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View Poll Results: Should someone who has committed adultery confess it to their spouse as well?
Yes 11 55.00%
No 4 20.00%
Hrm... not even gonna attempt to answer this one 5 25.00%
Voters: 20. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 15th April 2002, 10:01 PM
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Adultery and Confession

OK, this subject contains adult material, so if you're not an adult, please do not continue further... you're on an honor system so I expect all you non-adults to comply.

With that said... I am seeking opinions on the following subject:

If someone commits adultery, was truly remorseful and confesses to a priest their sin and do their penance (which does not involve informing their spouse), should they also confess that sin to their spouse, are they obliged to confess their sin to their spouse?

The reason I ask is because on another board I am on, a couple of people disagree with my stance (I'll elaborate in a followup post) that the confessor is not obligated to tell their spouse, and I wanted to see what others think about this very touchy subject.
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  #2  
Old 15th April 2002, 10:12 PM
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On this, I voted no. If the penitent was truly remorseful for the act, has gone to the priest and confessed the sin, and has willingly undertaken the penance given to him/her, I do not feel that the penitent must then seek out their spouse and confess and seek forgiveness from them as well (if the counsel from the priest did not already give that as a penance... ie: family counseling, etc).

Why? Because God alone is 100% merciful. Humans are not. Now, perhaps I'm just being liberal here, but I think that if someone has commited such a sin and were truly remorseful for it, part of their penance is going to be to carry that guilt with them for as long as they live (regardless of the fact that they confessed the sin in the sacrament of Reconciliation). Second, if it was an isolated event, it could have been a mistake never to be repeated, and people do have weaknesses and succumb to temptations. Third, this may cause an irrepairable rift in what could otherwise be a loving marriage.

I understand the gravity of adultery (or at least I believe I do, being married) but I must admit that if my wife (God forbid!) cheated on me, and regretted it immediately and confessed it and knew she would never do it again, I would not want to know. I do not think I could ever put it out of my mind (perhaps given lots and lots of time I could, but knowing myself I probably would not be able to).

Given that it was an isolated incident, it was promptly, remorsefully and honestly confessed to a priest and the penance was performed... I see no reason to rehash an already forgiven sin to someone else. I think it would cause unnecessary pain to all parties involved.

Obviously I would make an exception in matters where the spouse was really a moron and had unprotected sex (hey, if you're going to sin... might as well go all the way and aggravate the procreative purpose) and then possibly could infect their spouse, I think the spouse has a right to know... but otherwise, as much as I hate to use this phrase... "Ignorance is bliss".

Am I the only who feels that way?
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  #3  
Old 15th April 2002, 10:15 PM
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I can't touch this.

I know that in my heart I would probably have to tell my wife because I keep no secrets from her. I trust her completely and know that I would have to be honest and up front.

But that is me.
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  #4  
Old 15th April 2002, 10:15 PM
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Re: Adultery and Confession

Originally posted by nyj
If someone commits adultery, was truly remorseful and confesses to a priest their sin and do their penance (which does not involve informing their spouse), should they also confess that sin to their spouse, are they obliged to confess their sin to their spouse?
Of course! Without honesty and openness, there is no marriage. Living a dishonest marriage is worse than a divorce; it's not even *true*, let alone good. Confess, and seek forgiveness.

(I also think the spouse is morally obliged to accept the apology.)
  #5  
Old 15th April 2002, 10:18 PM
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Originally posted by nyj
Why? Because God alone is 100% merciful. Humans are not.
Sure. But, at the same time, even if God can, should, and *will* forgive your sin against him, it is not necessarily the case that this means no one else has any cause for complaint.

If I have embezzled, and confessed, does that mean the people whose money I stole have somehow been reimbursed? No. You must make amends, and you can't make amends honestly without admitting what you did.

Second, if it was an isolated event, it could have been a mistake never to be repeated, and people do have weaknesses and succumb to temptations. Third, this may cause an irrepairable rift in what could otherwise be a loving marriage.
The rift is already there. If it is not acknowledged, it cannot be healed. God forgives all sins, but even He requires repentance, and repentance implies admission.
  #6  
Old 15th April 2002, 10:56 PM
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Sure. But, at the same time, even if God can, should, and *will* forgive your sin against him, it is not necessarily the case that this means no one else has any cause for complaint.
A person is not necessarily entitled to have full knowledge of all happenings. I will admit that if the adulterer has acted stupidly and has subjected him/her to an STD and then gone and exposed their spouse, then their spouse has the right to know, so they can seek treatment. Otherwise, if it was an isolated instance, I see no reason to place a wedge in what can otherwise be a healthy and happy marriage, with the adulterer learning from their mistake, being all the wiser for it.

If I have embezzled, and confessed, does that mean the people whose money I stole have somehow been reimbursed? No.
I believe we are comparing apples and oranges here. In an embezzlement instance you are damaging a persons ability to live as they should. In the case of adultery, if it was isolated, no such damage is caused. The damage would occur if confessed though (even after already having confessed to a priest).

You must make amends, and you can't make amends honestly without admitting what you did.
You can make amends without having to tell the spouse the ugly details. Amends are made by promising never to do it again, and being a better husband/wife and sticking to it. The spouse may notice the increased devotion to the marriage, but they don't have to know why. A person can be honest with themselves and not have to shout it from the rooftops.

The rift is already there. If it is not acknowledged, it cannot be healed. God forgives all sins, but even He requires repentance, and repentance implies admission.
Repentance means admission to God, not to others. God, through the priest, will administer a suitable penance, and may if the situation warrants, expect more temporal punishment in purgatory... but if the penance is not to divulge the adultery to the spouse, then I do not think the penitent is bound to tell the spouse.
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  #7  
Old 15th April 2002, 11:14 PM
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Well, I don't know what I'd do. Can a priest, as part of your penance, make you confess your sin to your spouse?
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  #8  
Old 15th April 2002, 11:23 PM
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DISCLAIMER: This is my PERSONAL opinion, anyone offended that is your issue not mine and I will not debate about what I believe because that is all it is..my belief.

Here is my 2 cents: First off I would like to say I am not Catholic and I don't have anything against Catholics but I don't believe in confession to a priest. But if one feels they would like to talk to a priest or pastor on matters in their life I see absolutely nothing wrong with that for them. Here is my scriptural reference for my belief on that issue : 1 John 2:1-2 "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."

I voted that the cheating spouse should tell his or her spouse. And here is why I believe that : James 5:16 "Confess your faults one to another and pray for one another, that ye may be healed. The effectual ferverent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

Also since the sin is directly against God and the spouse that was cheated on, I believe in this : Proverbs 28:13 "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy."
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  #9  
Old 15th April 2002, 11:58 PM
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Originally posted by nyj
I believe we are comparing apples and oranges here. In an embezzlement instance you are damaging a persons ability to live as they should. In the case of adultery, if it was isolated, no such damage is caused. The damage would occur if confessed though (even after already having confessed to a priest).
No, damage has been done. You have made the spouse's belief in your fidelity a lie. Falsehood is Satan's game; it should not be endorsed or condoned. "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."



You can make amends without having to tell the spouse the ugly details. Amends are made by promising never to do it again, and being a better husband/wife and sticking to it. The spouse may notice the increased devotion to the marriage, but they don't have to know why. A person can be honest with themselves and not have to shout it from the rooftops.
No one's talking about any rooftops, but if you aren't being honest with your spouse, you aren't married, you're just living together and having sex.


Repentance means admission to God, not to others. God, through the priest, will administer a suitable penance, and may if the situation warrants, expect more temporal punishment in purgatory... but if the penance is not to divulge the adultery to the spouse, then I do not think the penitent is bound to tell the spouse.
That would be a very poor pennance to assign. Repentance is not only something you can do for God; you can repent to the people you have harmed.
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Old 16th April 2002, 12:38 AM
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That was a great post! and awesome verse posted along with it!
Lets turn this around...
If your spouse cheated on YOU, would YOU expect them to tell you? OR would you rather not know? Remember, a vow, is broken, a promise is broken, your spouse cheatedon you....would you want to know? What would you do if you heard it from someone else?
hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
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