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Questions and Answers

My husband is living with another woman and is, of course committing adultery. What is the catholic doctrine in regards to me having sex with my husband while he is committing adultery? Is it a sin for me that I am condoning his sin? I am aware there are civil implications but I am more concerned with the religious at this point. I know if and when we divorce, I may never remarry or have sex with another man, but AM I allowed to have sex with my husband?

 
There are several issues to consider here. First, the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us (§ 1868) that “we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them” (a) by participating directly and voluntarily in them; (b) by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them; (c) by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so; and (d) by protecting evil-doers. In your case, item (c) seems most applicable, for by continuing to have sex with your husband, even as you know he is committing adultery with another woman, you in effect “tell” him that he can have his cake and eat it too—and that does nothing to hinder the perpetuation of his sin.

Second, unless you are past the age of childbearing, you must consider the matter of your getting pregnant if you continue to have sexual contact with your husband. How could you justify bringing a child into the world knowing that your husband might eventually abandon the entire family? The only way to absolutely avoid getting pregnant, of course, is to not have sex.

And then you have to wonder why you would want to have sex with someone who so blatantly defiles your human dignity. To put yourself willingly into such a position would be to defile your own body—the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Finally, there is the issue of divorce itself. Yes, your husband has betrayed you, but the Christian faith demands that you not betray him in return. In Holy Matrimony you have entered into a covenant that cannot be broken, and you have an obligation—as his Christian wife and as the mother of your children—to remain faithful to your husband. For the sake of your own soul and as an example to your children it is very important that you, like other women such as Saint Monica and Saint Rita, be an example of purity to your husband and pray constantly for his repentance.

Step-by-step instructions for praying
The Chaplet of Saint Rita

 

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