The sixth Commandment states: “Thou shalt not commit adultery”. It is fundamentally based on the Divine Will: “… a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). From this we understand that marriage is a union between man and woman and that it was established by God himself.
What is adultery? Adultery is defined as carnal connection between a married person and one unmarried or between a married person and the spouse of another. It differs from fornication in so far as adultery presupposes the marriage of one or both of the agents.
Adultery is forbidden for the following reasons:
• Adultery is a marital infidelity. It is because a married partner becomes unfaithful to the other “… So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:5-6).
• The offender commits a sin against the institution of marriage, the Sacrament of love. Marriage is contracted with the mutual consent of the spouses, who promise in God’s name to safeguard and live faithfully the bond of love. St. Paul instructs firmly that the marital partners are to protect the Sacramental love: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25).
God commanded his people to be faithful in marriage and to respect one another’s vow exchanged in His presence. Adultery devalues this commitment, made between husband and wife before God. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’. But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28). With this, Jesus forbids not only an act of adultery but also immodest looks.
Even though adultery is a grievous sin against God and against the marital spouse, it is a forgivable sin. We have a clear example of an adulterous woman being brought before Jesus for his verdict. The final verdict of Jesus was: “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again” (John 8:11). Jesus has manifested His forgiving love to the woman accused of having committed adultery. Hence, the sin of adultery is a forgivable sin. It is through the Sacrament of reconciliation (Confession), the offender can confess and ask for God’s forgiveness and absolution
from the priest.
May God bless all the spouses
Fr. Arul Joseph V