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Author Topic: Catholic and Orthodox teachings of divorce and remarriage  (Read 2032 times) Average Rating: 0
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #90 on: April 06, 2014, 09:33:10 PM »


When did the Catholic Church and Orthodox Church diverge on the teaching regarding divorce and re-marriage?  The Catholics interpret scripture in a way that nullifies the passage where adultery is mentioned as an exception "Whoever divorces his wife apart from adultery and will take another, commits adultery" Matthew 19:9.

I am trying to figure out when and where the different interpretations came from. What was the teaching originally regarding divorce when the Catholics and Orthodox were the same Church?

This is the Catholic answer

Quote
Let us recall first of all that Matthew's audience was mainly Jews, and only Matthew's Gospel has this exception clause.

The word "adultery" is not what Jesus said, although many Bible translations use this word. If Jesus intended to say adultery, he would have used the word moicheia, meaning "adultery," but instead he used the word porneia, meaning illicit or invalid.

His audience, the Jews, knew exactly what Jesus meant. Leviticus 18:6-16 list marriages that are illegal for Jews because they are between certain degrees of consanguinity or were with a Gentile, which was forbidden. The Jews knew this, and this is why Matthew's Gospel includes this exception. The Catholic Church does follow what Jesus says, when his words are properly translate

Seeing that we're on the Convert Issues board, I think it wise to focus on answering the OP's questions and not let ourselves get carried away into nothing more than a discussion of various opinions on how the Church should handle divorce and remarriage. There are other threads on other boards where that may be appropriate, but I think it too broad a subject for this Convert Issues thread.

The OP asked specifically when the Roman and Orthodox Churches diverged in their teachings on divorce and remarriage. He has also asserted specifically his belief that Roman practice is a deviation from the statutes of the Gospel while Orthodox practice is not. I have tried to focus my replies on these questions. I hope you will all follow my lead and do the same.

Thanks.
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michaeltn
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« Reply #91 on: April 07, 2014, 08:02:54 AM »

Regarding Matthew 19, again I am not reading it the same way as others here. Christ offers an exception at the beginning of the passage, except for sexual immorality you may not divorce.

That exception applies to the whole passage. If you marry a divorced woman you commit adultery. Yes but only IF the divorce was not due to sexual immorality by her husband. If she left the marriage due to her husband not being faithful then her divorce is lawful and would not prevent her from marrying again.

Christ first establishes the fact that you may divorce due to sexual immorality of your spouse, as an exception to the rest of passage.  

The rest of the passage deals with explaining how marrying someone who was divorced is also adultery. Divorcing your wife causes her to commit adultery etc. This is an explanation of the various circumstances of adultery outside of the exception he already established.

The party that was wronged in a marriage by their partner's adultery may divorce and is not subject to the rest of the passage which deals with remarrying people who do not qualify for this exception. If a man divorces an adulterous wife, whoever marries this adulterous wife is also an adulterer, she is not free to marry again and nobody if free to marry her. However in the case of the man here, Christ said that he may divorce because of his wife' sexual immorality. There is nothing that I see preventing him from being able to marry again, the exception Christ provided applies to him. He just may not marry a guilty divorced woman.







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Thomas
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« Reply #92 on: April 07, 2014, 09:23:59 AM »

In accordance with Church Canon Law, an Ecclesiastical Divorce is granted only under certain circumstances .  A review of guidance from the various jurisdictions in the United States indicate the following as valid reasons to grant an ecclesiastical divorce:
1.   When a marriage is entered into by force, blackmail or false reasons.
2.   When one or both parties is guilty of adultery.
3.   When one party is proven to be mad, insane or suffers from a social disease which was not disclosed to the spouse prior to the marriage.
4.   When one party has physically assaulted the spouse or conspired against the life of the spouse.
5.   When one party is imprisoned for more than seven years.
6.   When one party abandons the other for more than three years without approval.
7.   When one partner should be absent from home without the other's approval, except in in stances when the latter is assured that such absence is due to psycho-neurotic illness.
8.   When one partner forces the other to engage in illicit affairs with others.
9.   When one partner does not fulfill the responsibilities of marriage, or when it is medically proven that one party is physically impotent or as the result of a social venereal disease.
10.   When one partner is an addict, thereby creating undue economic hardship.

There is one other reason for granting an ecclesiastical divorce, when a couple chooses to separate due to love of the Lord and their desire to mutually enter into the angelic life of the monastic.  This reason is used when a married clergy is called to become a Bishop and must set aside his wife. In this case both must willingly enter the angelic life.

My parish priest summed it up quite succinctly when he state thatthe 10 reasons for divorce (other than the monastic life) all have to do with  forms of adultery be it with another person or due to a substance in which the other partner loves something more than their spouse, i.e. basically an form of adultery.

Thomas
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #93 on: April 07, 2014, 02:42:10 PM »

Regarding Matthew 19, again I am not reading it the same way as others here.
And in so doing, I think you're ignoring the fact that, even according to Thomas's list above, the Orthodox Church will grant divorces for reasons other than sexual immorality and will allow a man to marry a woman who has divorced her previous husband for reasons other than sexual immorality. If you're going to be truly honest with yourself, I think you're going to have to come to grips with the fact that we Orthodox have deviated just as much from Christ's teaching on divorce and remarriage just as much as you accuse the Roman church of doing, and that your complaint that the Roman church has deviated while we Orthodox have not is based on falsehood. I'm not trying to denigrate our Orthodox Church or praise the Roman Catholic Church. I just want you to make sure that if you convert to Orthodoxy, you do so for honest reasons and not because you're fleeing a boogeyman of your own creation.

Christ offers an exception at the beginning of the passage, except for sexual immorality you may not divorce.

That exception applies to the whole passage. If you marry a divorced woman you commit adultery. Yes but only IF the divorce was not due to sexual immorality by her husband. If she left the marriage due to her husband not being faithful then her divorce is lawful and would not prevent her from marrying again.
And yet the Orthodox Church will allow for divorce and remarriage even in cases where sexual immorality is NOT a reason for the divorce.
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« Reply #94 on: April 07, 2014, 05:16:27 PM »

Regarding Matthew 19, again I am not reading it the same way as others here.
And in so doing, I think you're ignoring the fact that, even according to Thomas's list above, the Orthodox Church will grant divorces for reasons other than sexual immorality and will allow a man to marry a woman who has divorced her previous husband for reasons other than sexual immorality. If you're going to be truly honest with yourself, I think you're going to have to come to grips with the fact that we Orthodox have deviated just as much from Christ's teaching on divorce and remarriage just as much as you accuse the Roman church of doing, and that your complaint that the Roman church has deviated while we Orthodox have not is based on falsehood. I'm not trying to denigrate our Orthodox Church or praise the Roman Catholic Church. I just want you to make sure that if you convert to Orthodoxy, you do so for honest reasons and not because you're fleeing a boogeyman of your own creation.

Christ offers an exception at the beginning of the passage, except for sexual immorality you may not divorce.

That exception applies to the whole passage. If you marry a divorced woman you commit adultery. Yes but only IF the divorce was not due to sexual immorality by her husband. If she left the marriage due to her husband not being faithful then her divorce is lawful and would not prevent her from marrying again.
And yet the Orthodox Church will allow for divorce and remarriage even in cases where sexual immorality is NOT a reason for the divorce.

I understand, it is not so much that I looking for who diverged the most from Christ's original teaching, just who would leave it the most intact. The Orthodox take a pastoral approach that allows for the possibility of re-marraige after being a victim of adultery. Therefore Christ's teaching is still the mostly intact. The Catholics refuse to allow you remarry (at least officially) due to this, annulments are a crap shoot and officially adultery is not a valid reason.  I think this denies Christ's promise to those who are victims of adultery. It makes them more of a victim by subjecting them to indefinite celibacy, due to no fault of their own. It seems punitive. 











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« Reply #95 on: April 07, 2014, 05:24:55 PM »

I understand, it is not so much that I looking for who diverged the most from Christ's original teaching, just who would leave it the most intact. The Orthodox take a pastoral approach that allows for the possibility of re-marraige after being a victim of adultery. Therefore Christ's teaching is still the mostly intact. The Catholics refuse to allow you remarry (at least officially) due to this, annulments are a crap shoot and officially adultery is not a valid reason.  I think this denies Christ's promise to those who are victims of adultery. It makes them more of a victim by subjecting them to indefinite celibacy, due to no fault of their own. It seems punitive. 

I suspect Peter is making his point in the way he's making it for a particular reason, and not because he genuinely believes that the Orthodox Church has deviated from Christ's teaching (if I'm wrong, and he believes it as he's written it, I suppose I'll need to take that up with him in a new thread Tongue). 

Anyway, I think you need to be careful about considering this issue exclusively in terms of Matthew 5.  The parallel passages in Mark and Luke do not contain the "sexual immorality" clause, and I've had RC's tell me silly things like "two Gospels trump one" or "Mark is the oldest, and he prohibits divorce with no exceptions", etc.  There is a danger in trying to reduce a complex matter to one or two main points: sometimes, it's complex for a reason. 
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« Reply #96 on: April 07, 2014, 05:53:49 PM »

BTW, Mor, I realize the Copts seem to follow the Matthew reading much more strictly and aren't nearly as liberal about divorce or remarriage as Byzantines, but how are the rest of the OO's about this topic? And is the divorce actually divorce or just saying the sacrament never took place (i.e. Catholic annulment)?
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« Reply #97 on: April 07, 2014, 06:22:05 PM »

BTW, Mor, I realize the Copts seem to follow the Matthew reading much more strictly and aren't nearly as liberal about divorce or remarriage as Byzantines, but how are the rest of the OO's about this topic?

All situations are dealt with case-by-case, so it's hard to generalise.  I don't like to use the word "liberal" because of its connotations, but I think the non-African Churches are more lenient in terms of how to apply the Matthean exception.   

Quote
And is the divorce actually divorce or just saying the sacrament never took place (i.e. Catholic annulment)?

If there is a legitimate reason to grant an annulment, I suppose a declaration of nullity could be granted, but in nine out of ten cases, it wouldn't make much of a practical difference.  Usually, there's no cause for doubting the validity of the marriage, so the divorce is a divorce. 
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« Reply #98 on: April 07, 2014, 06:28:01 PM »

BTW, Mor, I realize the Copts seem to follow the Matthew reading much more strictly and aren't nearly as liberal about divorce or remarriage as Byzantines, but how are the rest of the OO's about this topic?

All situations are dealt with case-by-case, so it's hard to generalise.  I don't like to use the word "liberal" because of its connotations, but I think the non-African Churches are more lenient in terms of how to apply the Matthean exception.

Thanks. Also, I didn't mean "liberal" negatively, but in terms of looser or more expansive application.

Quote
If there is a legitimate reason to grant an annulment, I suppose a declaration of nullity could be granted, but in nine out of ten cases, it wouldn't make much of a practical difference.  Usually, there's no cause for doubting the validity of the marriage, so the divorce is a divorce.  

Alright, makes sense.
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« Reply #99 on: April 08, 2014, 09:39:58 AM »

Would the Orthodox Church recognize my marriage if I converted? I Am Catholic and my wife is Jewish.
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« Reply #100 on: April 08, 2014, 11:17:20 AM »

Would the Orthodox Church recognize my marriage if I converted? I Am Catholic and my wife is Jewish.

I may be wrong, but I believe that we could receive a convert who is not married to a Christian. I would have to ask the Bishop, but I am sure that we would treat it just the same way we would if a man or woman converts, but their spouse does not. Yes. Obviously we could not give Communion to your wife unless she coverted. We could not give an Orthodox blessing to a marriage between an Orthodox Christian and a non-Christian, but if someone who is married to a non-Christian converts the I believe that the situation is different.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #101 on: April 08, 2014, 11:26:50 AM »

Great, I am pretty sure that I want to start the process and visit a parish and then possibly become a catechumen, under the priest's guidance. I can not stay in the Catholic Church and I very much have a positive view on the Orthodox Church, their doctrines and practices. I don't expect the Orthodox Church to be perfect but it better represents the ancient Church and traditions while the Catholic Church has become rotten with modernism and secular ideas.
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« Reply #102 on: April 08, 2014, 11:45:43 AM »

Great, I am pretty sure that I want to start the process and visit a parish and then possibly become a catechumen, under the priest's guidance. I can not stay in the Catholic Church and I very much have a positive view on the Orthodox Church, their doctrines and practices. I don't expect the Orthodox Church to be perfect but it better represents the ancient Church and traditions while the Catholic Church has become rotten with modernism and secular ideas.

The Orthodox Church is perfect. The problem is that it is made up of imperfect people. If we were all perfect, we would not need a Church or a Savior. 

With Blessings


Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #103 on: April 08, 2014, 12:06:11 PM »

I think I have always been drawn to Orthodoxy. From a young age I was  fascinated with the beauty of byzantine art and icons. It may not seem like much in itself but it could be some sort of sign, however small. I also don't regret my experiences as a Catholic it is part of what led me here, part of the journey.
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« Reply #104 on: Today at 01:28:09 PM »

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