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Fatherly Advice: Struggling With Chastity After Divorce


A listener named Tom asks for Fatherly Advice. Tom explains that he was married for 21 years and is in the process of annulment, however he has entered a new relationship. Tom shares that he’s discouraged over his struggles with chastity and inability to receive Communion, but he also doesn’t want to end his relationship with his girlfriend. 

Father Dave asks Tom if he thinks he will lose his girlfriend if he explains to her that he wants to wait until marriage to be intimate. “I think that will definitely cause a struggle, yes,” Tom responds. “She was baptized a Catholic, but is not practicing, and we’ve had some arguments about our faith. It’s a goal of mine to bring her back into her faith, but I’m not as optimistic on that as I could be.” Tom shares that his girlfriend is also divorced.

Father Dave responds, “I applaud you for seemingly having the conscience to say I believe strongly enough in my faith that I can’t be two-faced about it … I would begin there and say that the Holy Spirit is planting that in you and that’s real. Because you’re not saying there’s some rule written on the church door and I have to abide by this. I hear you saying that this is coming from inside you.”

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“Thomas Aquinas said we cannot go against our properly formed conscience,” Father Dave adds. “And your conscience has been formed well enough to know that what you’re doing is against God’s will for us and you’re saying it doesn’t feel right. The immediate result of that is the fact that you’re not going to Communion. And you realize that you’re not going to Communion because it’s a bigger deal. The reason why we say that is because we believe that when we commit grave sin that we have taken ourselves outside of communion with God and with the Church. And we don’t want that. That’s a situation that should not persist. Not just because it feels a little awkward to go up for Communion, but for the sake of our eternal life. So, it sounds like that’s welling up inside you, and it’s not like I have to wag my finger at you and tell you to do the right thing.”

Tom explains that he’s struggling because he feels that he has to end this relationship. Father Dave responds, “The fact that chastity is a deal-breaker for people is sad to me in our modern world. It’s not like it’s never again. Okay, it might take six months or a year to get an annulment … It’s saying, ‘This is what my value is and I would like us to do that,’ and she could join you in that value and say, ‘let’s try it.’ Because quite frankly, if it’s someone that you’re looking to marry, that’s not going to be the most challenging thing that you’ll experience in your married life. That’s why the Church says this. We’re perceived as so backwards, but the idea is if we can’t be on the same page about something like this [chastity] then what about the bigger issues that come into our lives that will be much more of a challenge? Because of our bond together, I’m there for better or for worse. That’s why we say sex and marriage go together like that … My heart goes out to you, but if she doesn’t love you enough to respect you and say, ‘Okay, this is what matters to you, I’ll wait,’ then as much as you love her, it’s not mutual enough to be the lasting relationship that we consider to be marriage.” Original Air 7-09-19