With all the talk about divorce and re-marriage from Cardinal Kasper and his allies at the Synod, it’s good to refresh our memory on exactly what Jesus said about the matter.
Did you know that Jesus spoke against adultery in nine distinct episodes which are recorded in 14 distinct Gospel passages? How many of his teachings get 14 distinct Gospel passages? Why so much emphasis, Lord? Let’s take a look.
It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but at the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery. (Matt 19:8-9)
In so doing, he not only condemns re-marriage, but also qualifies as “hard-hearted” those people who seek divorce.
As a footnote, the exception for “unchastity” likely refers to incestuous marriages where the spouses were too closely related. It could also allow for separation following grievous sexual sin but without possibility of remarriage.
Jesus spoke similarly of adultery in the Sermon on the Mount, as recorded in Matt 5:31-32
It was also said, “Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.” But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Likewise, on another occasion, Jesus stated the same teaching in Luke 16:18:
Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and whoever marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.
Then there’s the rich young man who asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. This is recorded in Matt 19:16-22, Mark 10:17-22 and Luke 18:18-23. Jesus answers:
You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honour your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbour as yourself.
Again, Jesus condemns adultery as something that would prevent a person from getting to heaven. That’s a big deal. It doesn’t get any bigger, in fact. What’s more, the astute reader will notice that Jesus is quoting from the 10 Commandments. However, he doesn’t list all 10 of them. Yet he still took the trouble of mentioning adultery. That should tell us something.
Remember the woman caught in adultery from John 8:3-11? It’s a fan favourite among liberal circles because it emphasizes Jesus’ mercy. Indeed, it is a beautiful and uplifting passage, but the liberals forget the last sentence:
Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.
Just to be clear: sin = bad. Jesus is clearly stating here that her adulterous activities were sinful and must stop. He didn’t say to go and find another hubby and try to stay faithful this time
In Matt 15:10-20 and Mark 7:14-23, Jesus teaches his disciples about things that make a person clean or unclean when eating. Jesus tells them that it’s not what goes into the mouth makes someone unclean. Au contraire:
But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.( Matt 15:18-20)
Whoa, Jesus. Adultery defiles a person? Isn’t that a bit inflammatory? What about openness and compassion, dude?
There’s another goodie in the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus teaches about lust (Matt 5:27-28):
You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
In this passage, Jesus is condemning lust. But he does so by comparing it to adultery. He does this to emphasize the gravity of lust by comparing it to the grave sin of adultery. Ergo, he’s also stating that adultery is a grave sin.
Episodes 8 and 9
On two occasions, the religious leaders ask Jesus to perform a sign (Matt 12:38-42 and Matt 16:1-4). He doesn’t take too favourably to their requests:
An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. (Matt 12:39)
If Jesus is using “adulterous” jointly with “evil” to denounce his contemporaries, then he obviously thinks adultery is a really bad thing.
Ditto when he condemns those who are afraid to take up their cross and follow him in Mark 8:34-38:
Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
So you see, you don’t need a PhD to understand that what Cardinal Kasper and company are proposing is absolute fallacy. There’s no way that Jesus would have tolerated it. In centuries past, Cardinal Kasper might have been tried for heresy. It’s that obvious. A no-brainer really. It’s scandalous that we’d even waste 5 minutes having this discussion, let alone 20 months from the beginning in February 2014 until it ends in October 2015.
But fight we must because the liberals won’t let it go. That much is clear from the fact that the three controversial paragraphs which were voted down by the Synod Fathers were still included in the final document and will be distributed to dioceses around the world for “discussion.” I don’t know how your job works, but for me, when I write a document and my boss strikes three paragraphs, that means they’re gone. Adios. They’d better not show up in my next draft.
So we’re in for a fight. Hunker down and pray for strength. You’re gonna need it.