Dear brothers, can one fall in love with a divorced person (who was married in the Church)? Could this be an authentic love or just a sentimental illusion? In the situation that I’m talking about, there are the following conditions: a) There is no sexual desire for the other person, b) there is the intention to be married within the Church, and c) kisses and caresses would be excluded from the relationship. Could they be “intimate” friends while feeling a special affection for the other and not commit a sin?
Matrimonial fidelity is not limited to the sexual sphere but it starts with the sentimental or affective sphere. Not only the body of the married person belongs to the spouse but also the heart, which can’t belong to anyone else.
A divorced person is still bound before God to her spouse. For this reason it is evident that they cannot give their intimate feelings to anyone else.
A licit friendship between persons who find themselves in the state as described by above is very distinct from being in love. For those persons, this friendship is licit as far as it does not become an occasion of “falling in love”. But precisely an intimate friendship and affection between a single men and a married woman, could they not fall in love?
There is a reason why the saying goes, “between a holy man and a holy woman there is a under lock and key” and also “the man is the flame, the woman the ember; in comes the devil to spread the fire.” Many thunderous falls have been caused by friendships disguised as “holy.” This wise adage is attributed to Saint Augustine: “Spiritual love begets affectionate love; affectionate love begets submissive love; submissive love begets an intimate love, and an intimate love begets carnal love.”
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