Catechism of the Catholic Church

574 Part Three 2386 It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law. There is a considerable difference between a spouse who has sincerely tried to be faithful to the sacrament of marriage and is unjustly abandoned, and one who through his own grave fault destroys a canonically valid marriage. 179 Other offenses against the dignity of marriage 2387 The predicament of a man who, desiring to convert to the Gospel, is obliged to repudiate one or more wives with whom he has shared years of conjugal life, is understandable. However polygamy is not in accord with the moral law. “[Conjugal] commun­ ion is radically contradicted by polygamy; this, in fact, directly ne­ gates the plan of God which was revealed from the beginning, because it is contrary to the equal personal dignity of men and women who in matrimony give themselves with a love that is total and therefore unique and exclusive.” 180 The Christian who has pre­ viously lived in polygamy has a grave duty in justice to honor the obligations contracted in regard to his former wives and his children. 2388 Incest designates intimate relations between relatives or in-laws within a degree that prohibits marriage between them. 181 St. Paul stigmatizes this especially grave offense: “It is actually reported that there is immorality among you . . . for a man is living with his father’s wife. . . . In the name of the Lord Jesus . . . you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. . . .” 182 Incest corrupts family relationships and marks a regression toward animality. 2389 Connected to incest is any sexual abuse perpetrated by adults on children or adolescents entrusted to their care. The of­ fense is compounded by the scandalous harm done to the physical and moral integrity of the young, who will remain scarred by it all their lives; and the violation of responsibility for their upbringing. 179 Cf. FC 84. 180 FC 19; cf. GS 47 § 2. 181 Cf. Lev 18:7-20. 182 1 Cor 5:1, 4-5. 1640 1610 2356 2207 2285