said, this is not negotiable for me anymore than free consent upon entering a marriage is negotiable or can be excepted. But I'll respond to the point anyway. Every single source I have seen either implicitly or explicitly says that the innocent spouse will remain in the dark while the offending party is cleansed via various religious rituals. These sources include the canons, a monograph, several contemporary articles, and some citations from this thread. This is consistent with traditional Orthodox treatment of other sins - remember my earlier example of Elder Porphyrios helping a murderer escape from the police because he had repented.

Since "proof" is important, you go first.  Cite your sources.  I would like to know what you are reading (and therefore what you may not be reading) that is leading you to your conclusions.   

Quote
It's also consistent with pastoral treatment in other religious bodies. I've found literally dozens of examples on CAF of people relating how their priest insisted that this be kept a secret, making me suspect that this is the "standard" seminary instruction. Maybe pastoral psychology is similar across religions, and this is standard in Orthodox seminaries, too, and that is why every Orthodox source I've seen on this seems to lean toward nondisclosure?

I don't know about RC seminaries and the priestly training that goes on there, but I have enough experience with Orthodox seminaries to disabuse you of some of your ignorance.  I don't recall ever hearing in my classes "If situation X presents itself, it must be kept a secret at all costs", but neither did I hear "If situation X presents itself, it must always and everywhere be revealed no matter what".  Instead, we discussed all the different things that need to be considered, from an ecclesiastical perspective, a human perspective, a therapeutic perspective, etc., and how the issue might be addressed, with an emphasis on seeking advice from experienced priests (and bishops), therapists, and others to help inform the priest's discernment. 

And as I think Mina said above, secular therapy is like this as well.  You can find a website blurb that summarises an issue, but if you talk to professionals in detail, you will learn that even they are not so black and white as their blurbs might indicate.  I know from my own discussions with such professionals that their opinions on how to tackle an issue can and do change if they are given sufficient understanding of something as simple as ethnic and cultural differences: for example, the advice they give a Canadian couple will be different from that given to a Pakistani couple if they are sufficiently aware of the different cultural and religious dynamics that are at play.  That's not moral relativism, that's the recognition that people are people and are more complex than even William can fully understand. 

By all means, keep reading and studying this issue, and talk to people who actually have to do this in real life.  But keep an open mind.  You seem to have already decided that you feel a certain way and that will never change, and that's just foolishness.  Keep an open mind and let life confirm your beliefs for you.  Or let it challenge your presuppositions.  But deciding that you know better than everyone else about something other than you is just plain stupid.     
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Re: Does infidelity need to be confessed to the innocent spouse?
« Reply #156 on: July 13, 2014, 01:35:30 AM »
I heard a story once about a husband who was cheating on his wife for many years but repented on his death bed.  She sat next to him as he lay dying holding his hand and he was overwhelmed with guilt.  He looked into her eyes and told her he loved her but he had to admit his crime to her.  She told him to be quiet, that whatever it was she forgave him and loved him as much as she always had.  He tells her that he just cannot go with this still on his conscience, but again she tells him that all is forgiven.  Finally he just blurts out that he'd been boffing the neighbor's wife for the past few years.  She tells him that she knew and forgave him.  He is incredulous, and asked her how long she knew.  She said that she saw them a few days ago through the window, and that is why she decided to poison him.

Moral of the story is, don't cheat on your spouse. 


As for what the priest should do, I would hope that he would at least withhold communion until the spouse admitted their crime.

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