Christian Marriage, Weddings and Divorce

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CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE

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Marriage of Joseph and Mary
by Sposalizio della Vergine
The Judea-Christian-Islamic tradition places great significance on marriage and give it high symbolic value. Marriage is not meant to be taken lightly and breaking up a marriage is regarded as something that must be avoided at all costs. By contrast in some societies (mostly small isolated communities) men and men simply live together, and no great fanfare is made about their union.

The New Testament take on marriage is not much better. Jesus never married and preached against worldly attachments. Paul saw it as a last resort. In Corinthians I VII, 2 he wrote: “Nevertheless to avoid fornication, let each man have his own wife, and to let woman have her own husband, for it is better to marry than to burn.” Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:25-19: “Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her...For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does.”

Christian matrimony is regarded as a union between Christ and his Church. In Epistles 5:32, St. Paul wrote: “This mystery has great significance, but I am applying it to Christ and the Church.” This aspect of marriage is represented with the couple exchanging vows before God in a church, with the priest blessing them in his role as a sacramental witness, at least with Catholics, according to ancient rules codified in the 16th century by the Council of Trent. When the couple says “I do” they promise to fulfill their end of the bargain in viewing of marriage as a sacrament.

Marriage is regarded by Catholics, Orthodox Christians and some other Christian groups as a sacrament which involves three parties: the bride, groom and Jesus. Couples married and blessed in a church declare their commitment to a life long relationship which is ordained by God and regarded as insoluble and can only be broken under special circumstances.

Christians have traditionally believed that sex is something that can only can be done as part of marriage. Sexual relation is regarded as an ultimate expression of love that is confirmed through public vows during a wedding ceremony.

In 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 Paul wrote: “To the unmarried and the widows I say it is well for them to remain unmarried as I am. But if they are not practicing self control, they should marry. It is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.”

According to the BBC: Christians believe that marriage is a gift from God, one that should not be taken for granted. It is the right atmosphere to engage in sexual relations and to build a family life. Getting married in a church, in front of God, is very important. A marriage is a public declaration of love and commitment. This declaration is made in front of friends and family in a church ceremony. [Source: BBC |::|]

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Orthodox wedding
“Marriage vows, in the form "To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part", have been recited at UK church weddings since 1552. But before the wedding service was written into the Book of Common Prayer, marriages were much more informal: couples could simply promise themselves to one another at any time or place and the spoken word was as good as the written contract. |::|

“If you choose to get married in church, there is an added dimension - the assurance that God cares about your relationship and that His resources and strength are available to help you. Including God in your marriage doesn't mean that you will avoid all the usual ups and downs, but you will know that you can look to God for help and guidance and that His love will sustain you. You will also have the support of the Christian Church family. |::|

Websites and Resources: Christianity Britannica on Christianity britannica.com//Christianity ; History of Christianity history-world.org/jesus_christ ; BBC on Christianity bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity ;Wikipedia article on Christianity Wikipedia ; Religious Tolerance religioustolerance.org/christ.htm ; Christian Answers christiananswers.net ; Christian Classics Ethereal Library www.ccel.org ; Bible: Bible Gateway and the New International Version (NIV) of The Bible biblegateway.com ; King James Version of the Bible gutenberg.org/ebooks

Paul on Marriage

Paul wrote in First Corinthians: Chapter 7: 1 Now concerning the matters about which you wrote. It is well for a man not to touch a woman. 2 But because of the temptation to immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 For the wife does not rule over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not rule over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not refuse one another except perhaps by agreement for a season, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, lest Satan tempt you through lack of self-control. 6 I say this by way of concession, not of command. 7 I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own special gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. [Source: Revised Standard Version]


Paul

“8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do. 9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion. 10 To the married I give charge, not I but the Lord, that the wife should not separate from her husband 11(but if she does, let her remain single or else be reconciled to her husband) --and that the husband should not divorce his wife.

“12 To the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving partner desires to separate, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. For God has called us to peace. 16 Wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband? Husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife?

Paul on the Unmarried and Widowed

Paul wrote in First Corinthians: Chaper 7: 25 Now concerning the unmarried, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. 26 I think that in view of the present distress it is well for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage. 28 But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a girl marries she does not sin. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29 I mean, brethren, the appointed time has grown very short; from now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the form of this world is passing away [Source: Revised Standard Version]


Roman family

“32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; 33 but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord

“36 If any one thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry--it is no sin. 37 But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. 38 So that he who marries his betrothed does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better. 39 A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. If the husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 But in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I have the Spirit of God

Paul on Sexual Immorality

Paul wrote in First Corinthians: Chapter 5: “1 It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father's wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. [Source: Revised Standard Version]

“3 For though absent in body I am present in spirit, and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment 4 in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. When you are assembled, and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.


original sin

“6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

“9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with immoral men; 10 not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But rather I wrote to you not to associate with any one who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber — not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. "Drive out the wicked person from among you."

Sex and St Augustine's Theory on Original Sin

According to the BBC: “St Augustine, who largely devised the theory of original sin, thought that original sin was transmitted from generation to generation through sexual intercourse. Augustine did not say exactly how this happened. He said that it was transmitted by "concupiscence", when people had sex and conceived a child.Concupiscence is a technical theological word that Augustine used to refer to sexual desire as something bad in the soul that was inseparable from normal human sexual impulses. [Source: September 17, 2009 BBC |::|]

“Sexual desire was bad, he taught, because it could totally overwhelm those caught up in it, depriving them of self-control and rational thought. This disapproving view of passion was quite common among Christians of Augustine's time. Augustine thought that concupiscence was present in all sexual intercourse. He thought that it was just as bad and uncontrolled in a marriage as it was in non-marital sex, but that an excuse could be made for it within marriage because its purpose was to produce legitimate children. |::|

“This bad element in sex provides the means by which original sin is transmitted from father to child. It transmits both humanity's guilt for Adam's crime and the sickness or defect that gives human beings a sinful nature. ...whenever it comes to the actual process of generation, the very embrace which is lawful and honourable cannot be effected without the ardour of lust.... [This lust] is the daughter of sin, as it were; and whenever it yields assent to the commission of shameful deeds, it becomes also the mother of many sins. Now from this concupiscence whatever comes into being by natural birth is bound by original sin... — Augustine, De bono coniugali |::|

Catholic Marriage


Marriage of Louis of France

Official Catholic doctrine regarding marriage: “1639 The consent by which the spouses mutually give and receive one another is sealed by God himself. From their covenant arises "an institution, confirmed by the divine law. . . even in the eyes of society." The covenant between the spouses is integrated into God's covenant with man: "Authentic married love is caught up into divine love."

“1640 Thus the marriage bond has been established by God himself in such a way that a marriage concluded and consummated between baptised persons can never be dissolved. This bond, which results from the free human act of the spouses and their consummation of the marriage, is a reality, henceforth irrevocable, and gives rise to a covenant guaranteed by God's fidelity. The Church does not have the power to contravene this disposition of divine wisdom. — Catechism of the Catholic Church

A catechism is a summary of the principles of Christian religion in the form of questions and answers, used for the instruction of Christians.

Catholic Teaching on Marriage to Non-Catholics

According to the BBC: “The Catechism of the Catholic Church recognises that mixed marriages can pose difficulties but it also points towards the importance of growing together through dialogue and a common faith in Jesus Christ.

“1636: Through ecumenical dialogue Christian communities in many regions have been able to put into effect a common pastoral practice for mixed marriages. Its task is to help such couples live out their particular situation in the light of faith, overcome the tensions between the couple's obligations to each other and towards their ecclesial communities, and encourage the flowering of what is common to them in faith and respect for what separates them.” — Catechism of the Catholic Church

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Wedding of Louis XIII and Ana de Austria
The Catechism also makes a distinction between a mixed marriage and a marriage with 'disparity of cult' (a marriage between a Catholic and non-baptised person). Priests are required by the Church to ensure that such marriages will not endanger the faith of the Catholic partner. In practice, priests will judge each situation on a case by case basis. If difficulties arise, it is the pastoral duty of the priest to raise questions and initiate a frank discussion with the couple. He would use the same logic as any other situation in life where the faith of a Catholic could be in jeopardy. While the Church urges caution in the case of marriages between Catholics and non-Catholics, it does not prevent a Catholic from marrying the person of their choice. |::|

“The Catechism of the Catholic Church sets out the position: 1633 In many countries the situation of a mixed marriage (marriage between a Catholic and a baptised non-Catholic) often arises. It requires particular attention on the part of couples and their pastors. A case of marriage with disparity of cult (between a Catholic and non-baptised person) requires even greater circumspection. |::|

“1634 Difference of confession between the spouses does not constitute an insurmountable obstacle for marriage, when they succeed in placing in common what they have received from their respective communities, and learn from each other the way in which each lives in fidelity to Christ. But the difficulties of mixed marriages must not be underestimated. They arise from that fact that the separation of Christians has not yet been overcome. The spouses risk experiencing the tragedy of Christian disunity even in the heart of their own home. Disparity of cult can further aggravate these difficulties. Differences about faith and the very notion of marriage, but also different religious mentalities, can become sources of tension in marriage, especially as regards the education of children. The temptation to religious indifference can then arise. |::|

Before the Wedding

According to the BBC: “Before the ceremony, there are several things the couple must do. Firstly, they must arrange to have their banns (a public announcement of a forthcoming marriage) read out on three Sundays during the three months before the wedding. They must be read out in the parishes of both people. If the banns cannot be read out for any reason, a special licence can be issued by the bishop of the diocese. [Source: BBC |::|]


Saint Monica and Saint Augustine

“Secondly, the couple must speak to the priest about hymns and prayers they may want on the day. Many couples want to include extra touches, such as flower arrangements or musicians. Some churches offer marriage preparation, where the priest will discuss subjects such as money, conflict, communication and sex. This throws up possible problems which the couple may come across during their marriage, and helps suggest ideas for handling them. |::|

Among Catholics:“Before a marriage takes place, a couple must spend time with the priest to talk about the sanctity of marriage and their role within the church in preparation for their life together. Questions concerning family and children, money issues, lifestyle choices and religion will be asked. “These marriage preparations are known as pre-Cana. It is an educational and maturing process for married life. Pre-Cana can take place over six months or an intensive weekend course and is mandatory for Catholics wishing to get married. |::|

“Whilst a couple is engaged but not yet married, they are expected to refrain from sexual activity: "They should reserve for marriage the expressions of affection that belong to married love". This is because the Church teaches that sex is part of the procreation process and should only happen within the right framework, which is marriage.” |::|

Christian Wedding

Most Christian weddings are held in a church and are generally not held during Holy Week. They can vary from expensive elaborate affairs to simple ceremonies and usually what defines a wedding is not tradition or custom but what the wedding parties want and how much they are willing to spend. Western weddings are often preceded the night before by a rehearsal followed by a dinner in which the family of groom pays. The family of the bride typically pays for the wedding.

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Catholic wedding
Catholic wedding ceremonies are presided over by priests. Protestant ones are presided over by ministers. Brides promise to obey their husbands although the word obey is often omitted. The wedding vow is sealed when the bride and groom each say “I do.” The life-long commitment is expressed by the words “until death do us part.”

According to the BBC: “There are two types of Catholic marriage ceremony. One is with Mass and celebrates the Eucharist, which lasts for about an hour. The other is without Mass and only takes about 20 minutes. In a wedding without Mass, the Liturgy of the Eucharist is missed out. [Source: BBC |::|]

“The ceremony including Mass is as follows: 1) Entrance rite: there is a procession, which may include a hymn. The priest greets the congregation then the Penitential rite and opening prayers are said. 2) Liturgy of the Word: Bible readings, one from the Old Testament, a responsorial psalm, a New Testament reading, a Gospel acclamation, a Gospel reading and a homily (a practical sermon, not a theological one) 3) The rite of marriage: questions are asked about the couples' faithfulness to one another and their willingness to bring up children. Then the vows are made and the rings are exchanged. 4) Liturgy of the Eucharist: gifts are presented and the altar is prepared. Then the Eucharist prayer is said. Then the following are sung: Sanctus Sanctus, Memorial acclamation and Great Amen. 5) Communion rite: The Lord's Prayer is said which is followed by a nuptial blessing. Then follows the Sign of Peace, Agnus Dei and Communion Hymn (sung). 6) Concluding rite: The final blessing is made, there is a dismissal and the couple kiss. There is a recessional hymn which accompanies everyone out of the church." |::|

Wedding Ceremony

“The ceremony itself has a fairly uniform order: 1) Beginning the service: the priest welcomes the congregation and then reads out what Christians believe in marriage. 2) Declarations: the couple make their promises in front of God that they will love, comfort, honour and protect their partner as long as they both shall live. 3) Vows: The couple then make their vows to one another. |::|

Vows: “to have and to hold
from this day forward;
for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish,
till death do us part” |::|


Traditional "I Do" Vows: “[Groom’s name], do you take [Bride’s name] to be your wedded wife, to live together in marriage? Do you promise to love her, comfort her, honor and keep her for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, and forsaking all others, be faithful only to her, for as long as you both shall live?” — I do. — [Bride’s name], do you take [Groom’s name] to be your wedded husband to live together in marriage? Do you promise to love him, comfort him, honor and keep him for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health and forsaking all others, be faithful only to him so long as you both shall live? — I do.

Rings: The couple exchange rings and say:
With my body I honour you,
all that I am I give to you,
and all that I have I share with you,
within the love of God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit. |::|

4) Proclamation: the priest tells the couple that they are now husband and wife. 5) Prayers: prayers are said for the couple. They may include a prayer for the gift of children, but this is optional.
Readings and sermon: there will be some readings from the Bible and the minister gives a sermon. 6) Signing of the register: the bride and groom, along with two witnesses, sign the register, which is a legal requirement. They receive a legally binding marriage certificate.

Christian Wedding Traditions

Bridal veils and white wedding dresses date back to ancient times. White has traditionally been the color for brides because white has been the traditional symbol of purity and sexual innocence. White is linked with a number of Christian rituals. It is worn at christening, first Communions, confirmation and finally as a funeral shroud. In Biblical times wedding dresses were often blue because blue was the symbol of purity. Women who marry a second time after a divorce or death are encouraged to wear a colored dress.


Roman wedding

Many Roman wedding customs were adopted by early Christians and were passed down over the centuries and are still featured in modern weddings today. The custom of June wedding is linked to Juno, the goddess of marriage and childbirth, after which the month of June is named. The expression "tying the knot" dates back to Roman times when the bride wore a girdle secured by a knot and the groom untied it.

A Roman man received the "the hand" of his bride as a symbol of her innermost self and the touching of hands symbolized the union of hearts. Roman wedding dresses were usually yellow.

The tradition of carrying the bride across the threshold began with the Romans. The groom first went into the house to light the hearth while the bride smeared oil and grease around the doorway as a sign of good luck. To ensure that the bride wouldn't do anything like stumble, bringing bad luck to the house, she was carried into the house left foot first. The only difference between the way the Roman's did it and the way we do it today is that slaves carried her into the house not her husband.**

The idea of a honeymoon evolved in early Christian Scandinavia, where brides were often kidnapped and the grooms took them to a far away place until the bride's family gave up their search for them. The term honeymoon is derived from the drinking of honey wine called mead.

The bride walks down the aisle to the “Bridal Chorus” from Richard Wagner's 1849 opera “Lohengrin”. The couples walks out to the “Wedding March” from Felix' Mendelssohn's 1826 “A Midsummer Night's Dream”. The custom dates back to 1858, when these musical pieces were played at the royal wedding of Victoria, the daughter of Queen Victoria of England, and Prince Frederick William of Prussia. The bride, who loved Wagner and Mendelssohn, picked the music herself.

Christian Wedding Rings, Stag Parties and Bridal Showers

Although Egyptians may have worn wedding rings, Greeks came up with idea of the ring finger and Romans popularized the custom of wearing a wedding ring. At Roman weddings, rings were placed on a finger on the bride’s left hand. There is some debate as to whether the ring was placed on the middle finger or the ring finger. In any case Romans believed a nerve ran from that finger to the heart.

The historian Aulus Gelliu explained: "When the human body is cut open as the Egyptians did and when dissections...are practiced on it, a very delicate nerve is found which starts from the finger and travels to the heart. It is therefore, thought seemingly to give to this finger in preference to all others the honor of the ring, on account of the loose connection which links it with the principal organ."


Roman wedding ring

Gold wedding rings were highly prized by the Romans. One Christian chronicler wrote in the 2nd century A.D. wrote: "most women know nothing of gold except the single marriage ring placed on one finger." Many Roman women wore gold rings in public and iron ones at home. Diamond wedding rings appeared in Rome in A.D. the 3rd century. Engagements were sealed with an iron ring.

The world's first known stag parties were held by the Spartans. The night before his wedding day a Spartan grooms was given a feast by his friends and comrades the night. There was no doubt sing, drinking and lewd jokes. The ritual marked the end of bachelorhood and was seen as a promise by the groom to his comrades he would remain loyal to them and not leave them.

While stag parties date back t the Spartans the term "bridal shower" is relatively new. It was first used in the 1890s. It was a party held for newly engaged fiend in which the bride to be stood in the middle of a room while a Japanese paper parasol was turned upside down and gifts poured out.

Christian Divorce

In Christian law, marriage is a sacred institution. However, a variety of denominations have different approaches to divorce (the legal separation of a married couple). Jesus's injunction against divorce was considered progressive because in his time men had the right to divorce women on a whim and not compensate them in any way. [Source: BBC]

“The Methodist Church asserts that marriage is a life-long union, but is understanding to those who have been divorced. Methodists take a more practical, logical approach to belief and allow for more figurative Bible interpretations. This includes accepting divorce and ordaining women priests. In the Methodist Church policy on remarriage (1998) there is a clear acceptance and open mindedness to divorcées: If one or both parties have been married before, [it is Methodist policy] to ensure that a couple is directed to a minister who is not prevented by conscience from considering their request— Methodist Church policy on remarriage, 1998


Samson and Delilah: grounds for divorce

According to the BBC: “This is not to say that the Methodist Church regards divorce frivolously, but it does treat the situation with a sympathetic level of pragmatism. Perhaps it is because of this more liberal approach to divorce that the majority of marriages in the Methodist Church involve at least one partner who has been divorced. In a 2001 survey, it was recorded that around 70% or marriages involved at least one divorced party. |::|

“The Baptist Church has no centralised policy regarding divorce. Those who have been divorced are welcome to join. The decision to remarry a couple lies with the minister. Some feel that it is inappropriate and will not perform the ceremony whilst others will. |::|

Divorce and the Catholic Church

According to the BBC: “The Catholic Church has strict guidelines on divorce. The Church considers the bond of marriage to be a sacred bond, one that is based on life-long love, fidelity and family. Marriage is both a legal bond on earth and spiritual bond which God has witnessed. The latter cannot be broken using temporal laws. [Source: BBC |::|]

“A Catholic is not permitted to receive the Eucharist if s/he remarries. The Catholic Church maintains that all of its members are welcome to attend Mass. A remarried Catholic can take part in Mass but is barred from receiving Holy Communion. This causes pain to many remarried Catholics because the Eucharist is central to their faith. A remarried Catholic may receive Holy Communion only if a marriage has been annulled by the Church. |::|

Annulments

According to the BBC: “An annulment, known also as a Decree of Nullity, is not the same as a divorce. It is a declaration that the marriage was never valid in the first place. An annulment will be considered if there is reasonable proof that the bond between the two parties was invalid from the first day of marriage. The annulment process can take between 9 - 24 months or sometimes longer. Over 50,000 annulments are granted every year throughout the world. [Source: BBC |::|]

“Grounds for an annulment include: 1) Psychological incapacity to understand the commitment marriage entails; 2) One of the partners has hidden information such as a previous marriage, impotence or infertility |The annulment process is not arbitrary. There are strict Church guidelines which must be followed as part of a tribunal to establish whether marriage was present from the beginning or not.

There are four main phases: 1) Petition: A divorcee (petitioner) approaches a minister saying why they want an annulment. They give all the circumstances as to why they think their marriage was invalid. The previous partner (respondent) has the opportunity to put their story across. 2) Evidence: Having collected the statements from each party, evidence for and against the argument must be gathered from family members, close friends and other interested parties. 3) Discussion: An argument is made for the nullity of marriage on behalf of the petitioner and one is written on behalf of the marriage by a minister. 4) Judgement: The diocese and bishops meet and read all the evidence to come to a decision. If the marriage is declared invalid, a second hearing will take place. |::|

“If the bond was not fully established when the marriage commenced, then the holy bond granted by God was not there to be broken. Reasoning behind this doctrine stems from the teachings of Jesus: "What God has united, man must not divide". (Mark, 10:9). Even if a couple separates legally, they are still joined together spiritually: "He who made man from the beginning, made them male and female. And he said: For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder" (Matthew 19:4-6).

“Divorce is not a new issue for the Catholic Church. In the 5th century AD, one of the most famous Catholic thinkers, St. Augustine of Hippo, made his and the Church's position clear. In his work, Of the Good of Marriage, Augustine was explicit: "The compact of marriage is not done away by divorce intervening; so that they continue wedded persons one to another, even after separation; and commit adultery with those, with whom they shall be joined, even after their own divorce." |::|


Nestorian wedding in Iran


“Adultery is a sin, according to the Old Testament: "You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14). Therefore, using Augustine's reasoning, if a man and woman have been separated legally but not spiritually, they are still married in God's eyes. — Augustine wrote about divorce over 1,600 years ago. His ideas on the subject are still pre-eminent in today's Catholic doctrine. |::|

Image Sources: Wikimedia, Commons

Text Sources: Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Christian Origins sourcebooks.fordham.edu “World Religions” edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); “ Encyclopedia of the World’s Religions” edited by R.C. Zaehner (Barnes & Noble Books, 1959); King James Version of the Bible, gutenberg.org; New International Version (NIV) of The Bible, biblegateway.com; “Egeria's Description of the Liturgical Year in Jerusalem” users.ox.ac.uk ; Complete Works of Josephus at Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL), translated by William Whiston, ccel.org , Metropolitan Museum of Art metmuseum.org, Frontline, PBS, “Encyclopedia of the World Cultures” edited by David Levinson (G.K. Hall & Company, New York, 1994); National Geographic, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian magazine, Times of London, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated September 2018


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