Matthew 5:32

But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, except for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Serm. in Mont., i, 14: By interposing this delay in the mode of putting away, the lawgiver showed as clearly as it could be shown to hard hearts, that hehated strife and disagreement. The Lord then so confirms this backwardness in the Law, as to except only one case, “the cause of fornication;” every other inconvenience which may have place, He bids us bear with patience inconsideration of the plighted troth of wedlock. Yea, more, He declares the man who marries her who is put away an adulterer. Retract., i, 19, 6: Yet I would not have the reader think this disputation ofours sufficient in a matter so arduous; for not every sin is spiritual fornication, nor does God destroy every sinner, for He hears His saints daily crying to Him, “Forgive us our debts;” but every man who goes a whoring and forsakes Him, him He destroys. Whether this be the fornication for which divorce is allowed is a most knotty question - for it is no question at all that it is allowed for the fornication by carnal...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
And accordingly the Lord Himself in another passage, when a question was asked Him as to this matter, gave this reply: Moses did so because of the hardness of your hearts. For however hard-hearted a man may be who wishes to put away his wife, when he reflects that, on a writing of divorcement being given her, she could then without risk marry another, he would be easily appeased. Our Lord, therefore, in order to confirm that principle, that a wife should not lightly be put away, made the single exception of fornication; but enjoins that all other annoyances, if any such should happen to spring up, be borne with fortitude for the sake of conjugal fidelity and for the sake of chastity; and he also calls that man an adulterer who should marry her that has been divorced by her husband. And the Apostle Paul shows the limit of this state of affairs, for he says it is to be observed as long as her husband lives; but on the husband's death he gives permission to marry. For he himself also held...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
But it is rather that statement which the Lord Himself makes in another passage which is wont to disturb the minds of the little ones, who nevertheless earnestly desire to live now according to the precepts of Christ: If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. For it may seem a contradiction to the less intelligent, that here He forbids the putting away of a wife saving for the cause of fornication, but that elsewhere He affirms that no one can be a disciple of His who does not hate his wife. But if He were speaking with reference to sexual intercourse, He would not place father, and mother, and brothers in the same category. But how true it is, that the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and they that use violence take it by force! For how great violence is necessary, in order that a man may love his enemies, and hate his father, and mother, and wife, and children...
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Cornelius a Lapide

AD 1637
But I say unto you, &c. Christ here corrects and settles the law of divorce1. Because the law easily conceded divorce for various causes. But Christ permits it only on account of fornication, if a wife be an adulteress; and from an adulterer the innocent wife is at liberty to depart, according to that maxim, "If a man break his marriage vow that may be broken with him." 2. The Law conceded both to the woman who was put away, and to the husband who repudiated her, the liberty of contracting a second marriage. But Christ denies it to both3. The Law conceded to the husband alone the power of giving a writing of divorcement. But Christ, with respect to this matrimonial right places the man and the woman upon a perfect equality, as S. Paul teaches, 1 Corinthians 7:4. Except for the cause of fornication. By fornication here some understand any sin whatever, that Isaiah , in the form of a sort of spiritual fornication with any creature, leaving God, the Creator and Husband of the Soul. Thus...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Excepting the cause of fornication. A divorce or separation as to bed and board, may be permitted for some weighty causes in Christian marriages; but even then, he that marrieth her that is dismissed, commits adultery. As to this, there is no exception. The bond of marriage is perpetual; and what God hath joined, no power on earth can separate. See again Matthew xix. 9. (Witham) The knot of marriage is so sacred a tie, that the separation of the parties cannot loosen it, it being not lawful for either of the parties to marry again upon a divorce. (St. Augustine, de bon. conjug. chap. vii.) (Bristow) ...

Glossa Ordinaria

AD 1480
Non occ.: The Lord had taught us above that our neighbour’s wife was not to be coveted, He now proceeds to teach that our own wife is not to be put away.
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Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
But the Lord who brought peace and goodwill on earth, would have it reign especially in the matrimonial bond. To these then the law would send him whom it bid to give a writing of divorcement, when he would put away his wife, who mediating between him and his wife, might set them at one again, unless in minds too wayward to be moved by counsels of peace. Thus then He neither completed, by adding words to it, the law of them of old time, nor did He destroy the Law given by Moses by enacting things contrary to it, as Manichaeusaffirmed; but rather repeated and approved all that the Hebrew Law contained, so that whatever He spoke in His own person more than it had, had in view either explanation, which in divers obscure places of the Law was greatly needed, or the more punctual observance of its enactments. ...


AD 420
For touching Moses’ allowance of divorce, the Lord and Saviour more fully explains in conclusion, that it was because of the hardness of the hearts of the husbands, not so much sanctioning discord, as checking bloodshed.
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John Chrysostom

AD 407
And observe Him everywhere addressing His discourse to the man. Thus, He that puts away his wife, says He, causes her to commit adultery, and he that marries a woman put away, commits adultery. That is, the former, though he take not another wife, by that act alone has made himself liable to blame, having made the first an adulteress; the latter again has become an adulterer by taking her who is another's. For tell me not this, the other has cast her out; nay, for when cast out she continues to be the wife of him that expelled her. Then lest He should render the wife more self-willed, by throwing it all upon him who cast her out, He has shut against her also the doors of him who was afterwards receiving her; in that He says, He who marries her that is put away commits adultery; and so makes the woman chaste even though unwilling, and blocks up altogether her access to all, and suffers her not to give an occasion for jealousy. For she who has been made aware that she positively must eit...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
For when Moses brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, they were indeed Hebrews in race, but Egyptians in manners. And it was caused by the Gentile manners that the husband hated the wife; and if he was not permitted to put her away, he was ready either to kill her or ill-treat her. Moses therefore suffered a bill of divorcement, not because it was a good practice in itself, but was the prevention of a worse evil. If we ought to bear the burdens of strangers, in obedience to that of the Apostles, “Bear ye one another’s burdens,” how much more that of our wives and husbands? The Christian husband ought not only to keep himself from any defilement, but to be careful not to give others occasion of defilement; for so is their sin imputed to him who gave the occasion. Whoso then by putting away his wife gives another man occasion of committing adultery, is condemned for that crime himself. Say not here, It is enough her husband has put her away; for even after she isput away she contin...
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John Chrysostom

AD 407
How can one who is meek and a peacemaker and poor in spirit and merciful cast out his wife? How can one who reconciles be alienated from her that is his own? … Even in this case he makes one exception: “for the cause of fornication.” One who does not look with unchaste eyes upon another woman will certainly not commit fornication. By not committing fornication he will give no occasion that they should become alienated. Thus you see Jesus presses his point without reserve and builds up this fear as a bulwark, urging on the husband great danger, who if he does cast her out, makes himself accountable for her adultery. The Gospel of Matthew, Homily ...

Theodore the Stratelates

AD 319
Through these things he clearly teaches that it is not unreasonable divorce which dissolves a marriage in God’s sight. Rather, irresponsible action dissolves a marriage, even if the divorce is legal. For the whole teaching of Christ judges things according to one’s disposition.
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Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
Christ does not abolish the Mosaic decrees but corrects them by making the husband fearful of hating his wife without cause. If he divorces her with good cause, that is, if she has committed adultery, he is not condemned. But if there has been no fornication, he is condemned, for by divorcing her he compels her to commit adultery. And he that takes her is also an adulterer, for if he had not taken her she would have returned and submitted to her husband. For a Christian must be a peacemaker, both towards others and even more so towards his own wife. ...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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