20 November 2015

The Semantics of Adultery

No, I am not going to follow the advice of one Comment and desist from using the term 'Adulterers' for 'Remarried Divorcees'.

I've only recently started using it; I'm not naturally a terribly in-your-face sort of person.

One reason for using it would be because "My Father was a Yorshireman and he believed in calling a Spade a Spade". But my Father was most certainly not a Yorkshireman. (Reminds me of a joke by Mr A F Wells of Univ, lecturing in 1960 on Horace, who observed that the difference between the Odes and the Epodes was that in the latter Horace felt free to call a spado a spado.)

My reason would be this. People ask why Divorce, or Marital Breakdown, should be the only Sin which is apparently unforgiveable in the Catholic Church. They don't realise that nobody is claiming that. Nothing at all in the past is too bad for absolution; quite the opposite. But the point is that Remarried Divorcees who have no intention of ceasing a sexual relationship are in fact unrepentant adulterers, because their continuing relationship was described by the Lord as Adultery. Because in His sight they are not married. Or so he said. And, frankly, I don't see how he could have expressed himself more clearly than he did.

The adulterous male is ontologically still married to his "first" wife. Their Marriage still subsists. That is why, every time he and his new Missus embark upon eune kai eros they are ... committing Adultery. But terms like 'ontological' are not part of the common currency of popular discourse.

This is what people don't understand about Catholic teaching; and why it is important to call an Adulterer an Adulterer. This has to be repeated, has to be explained again, because people find it hard to understand how X and Y are still "married in the sight of God", as Jesus of Nazaereth explained, even when they have each got a divorce and 'married' someone else. Even if their later unions have the appearance of marriages, and of a good marriages, and even if they are naturally kind and pleasant people.


Little Black Sambo said...

Never mind; when marriage has been replaced by habitual fornication, there will be no more adulterers.

Little Black Sambo said...

Never mind; when marriage has been replaced by habitual fornication, there will be no more adulterers.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Cardinal Sarah has an article in to-morrow's edition of L'Homme Nouveau in which he sets out the orthodox position on remarriage as Adultery. As the Cardinal in charge of the Sacraments, which include marriage. his article strikes me as a direct challenge to anyone who might be thinking of saying something different. Extracts, in English, can be read at:


I look forward to Cardinal Sarah as the next Pope. His book 'God or Nothing' is the most brilliant book I have read in years.

KaeseEs said...


I am continually astonished that some consider this identification of sexual relations with a new pseudospouse (that is, someone other than the sacramental spouse) as adultery to be a modern gloss and an imposition on our Lord's words. Besides our Lord's own speech being remarkably perspicuous and repetitive in this matter as if to hammer the point home to a stiff-necked people, it is well known that St. Augustine, the very image of contrition himself, presses this point very firmly in his work On the Good of Marriage. Which I believe is quoted in Gaudium et Spes for those who think everything written before 1962 is past its use-by date.

Deacon Augustine said...

"Let your "Yes" be "Yes" and your "No" be "No" - anything else is from the devil." To quote somebody who believed His Kingdom was about Truth, who came into this world to give testimony to the Truth, and who called Himself the Truth.

To those sentimentalists who would say that calling the divorced and remarried "adulterers" is against the "spirit of the Gospel", I would suggest they actually read the Gospel and they will find that the spirit is even more exacting than the letter: "If you look on a woman lustfully, you are already guilty of adultery in your heart."

But I guess we are not supposed to take that literally either in the modernist world of Kasper the goat.

Nicolas Bellord said...

KaeseES: You need to read Dr Anne-Marie Pelletier who spoke at the Shadow Synod in May 2015 organised by the Bishops' Conferences of France, Germany and Switzerland. Her idea is that time have changed and the teaching of Christ is no longer relevant. We should no longer think of fidelity but have a new ideal of successive fidelities. Over the ages experience has given the lie to the Church's teaching on indissolubility. She thinks we are in a completely new age so the Church needs to develop its theology a la Newman. She asks:

"Comment tenir l’exigence d’indissolubilit√© autrement que comme une contrainte arbitraire, une pratique exotique ?"

Poor old Newman!

KaeseEs said...


If anything, it would be refreshing for comments like Dr. Pelletier's to be made publicly by the her party. For one thing, I much prefer to deal with someone who "peccat fortiter" than someone practicing a sort of neo-Pharisaical sophistry that draws imaginary distinctions between belief and practice.

For another thing, the focus on ingnoring Jesus really highlights and brings into start relief the essential unity of the Kasperite and Aryan positions - a total rejection of Jesus Christ as fully God and the substition of a contrived purely human pseudo-Jesus who can be ignored at will in His place.

Nicolas Bellord said...

KaeseEs: You can read the report of the Shadow Synod at:


It is in French, Italian and German. It is really an eye-opener. You can see fuddy-duddy Bishops saying: "Gosh I did not know that. I can't quite put it like that but lets see how close we can sail to the wind". There seems to have been quite a lot of follow-up in those three countries. I commented on them on 19th September and earlier at:


Sometimes they are quite hilarious in what they say. I like the idea of Dr Pelletier that life-long fidelity in marriage is an "exotic practice". It sounds like a custom only found among head-hunters in North Borneo.