Beliefs Gender & Sexuality Mark Silk: Spiritual Politics Opinion

Marriage and divorce: The limits of the Roman Catholic mind

Russian Orthodox Wedding

The conservative resistance to Pope Francis has circled its firing squad around Amoris Laetitia, the year-old apostolic exhortation that opens the door to communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.

A week ago, speakers at a conference in Rome accused the pope of heresy in the latest in a series of challenges, the most notable of which were the “doubts” (dubia) about Amoris issued by four cardinals last September. “The pope,” declared Australian theologian Anna M. Silvas, “is a skandalon (scandal), the rock has become the stumbling block.”

To be sure, the other side has mounted a defense, but it’s striking how little attention has been paid on either side to the theological concept that best supports the pope’s opening — and how ill-informed that attention has been.

The concept is oikonomia, Greek for household management (economy), and as developed by the Cappadocian fathers of the fourth century it expresses Christianity’s profound insight into the flawed nature of humanity and the fallen condition of this world.

This provides the rationale for permitting second (and third) marriages in Eastern Orthodoxy. While affirming the Christian ideal of marriage as indissoluble, the Orthodox recognize that sometimes marriages become broken, and provide a path for the parties to remarry within the church in a ceremony that is penitential.

Likewise, oikonomia does not abandon the early Christian view that war is evil, but offers those who fight a penitential path to communion. In both cases, as in others, the point is that, in this world, it is sometimes necessary to do an evil thing in order to avoid a greater evil.

Roman Catholicism would rather divide wars into just and unjust and valorize the heroes of the former. Instead of allowing second marriages, it prefers to determine that a first marriage was not a real marriage by the fiction of annulment.

So on the right, the National Catholic Register waves away the Orthodox permission for second marriages as an artifact of Roman imperial law — as if oikonomia were nothing more than a concession to the secular state. And Sandro Magister, the anti-Francis Vaticanista, asserts that second marriages are not sacramental in Orthodoxy, which is not the case.

Meanwhile, on the left, Cardinal Walter Kasper — the prime mover behind the opening to the divorced and remarried — shies away from embracing oikonomia while also claiming that the Orthodox do not consider the second marriage a sacrament. As for Pope Francis, he does not so much as mention oikonomia in Amoris.

Fifteen years ago, Creighton University’s Michael G. Lawler made a strong case for Catholicism to embrace the principle of oikonomia when it came to marriage and divorce. More recently, Kevin Schembri of the University of Malta urged Catholics to learn from the Orthodox doctrine.

But oikonomia may just be too far outside Catholicism’s comfort zone for that to happen. When you need white to be white and black to be black, accepting that this world sometimes requires us to do evil is an intolerable shade of gray.

About the author

Mark Silk

Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. He is a Contributing Editor of the Religion News Service

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  • Shame really, I would agree with the Catholic doctrine on most points and would likely convert except that 26 years ago I fell in love and married a woman who was divorced from an abusive marriage, and love her children to much to even suggest an “annulment” saying her marriage to their father was illegitimate. (Now that he has been clean and sober for over 10 years, he’s a decent person.) I don’t think Jesus intent was to chase people away from Him.

  • It’s not the intent of Jesus that is the problem,. It’s the needs of those to assert that they are god’s good friends, and that others are not, that is the problem. It is the basis for all of “you’re not a true Christian like I am” garbage so frequently discussed on these very pages, indeed, mentioned in the article.

  • You seem like a decent faith-filled man with honorable motives. Maybe you should speak with some religious authority you trust. My understanding is that an annulment does not mean the marriage (or the children) were illegitimate, just that it wasn’t a sacramental marriage; that one or both of the parties didn’t understand or have the capacity at the time for a life-long covenant relationship. The man who you say is now clean and sober for over 10 years may even feel a release or forgiveness from such an action. Pray about it. (I have extended family in a similar position.) If you cannot stomach it, you may actually want to join the Orthodox Church, since you seem to have come to the conclusion of the validity of Apostolic Tradition. Just saying; many things seem impossible to our natural mind, but nothing is impossible for God.

    A little exegesis for your consideration (annulment is an exercise of the authority to bind and loose given by Jesus):

    Mt 19:3-9 (Also Mark 10:11-12 and Luke 16:18): “And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one’? So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” He said to them, “For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery; and he who marries a divorced woman, commits adultery.”

    Where some of the disputes start is with the phrase “except for unchastity” which has also been translated “except for sexual immorality”, “except it be for fornication”, “unless the marriage is unlawful”, so, which translation of the phrase should we go with? The Greek word in question after the “except for” or “unless” is porneia. This word means “illicit sexual intercourse” and the bible tells of many sexual things which are illicit, but perhaps the illicit thing being referred to here is sexual intercourse with close relatives as per Leviticus 18 (basically incest).

    Why? At the time of Jesus, there were two leading rabbinical schools, the house of Shammai and the house of Hillel. Wiki sums their positions on divorce like this: “The House of Shammai held that a man may only divorce his wife for a serious transgression, but the House of Hillel allowed divorce for even trivial offenses, such as burning a meal.” So, it is easy to “get” that Jesus did not agree with Hillel, but it seems that he also did not agree with Shammai; did not agree with divorce for adultery (saying in fact that divorce was a form of adultery).

    Why? If you go on in Matthew 19:10, the disciples appear shocked because they say: “If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” The biblical standard ends up being pretty high, much higher than that of the rabbinical schools of the day.

    Saint Paul seems to follow Jesus’ statement in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 “To the married, however, I give this instruction (not I, but the Lord): A wife should not separate from her husband —and if she does separate she must either remain single or become reconciled to her husband—and a husband should not divorce his wife.” If you continue reading in chapter 7, St. Paul gives an exception in verse 15 “But if the unbelieving partner desires to separate, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound.”, although earlier in verses 12-14 St. Paul counsels that if an unbeliever chooses to stay with a believer, the believer may not divorce.

  • A few years ago, the Lord said to me, “You know, the Catholic Church isn’t ALL wrong.” Then, a few moments later, He said, “It’s not all right either.” So I started going to Mass and did a boatload of reading of Catholic apologetics. I found a lot I liked (especially the Rosary and the Bible) and could discern the presence I know during the Mass, but Catholics use Tradition the same way Fundamentalists use the Bible, as a club (Matt23:15).

    “Who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Cor3:6)

  • Christians, your interpretation of the Bible includes what if any differentiation between how sinful divorce is vs. how sinful an affair is vs. how sinful gay sex is?

  • Well you have a point in as much as some may lean towards Jansenism or Calvinism in how they handle tradition, but surely you can’t paint all with the same brush. And the Spirit does convict, for example, in Matthew 15 when Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees and scribes about using tradition to void the words of God to honor parents (something which can surely be difficult not just for those who think to avoid this obligation on account of religion, but also those who have had abusive or otherwise difficult parents). Still, the tension exists because Jesus also said that the one who loves father or mother or son or daughter more than Him is not worthy of Him (Mt 10:37). And then we have stories like the Parable of the Two Sons (Mt 21), where one refuses to work in the vineyard, but later repents and goes, but the other son says he is going and doesn’t. So yes, as we are told, it is not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord” who will enter…
    Jesus certainly turns everything on its head: The woes Jesus pronounces upon the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23 are opposed to the blessings of the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:
    In Mt 5:3, the kingdom is opened to the poor in spirit, whereas in Mt 23:13, the S & P lock the kingdom. In Mt 5:4, mourners are comforted, whereas in in Mt 23:14 (addition to some texts), widows houses (the mourners houses) are taken by the S & P causing distress rather than comfort.In Mt 5:5, the meek inherit the earth, whereas in Mt 23:15, the S & P traverse the land and sea to extend their control. In Mt 5:6, hunger and thirst for righteousness is satisfied, whereas in Mt 23:16-22, the S & P are condemned for their unrighteousness in picking and choosing what is meaningful and important without realizing that the Temple and altar stand for heaven, the throne of God, and Him who sits upon it, and hence we are to give our hearts and minds to God, not cleverly and selfishly invoking God only when it suits our purposes or to gain some advantage. In Mt 5:7, the merciful are shown mercy, whereas in Mt 23:23-24, justice and mercy and faith are left undone by the S & P to attend to less weighty matters which should be done without neglecting the more important.In Mt 5:8, those with a clean heart are rewarded with a vision of God, whereas in Mt 23:25-26, the S & P are condemned for worrying about external purification while failing to rid their hearts of extortion and self-indulgenceIn Mt 5:9, peacemakers are seen as sons or children of God, whereas in Mt 23:27-28, the S & P are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness and are sons of dead men, and, by implication immoral and unfair. In Mt 5:10, those persecuted for righteousness are rewarded with the kingdom of heaven, whereas in Mt 23:29-33, the S & P are the persecutors and murders of the prophets of the past, and the prophets, wise men, and scribes of the future whom they will kill and crucify and scourge filling up the measure of evil and bringing guilt and judgment upon themselves for the shed blood of the righteous.A good reflection for all of us.

  • Traditionalists questioned whether Church doctrine should be changed with one ambiguous paragraph and footnote. The “dubia” is asking for a clarification.

    Pope Francis responded by accusing those who disagree with him of “ legalism,” “closed hearts,” “blinkered viewpoints,” judging “sometimes with superiority and superficiality,” lacking “understanding,” unable to “discern,” cowardice in “burying their heads in the sand,’ “a nasty spirit in order to sow division,” and psychologically “born from something missing, from trying to hide one’s own sad dissatisfaction behind a kind of armor.” He warns that they are a “cancer of the Church” in pursuit of glory rooted in “the logic of ambition and power.”

    The pope has not engaged in a respectful dialogue based on prior magisterium and scripture in which Jesus states:
    Luke 16:18 “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
    Matthew 5:32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, brings adultery upon her. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
    Mark 10:11 So He told them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her.

    I happen to disagree with traditional theology and ecclesiology but object to the media’s unanimous misrepresentations and dishonest reporting.

  • I am so glad I am not a Catholic, bound by unjust rules, interpreted by political agendas. I am so glad not to be bound by “faith”, and therefore closed to reason and the continuing lessons of experience. I am so so glad not to live in fear of judgment by a deity, who demands eternal punishment for those who lives maybe comparatively benign, but merely offend him by failure worship his “image”.
    “Christianity is the worst disaster ever to befall Western Man.” – Anatole France

  • It is all a moot point: Why is that?

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinker bells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    “The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother’s womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. “

  • “..While affirming the Christian ideal of marriage as indissoluble…”

    It’s not an “ideal”. It is a command that is not negotiable — “So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.”

    There is but ONE exception. Joseph and Mary are that living testimony.

    For ears to hear — areyoumarried dot wordpress dot com

  • An annulment does not make him less of a person but simply acknowledges that the marriage was not entered with complete understanding of the sacrament of marriage. Also, that marriage maybe was not a sacramental one if one of them was not Catholic. There is a lot more to the sacrament of marriage. It is not at all the same thing as a valid marriage. He is still the father of her children and nothing can take that away. It doesn’t make the kids “illegitimate “. I recommend finding a really good priest and discussing this with him. It really is much simpler and less nefarious than the media makes it out to be and most priests are more informed than most writers.

  • Unlike you Tina, I do not worship. If we are mere earthly chemicals, arranged by trial and error, then how does worship make sense? Oh, I forgot, faith does not have to make sense.

  • But you do believe……you do have faith…………….you have faith that when you die, that is the end. And guess what…………….no one can prove that, not even you.
    So don’t fool yourself…..you too believe, you too have faith. Good luck.

  • This seems to be the standard hypertheist Response– if you don’t worship someone’s god you must worship yourself. Do you all go to Fundelibangelists-R-Us and get your ideas wholesale?

    Worship is YOUR response to what you don’t understand, not mine.

  • As your quote makes clear, the death of a spouse provides an exception. N.B. the Orthodox require the penitential approach in that instance too. And of course there’s Matthew 19:9, which makes fornication grounds for an exception.

  • Thank you. You affirmed my comment. Death is the only remedy in which the “one flesh” union is dissolved.
    Joseph sought a divorce from Mary because she violated the command set forth in Deuteronomy 22:13. Mary failed her test for virginity. This is the only exception for a civil marriage to be invalid.

  • Hi Roy,
    Many words have multiple meanings, depending on context. ( I believe I will have another drink!.) Religious faith is not remotely like an expectation based on objective facts. I expect to die, after which I do not expect to have a continued existence. Nothing remotely like religious faith is involved.
    Shamen (aka priests) have been popular relievers of anxieties (for a fee) since pre-history.
    They will promise you anything – even eternal life! Pay now/enjoy after death!

  • Because that really wouldnt be economical, and people might not take it seriously. Three is the number of persons in the trinity. So it’s just right

  • However you want to word it………………….the bottom line is you are trusting that nothing is going to happen to you after you die. You have zero proof for what you ‘think’ will happen. You have faith you will not meet your Maker. Good luck with that.
    Btw….don’t blame “man” for how he has represented the Creator.

  • The death of a spouse is not an exception at all. Marriage only exists as a sacrament being a man and a woman. When either or both pass away, the marriage bond ceases. This is not an exception to marital indisolubility, but it’s expected and natural termination. This was directly taught by Christ, by the way.

  • When a man is deciding how many wives to burn through in his life, he should scarcely look to the number of Divine Persons in the Trinity as his guide. It’s blasphemous, for starters, and about as rational as deciding how much money to embezzle from your company and deciding 12 million because there was 12 apostles. It’s a non sequitor to end all non sequitors.

    The real theological signifance behind three is: “That’s about the average number of women the Byzantine emperor can be expected to take up with, and you just know he’s going to demand the Patriarch’s blessing on each and every one of them.” Oikonomia, loosely translated, means the sizable stack of gold the emperor would give everyone in exchange for forgetting their conscience.

  • Of course it was entirely arbitrary. That was the point of my little — apparently too little (sniff)– joke.

    I figured if you don’t want to obey Jesus’s clear teaching about divorce, well, three might be a good number.

  • Commenting on your article, in particular, two of your quotes,…
    “In both cases, as in others, the point is that, in this world, it is sometimes necessary to do an evil thing in order to avoid a greater evil.”
    … “But oikonomia may just be too far outside Catholicism’s comfort zone for that to happen. When you need white to be white and black to be black, accepting that this world sometimes requires us to do evil is an intolerable shade of gray.”

    I’d say, you are very wrong and the Catholic Church is very correct. Doesn’t the evil one just looooovvvee shades of gray!
    Oh what a slippery slope… if only people would acquiesce to do evil… just a little bit,… just a pinch,…because you see…the world is different now…we have it sooo much harder than those people in the past… do feel sorry for yourself and give evil an inch… hopefully, it won’t take a yard…or your soul!
    Of course, reality is that we are given the choice between good and evil, white or black. Therefore, we must always choose good, even if it is the most difficult. …Because in the end, we will be so happy we did choose good and therefore choose God and heaven. Don’t fool yourself.

  • “Remotely?” Your statement is false. Religious faith IS like expectations based on objective facts in some ways.

  • Translation: This deity worshiper hears voices in his head and assigns them to the most powerful deity in the whole universe!

  • Now for some ancient history on marriage:

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/ane/ham/ham02.htm

    The Code of Hammurabi- 1792–1750 BC

    “If she had been a bad wife, the Code allowed him to send her away, while he kept the children and her dowry; or he could degrade her to the position of a slave in his own house, where she would have food and clothing. She might bring an action against him for cruelty and neglect and, if she proved her case, obtain a judicial separation, taking with her her dowry.

    No other punishment fell on the man. If she did not prove her case, but proved to be a bad wife, she was drowned. If she were left without maintenance during her husband’s involuntary absence, she could cohabit with another man, but must return to her husband if he came back, the children of the second union remaining with their own father. If she had maintenance, a breach of the marriage tie was adultery. Wilful desertion by, or exile of, the husband dissolved the marriage, and if he came back he had no claim on her property; possibly not on his own.”

    Hmmm, there appears to be a lot of Judaism and Islam in this Old Code. Plagiarized? Hmmm, probably!!!

    See added comparisons at “Comparing the content of
    Hammurabi’s Code, Mosaic Law, and Justinian Law”

    http://www.hyperhistory.net/apwh/essays/comp/cw03hammurabijustinlaw.htm

    ” If a man and woman were caught in adultery, Hammurabi and Moses decreed that both man and woman be put to death. (i.e. “Billy Boys” had short life spans in the good old days!!!!!) Each set of laws also prohibited a man from having more than one wife at a time. In addition, Justinian and Biblical law required parental consent for any marriage. “

  • Some added authentic passages from the NT (there are many of them) for Catholic conservatives to mull over:

    Matt 19: 12 ” For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.”

    Not the way to go in my opinion and not a good reference for promoting celibacy.

    Definition of a eunuch:

    1. A castrated man employed as a harem attendant or as a functionary in certain Asian courts.
    2. A man or boy whose testes are non-functioning or have been removed.
    3. Informal. An ineffectual, powerless, or unmasculine man.

  • The problem is in the history. Did this simple preacher man aka Jesus, an illiterate rabbi at best, establish a church? No, based on the lack of historical proof e.g. “Thou art Peter” (Matt 16: 18-19) passage only appears in one gospel.” Matthew, whomever he was, was therefore a part founder/”necessary accessory” of the Catholic Church, as was Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James his brother, Mary, Joseph and another father if you believe the mamzer stories, the Apostles and Pilate. It was a team effort with Pilate being the strangest “necessary accessory”.

  • Religious faith is about fear/desire, loyalty to a group, and magical powers.
    I follow no one, and I try very hard to keep my thumb off the scale when weighing evidence.
    When it comes to desire, I would prefer a world where we animals did not kill and eat each other in order to continue to live, but facts are stubborn things.

  • The were/are thousands of gods in the imaginations of men, and thousands depicted in their art. You simply adopted the one that happened to be popular at your time and place. You are a lazy believer, who is disinterested in the rest of creation.
    I have no fear of divine judgment, if it be just. Socrates maintained that an unjust god would be a mere daemon, and unworthy of regard. I simply disagree with Jesus, who maintained that his God loved and cared for his creation. As for that fraud Hell, go to Wikipedia and read about Gehenna.

  • You are a lazy believer, who is disinterested in the rest of creation.
    Arrogance.

  • Again……..the exception clause is defined, and an example set forth in the relationship between Joseph and Mary.
    Joseph perceived that Mary failed her test of virginity. Joseph was “legally/civilly” married to Mary; most likely as a result of negotiations between two families. Therefore he understood his biblical right to seek a divorce, as Mary committed sexual immorality against him.
    This is the exception Jesus gives. Jesus is just reiterating Deuteronomy 22:13.

  • Well, that was stultifyingly informative. Who knew there could be so much written about so little based upon nothing at all?

  • Again, too many non-believers trying their hardest to win believers over to their camp. Such a waste of time!

  • Well done and thanks.

    In his comments to the Australia Royal Commission investigating institutional response to child sex abuse, newly appointed Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen talked the Church has “been operating, at least under the two previous pontificates, from what I’d describe as a perfect society model”

    While +Nguyen was talking about clericalism, I think the attempt to have tens of millions people live out of a “perfect society model” is also why the magisterium sees no way to recognize and incorporate into the teachings on marriage the simple fact that people are not perfect. Marriages fail – that is a simply truth. Millions of marriages fail but people didn’t use to have an alternative, especially women.

    The world has changed. Life expectancy is better than twice what it used to be – a failed marriage that is forced to last for far longer and into old age is a waste of a life that could be nurtured by a relationship of love.

    Life is a journey lived in a real world, not the imaginary “perfect society.” The “perfect society” is not imposed, it is made, one person at the time.

  • Granted, I am not gifted with communicating with the sleep walkers. Shouting “wake up!” does not appear to work, either. More’s the pity. .

  • Roy Hobs: The Blessed Mary, Ever Virgin, never sinned. She did not commit sexual immorality. You need to repent of blasphemy.

  • Patricia…….please read my comment again. And read it slow. Nowhere did I claim such a thing! Reading Comprehension in 2018 SUCKS. Why can’t people read anymore………it pains me.

  • Btw…I will anticipate an apology from you soon. I don’t take kindly being called a ‘blasphemer’ without cause.

  • Roy Hobs: Here is your comment for you to read and repent: “Mary because she violated the command set forth in Deuteronomy 22:13. Mary failed her test for virginity.” You stated that the Blessed Mary Ever Virgin failed the test of virginity and that she violated Deuteronomy. Both of those are sins. You can’t even understand your own words! Oh, 2018 reading comprehension is abysmal.

  • Are you for real?

    Unbelievable.

    I said “Joseph PERceived Mary to be pregnant.”

    Perceive: become aware or conscious of (something); come to realize or understand.

    Patricia… Why did Joseph seek a Divorce?
    Because Joseph PERCEIVED Mary failed her test of Virginity — Deuteronomy 22:13.

    It was only AFTER being visited by the Angel, where he understood that she was still a virgin. Why he married her! Joseph would not have married her had she NOT been a virgin.
    Seriously…………….how old are you? what is your level of education? Don’t be so QUICK to judge. I know it is hard, but take people for being ‘good’ first and then bad later after they have proven to be.

  • I should also add Patricia………………..did you read the entire comment thread? Did you read my very first comment and then follow the ‘train’ of thought/discussion?
    Did you go to my Blog — areyoumarried dot wordpress dot com ???
    Why do you enjoy judging so quickly without having a full knowledge or wisdom of a person?

  • Roy Hobs: Did you actually graduate high school? I did not say anything about what St. Joseph perceived. I quoted your own words. Your own words convict you. And I do not care about your “train of thought.” Get over yourself. Your words are blasphemous…re-read your own words. And YOU do not know what St. Joseph thought…so repent of mind-reading; it is sorcery.

  • Wow. Christian? I think not.
    I never said Mary was not a virgin. I said Joseph perceived she was. Why would he seek a divorce? Only AFTER the Angel revealed to him that Mary was still a virgin……….did he change his mind.
    You have really revealed yourself Patricia. You lack humility. Shame on you. Go get your husband and have him resume this conversation. You are the reason Paul admonished the Corinthians to keep their women “silent”.
    Emotion over Intellect. Shame on you.

  • Roy Hobs: Go ask your wife. You lack humility. Here is your exact quote: “Joseph sought a divorce from Mary because she violated the command set forth in Deuteronomy 22:13. Mary failed her test for virginity.” You did NOT say anything about what St. Joseph “thought” and YOU do not know what Joseph thought. Btw, Paul’s admonishment referred to Church services; not the internet. You misuse the Bible and you blaspheme the saints. And you are bigoted against the Roman Catholic Church. You are not a qualified theologian and you and have no qualifications to pass judgment on the Roman Catholic Church nor on St. Augustine’s Just War Theory.

  • Hi Patricia, I am not Roman Catholic, I am Orthodox Christian, however I am very disturbed at the conduct of the current pope, and other post-Vatican II popes. Here are some examples of what I’m referring to.

    http://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com/catholicchurch/john-paul-ii-kissing-the-koran/#.WbHrmHSubqA
    Pope John Paul II kissed the Koran, on May 14, 1999, even though the Koran denies that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    https://aleteia.org/2014/06/09/pope-francis-koran-kisser/
    Pope Francis kissed the Koran, said that the Koran, and the spiritual teachings contained therein, are just as valid as the Holy Bible, and hosted Islamic prayers in the Vatican! Pope Francis’ embrace of Islam, which denies that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, makes him an antichrist, per 1 John 2:22 “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.”

  • Further to my previous comment on the disturbing conduct of certain popes. In this photo, a shaman works her sorcery on Pope Francis. [PHOTO: Third Indigenous Peoples’ Forum, Feb. 15, 2017] https://zenit.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/or20170215090108_000120-1-740×493.jpg

    2 Corinthians 6:16-18 “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

  • “The evil influence of Satan was evident in the highest ranks of the Catholic hierarchy, with cardinals who do not believe in Jesus and bishops who are linked to the demon,” Vatican Chief exorcist Father Amorth said. http://www.baltimoresun.com/bs-mtblog-2010-03-vatican_exorcist_satan_respons-story.html

    The Roman Catholic church has been infiltrated at the highest levels by Luciferian Freemasonry. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6335-freemasonry

    “As for what they say about destroying your Synagogues, make your sons cannons and clerks, that they may destroy the Christian’s churches.” ~ [(Signed the prince of the Jews of Constantinople) 16th century Spanish book Le Silva Corrosa. By Julio Ingez de Medarro from Paris Oro 1608 P156-157.]

  • “Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.” Matthew 1:18,19

    1) Joseph was FAITHFUL to the law and sought a divorce.

    Question — What Law was that Patricia? Do you even know?

    I’ll give you a big fat hint — Deuteronomy 22:13. How am I wrong?

    Just to repeat that which I already stated……………….Nowhere in any of my comments have I declared Mary was not a Virgin. Nowhere.

    My comment was SOLEY a critique of Matthew 1 verse 18 and 19. I said nothing about verse 20. And after pointing that out to you and giving you a chance to understand the “context” of the original comment, you still chose to chastise me unrighteously.

    My entire Theological world view is centered around Virginity. And you would know that if you bothered to ‘check me out’ before you opened your mouth.

    www dot areyoumarried dot wordpress dot com

    All you have to do is apologize. But will you?

  • Roy Hobs: Your “critique” was incorrect for two reasons. 1.) You presumed to know what St. Joseph thought. You cannot know that. 2.) You wrote that the Holy Mother of God violated Deuteronomy and that she failed the test of virginity. The truth is that the Blessed Mother was ever virgin. She did NOT fail and test of virginity…as you falsely stated. And the Theotokos did NOT violate Deuteronomy. All you have to do is repent. But will you do that?

  • Roy Hobs: All you do is insult persons. You do not address the debate…because you have lost the debate. Your own statements are incorrect, false and blasphemous. You accuse others of your own faults.

  • You still can’t get it.
    And then you can’t even answer my question!!
    Answer it…………………why then did Joseph seek a Divorce? What LAW did Mary Violate?

  • All you do is insult persons. Hypocrisy.

    You do not address the debate. More Hypocrisy. It is YOU who has not addressed the debate by not answering my questions. You don’t even KNOW the debate!!! You came in on a conversation that has nothing to do with the point you are making.

    because you have lost the debate You lack Humility

    Your own statements are incorrect, false and blasphemous.

    But yet you can’t prove it, by your unwillingness to have a dialogue.
    How many times do I have to repeat myself — I believe Mary was a Virgin. Mary was a Virgin. Mary was a Virgin. I’ve never NOT said this.

  • Strong119: I, and many other Roman Catholics, are concerned about Francis’ un-Christian statements and actions. Francis was not validly elected, which makes him an anti-pope.

  • St. Joseph did not “seek” a divorce. Matthew 1:18-19 says that Joseph considered divorcing Mary quietly. Nowhere does the Bible say that the Blessed Mary Ever Virgin violated any law. You are mis-quoting the Bible and making assumptions that are incorrect. We know from Church teaching that the Blessed Virgin Mary never sinned and was always a virgin.

  • In Summary —
    Patricia, you arrogantly jumped into a conversation you knew nothing about. The topic was Divorce. DIVORCE. And the perceived “exception” for divorce. I then stated the Scriptural Exception to Divorce. And that is stated in the Law — Deuteronomy 22:13. The only way a man can divorce a woman is if she was NOT a virgin, either on their wedding night; or if she loses her virginity during the Betrothal period.
    I then cited the example given with Joseph and Mary.
    Joseph sought a Divorce because Mary (perceived) violated Deuteronomy 22:13. Joseph did not know that Mary was pregnant via the Holy Spirit. He assumed she was pregnant the conventional way. There is no other explanation. Unless you have one which explains why he sought a divorce to fulfill the Law.
    I repeat…………………..Joseph did not know just yet that Mary was pregnant via the Holy Spirit. Joseph had to have a visitation by an Angel in order to set his mind straight.
    There is simply no other explanation for why Joseph, being a righteous man, sought a divorce as PER THE LAW.
    Let me repeat that………………Joseph sought a Divorce AS PER THE LAW. It says so right in the passage.
    Patricia………………I feel you are so distraught because perhaps YOU were not a Virgin when you took your husband.
    Is this the case? Is this why you are so obstinate?
    Mary was a Virgin. She was always a Virgin. But Joseph did not know that at first. This is why he sought a divorce and to disagree is to just blatantly to ignore Scripture. Which you have done. Sadly.

  • Now you are splitting hairs. “Seek” is not synonymous with “attain”.

    In other words……………….he was on his way. It was something he intended to do. “Seek” not synonymous with “attain”.

    Let’s assume for just a moment. Had Mary not been a Virgin…..would she have violated any law in your opinion???

    Verse 19 — Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

    Because Joseph was FAITHFUL TO THE LAW, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

    Patricia — What Law was that?

  • Patricia —
    If you have a problem with the NIV rendering of the passage, so be it.
    Let me ask the question another way —
    “On what grounds did Joseph have a legal right to seek a divorce?” According to Mosaic Law.
    Or……”What right did Joseph have to put Mary away privately”? What Mosaic Law gives Joseph permission to seek a divorce?
    Joseph and Mary’s families drew up the contract. What right did Joseph have to ‘void’ that contract?
    How many more ways do I have to say it?

  • Roy Hobs: I am not going to stop you from presuming to know what St. Joseph “perceived.” I am not going to stop you from lying when you assert that you did not say what you said. I am not going to stop you from blaspheming the Blessed Mary Ever Virgin, whom you falsely asserted violated Deuteronomy and failed the test of virginity. And I am not going to stop you from personally attacking anyone who debates you. I am not going to stop you from making incorrect assumptions …because “there is no other explanation” in your opinion. I am not going to stop you from presuming to know what St. Joseph “perceived” I am not going to stop you from misquoting and mis-using the Bible. I am not going to stop you from falsely asserting that St. Joseph “sought” a divorce, which he never “sought.” But God will.

  • Why did Joseph ‘contemplate’ a divorce? The answer is right in the Scripture which you ignore. Joseph believed Mary to be pregnant.

    Study verse 18 and 19 before you dogmatically assert verse 20.

    18His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. “
    I’m assuming you have at a minimum, a high school education. Just as we are taught to read from Left to Right; we are also taught to read from first to last. In order to understand verse 20, you must start at verse 18.
    Before Joseph ‘took’ his wife (have sex), Mary was found to be pregnant – verse 18. How do you deny that which is so obvious? Joseph did not know just yet that Mary was pregnant via the Holy Spirit. Joseph had it in his mind to divorce Mary because she was found to be pregnant – verse 19.
    Before he was confronted by the Holy Spirit, Joseph had it in his mind to pursue a divorce – verse 20.
    Why did he have it in his mind to pursue a divorce? Answer: Mary was found to be with child. Not until verse 20 is Joseph confronted by the Holy Spirit and set straight that Mary was indeed still a virgin.
    Interpretation — Joseph believed (wrongly) Mary violated Deuteronomy 22:13 because she was found to be pregnant.
    Only AFTER being confronted by the Holy Spirit did Joseph change his mind.
    Disagree? Well you will have to take it up with Yahweh on that Great and Dreadful day. Good luck to you. The Scriptures exhort us to seek forgiveness with our brother. This you did not do.
    You accuse me of blasphemy — FALSE ACCUSATION.
    You accuse me of sorcery — FALSE ACCUSATION.
    This, you will have to live with. Peace to you Patricia.

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