Catholic Note

Jesus revealed that Moses allowed divorce in Deuteronomy 24:1-4 as a temporary provision because of the "hardness of their hearts" (Matthew 19:7-9).But Jesus restored God's original plan of indissoluble marriage (Matthew 19:3-9); therefore, the Catholic Church continues to teach that a valid marriage between a baptized man and baptized woman cannot be dissolved for any reason except death. It can't be ended by a civil divorce (or even by an annulment, which is not a "Catholic divorce" but rather the determination a marriage was not valid in the first place.) Some Protestants claim that Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9 allow exceptions to Jesus' teaching on indissolubility: "whoever divorces his wife, except for un chastity [porneia], and marries another commits adultery." Here porneia is used in a technical sense to forbid incestuous marriage among close relatives (as in Acts 15:20 and 1 Corinthians 5:1). These illicit unions are not valid marriages in the first place. Note that not a single Greek-speaking Church Father ever saw in Matthew 5 and 19 exceptions to Christ's law of indissolubility. Until Martin Luther declared that marriage was only a civil union in 1520, all Christians unanimously held that marriage is indissoluble and the divorce from a legitimate marriage cannot be followed by remarriage.

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