Skip to main contentAccessibility feedback

Dear Catholic.com visitor: Summer is here, and you may be thinking about a well-deserved vacation, family get-togethers, BBQs with neighborhood friends. More than likely, making a donation to Catholic Answers is not on your radar right now. But this is exactly the time we most need your help. The “summer slowdown” in donations is upon us, but the work of spreading the gospel and explaining and defending the Faith never takes a break. Your gift today will change lives and save souls for Christ this summer! The reward is eternal. Thank you and God bless.

Dear Catholic.com visitor: Summer is here, and you may be thinking about a well-deserved vacation, family get-togethers, BBQs with neighborhood friends. More than likely, making a donation to Catholic Answers is not on your radar right now. But this is exactly the time we most need your help. The “summer slowdown” in donations is upon us, but the work of spreading the gospel and explaining and defending the Faith never takes a break. Your gift today will change lives and save souls for Christ this summer! The reward is eternal. Thank you and God bless.

If Jesus made an exception for divorce in cases of adultery, why doesn’t the Church?

Question:

In Matthew 19:3-9 when the Pharisees are questioning Jesus about divorce, Jesus seems to make an exception in the case of adultery. Why, then, doesn’t the Catholic Church follow what Jesus says in the Bible and allow divorce in such circumstances?

Answer:

Let us recall first of all that Matthew’s audience was mainly Jews, and only Matthew’s Gospel has this exception clause.

The word “adultery” is not what Jesus said, although many Bible translations use this word. If Jesus intended to say adultery, he would have used the word moicheia, meaning “adultery,” but instead he used the word porneia, meaning illicit or invalid.

His audience, the Jews, knew exactly what Jesus meant. Leviticus 18:6-16 list marriages that are illegal for Jews because they are between certain degrees of consanguinity or were with a Gentile, which was forbidden. The Jews knew this, and this is why Matthew’s Gospel includes this exception. The Catholic Church does follow what Jesus says, when his words are properly translated.

Did you like this content? Please help keep us ad-free
Enjoying this content?  Please support our mission!Donatewww.catholic.com/support-us