by Fr Derek Anton
In the February 18 CN issue, Msgr Michael de Verteuil wrote the following letter to the Editor: “Recently the Catholic News has carried letters referring to Amoris Laetitia and the need for clarity on a point which the writers feel contradicts the teaching of Jesus on the indissolubility of marriage. But, in fact, Jesus allows for dissolution in certain cases (Mt 19:9) as does St Paul (1 Cor 7:10–15). The Church also allows the ‘Petrine Privilege’ in favour of dissolution of some marriages.” Chaguanas parish priest Fr Derek Anton comments.
I would like to offer a different perspective specifically in relation to the Biblical reference to Mt 19:9. In the Jerusalem Bible (JB), which we use in the Lectionary at Mass, the text for Mt 19:9 says: “Now I say this to you: the man who divorces his wife—I am not speaking of fornication—and marries another, is guilty of adultery.” Without doubt, it is the phrase “I am not speaking of fornication” that is taken as suggesting an ‘exception’ to the indissolubility of marriage. This seems even clearer in a similar statement in Mt 5:32 (JB) when Jesus says: “…except for the case of fornication…”