October 2, 2014

Cardinal Burke: "Whoever divorces his wife, and marries another, commits adultery"

Raymond Cardinal Burke explains why he hopes October's synod of bishops will close the debate over Cardinal Walter Kasper's proposal to make it easier for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion.


  1. Jesus qualified that one remark by saying that sexual infidelity was apparently good grounds for divorce, and I suspect that is behind a lot of divorces today even among Catholics. I should think that if, on peril of his or her immortal soul, a husband or wife told the priest that his wife/her husband had been unfaithful and they were now divorced that would be enough to allow the priest to marry the innocent party to another without the bother of an annulment. Is that the case anyway, or is it something that should be looked at?

  2. > sexual infidelity was apparently good grounds for divorce

    We have to be a bit careful here. The Greek word "pornia" has quite a range of meanings: http://biblehub.com/greek/4202.htm. For example, this could refer to invalid marriages, such as where the spouses are too closely related.

    Also, it's worth noting that this "exception" isn't included in Mark and Luke, only Matthew, which must colour our understanding of what this "exception" might be.

    1. A good source for translation is one of the two oldest extant Bibles in existence the Codex Sinaiticus, which dates from the early 300's. it has been scanned and digitalized for everybody to access. it is as good as it gets although it has its own translation, you could double check it by seeking a good translation engine. I have used Google Translate but I have found it not to be very good.

    2. here's the website

  3. The exception in Matthew refers to 'unlawful marriage' (like marrying your father's wife.) This is how the Church has always understood this passage. If ordinary adultery, which precedes so many divorces, were enough to annul marriages, then one wonders why Mark 10:11-12 and Luke 16:18 would fail to mention it, but if 'pornea' refers to incestual marriages then it makes sense why they would pass over this rare exception.

  4. Allowing for divorce is not the same as allowing for remarriage of the divorced. The second footfall is the issue at hand.

  5. Please read Joe Heschmeyer’s (Seminarian, Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas) article: Divorce and Remarriage in the Case of Adultery: What Does the Bible Really Say?


    His exposition of Mt 5:32. 19:9 et. al, Leviticus, and 1 Cor 5:1 considering the original Greek, coupled with the Teaching of the Council of Trent is very illuminating.