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I’m thinking about divorce. What does the Catholic Church have to say about it?

Full Question

I’m thinking about divorce. What does the Catholic Church have to say about it?


Jesus said, “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mark 10:9). So, although the Catholic Church recognizes the need for civil divorce in some circumstances, the Church also teaches that divorce does not dissolve the marriage bond before God. Therefore, even in situations where civil divorce is tolerated, divorce does not free the spouses to marry again. Cardinal Levada’s glossary explains:

[Divorce is] the claim that the indissoluble marriage bond validly entered into between a man and a woman is broken. A civil dissolution of the marriage contract (divorce) does not free persons from a valid marriage before God; remarriage would not be morally licit.

If there are sufficient reasons for obtaining a civil divorce in your case, then it would be morally permissible to pursue one, but this would not result in the ability to remarry unless, for example, you pursued and received an annulment that showed your first marriage was invalid.


1 comment

  1. Patrick Gannon Reply

    What if your spouse dies after you have been divorced? Are you now permitted to marry again?
    Hmm. Which is the greater sin? Killing your divorced spouse so you can get remarried, or getting married anyway and being an adulterer? I’m going to assume that sins of a sexual nature are far and away the worst when it comes to the RCC. 🙂

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