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So Nancy is asking, I find it incomprehensible that the Catholic Church call a marriage invalid from the beginning after an annulment is granted. How is it invalid? Or is it like so many of the rules made up as you go?
Thank you Nancy, for that question. I want to make sure that we’re not picking on the Catholic Church here because we’re not out to make them look bad or anything like that. But as far as a Catholic annulment, it is something that if you’re going to ask Catholic clergy do we just annul a marriage for no reason? No, they would say that it would be an extreme case. And so as far as how the Bible says what is a lawful reason for a divorce or basically dissolving of a marriage? The Bible is pretty clear in Matthew chapter 19, verses three through five, where basically you see this where a pharisee is trying to test Jesus. And so the Pharisee came to him, testing him, which is Jesus saying to him is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason? And in verse four Jesus answered to him and said to him have you not read that he who made them at the beginning made them male and female? And verse five it reads 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 flesh.
And so here we see jesus is saying marriage is very important if you go on to read down through verse nine. And so Jesus says basically but because of the hardness in verse eight he said Moses, because of hardness of your heart, permitted you to divorce your wives. But from the beginning it was not so. That was never God’s will. And verse nine is key. It says and I say to you, whoever divorces his wife except for sexual immorality and marries another commits adultery, and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery. And so God is very clear, or Jesus is very clear here, that marriage is sacred. And the only reason biblically to basically get a divorce is in the case of sexual immorality. Now, there’s a lot more things that can go with that. So I will say as far as is the Catholic model of annulment for divorce Biblical? I would say that’s debatable. If you look at what the Catholic Church states, a church council or basically a court, a church court would define a marriage as invalid if only a petitioner. So one of the people who are getting married never intended to be permanently married or faithful.
And that like usually in the case of that of mental illness, drug abuse or substance abuse prevented them from consenting to a lifelong marriage. So basically, if the person was stoned or drunk when they got married, they were like, okay, well that doesn’t count because they weren’t in their right mind to be getting married in the first place. And so in that case, a Catholic court might define that marriage as being annulled or dissolved. In that case, again, the biblical model of marriage is that we aren’t supposed to be joined to our spouses for life, except for the case of sexual immorality, whether they had an affair or if they were sexually inappropriate. I know some people are like, well, if my husband molested children, shouldn’t I divorce them? Yes, there’s definitely crafts for divorce. I still would consider that a definite sexual immorality. And some people would also argue that in the case of abandonment, this is mainly between a believer and a non believer. We see this in One Corinthians, chapter seven. But again, this is Paul saying this is his word and not the commandment of the Lord. He says in one Corinthians seven, verse ten, he says now to the married I command yet not I, but the Lord.
Because prior, he said the Lord is saying basically that where is it? Excuse me, sorry, I’ll go back first Corinthians 710, let’s just start there. Sorry. Now to the married I command yet not I, but the Lord. So God is saying a wife is not to depart from her husband, but even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband, and the husband is not to divorce his wife. And so there are cases where if your spouse is being physically abusive or abusive to your children, yeah, you can leave, maybe you don’t divorce, but you do not have to stay in an abusive situation. And then in verse twelve, but to the rest I not the Lord. So here Paul is saying this is my opinion. If any brother has a wife who does not believe and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. Basically, if a man marries a non believer, don’t divorce her, she’s willing to stay with you. And in verse 13 it says and a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he’s willing to live with her, let her not divorce him.
And in verse 14 says for the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife. But in verse 15, but if the unbeliever departs, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace. And so basically he’s saying that if your unbelieving spouse leaves you because they’re not a believer, they’re not walking with the Lord, they just don’t want anything to do with your lifestyle, basically you’re not under bondage in that case. And so many would argue, well, isn’t that kind of an annulment? And to that I would say not necessarily, because one, this is Paul saying this is my opinion, this is not God saying this. And it’s most likely the case that an unbeliever, if they leave you, they’re going to go be sexually active with somebody besides the person they were married to. And so anyways, so as far as your question goes, the Catholic Church calling a married invalid, granting annulments, I would say that’s something that if you’re in the Catholic Church the Catholic Church has its own set of rules and its own system and way of doing things.
And I would respect their opinion and how they run their views. But it’s important that we just know how to live peaceably and lovingly with all people and respect how they perceive and interpret the scripture and that we live according to the faith in the Word that we know. Which, if it was me, I would not divorce somebody except for the case of adultery and then just because that’s biblical as far as I read. So anyways, I hope that answers your question.
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