Last Friday night I was invited on Night Side with Dan Rea on WBZ radio in Boston. The topic was supposed to be Spirituality but like all news stories last week, the Tiger Woods situation dominated the program.
One of the areas that no one is talking about in this whole strange situation in the morality of what happened. People have been too quick to excuse the action of Mr. Woods because of the amount of pressure that he is under and all of the women that throw themselves at him. So, leaving aside the actions of the day let us turn to the morality of the situation.
To put a fine point on it what we are talking about here adultery. According to Exodus 20:14 “Thou shall not Commit Adultery. Webster’s dictionary defines Adultery as “The voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person with someone not the spouse.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church 2380 states “Adultery refers to marital infidelity. When two partners, of whom at least one is married to another party, have sexual relations they commit adultery.” 2381 states, “Adultery is an injustice. He who commits adultery fails in his commitment. He does an injustice to the sign of the covenant which the marriage bond is, transgresses the rights of the other spouse, and undermines the institution of marriage by breaking the contract on which it is based.”
So why is it that we speak about how terrible it was that the Woods’ are having such troubles and how bad it was the Mrs. Woods chased Mr. Woods down the street with a nine iron but no one is speaking about marital infidelity?
According to various sources it would seem that 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have extra-marital affairs or in other words commit adultery. With all of these people out there having sex with people they are not married too why are we not talking about this aspect of the situation?
The Orthodox Church, to which I belong, has always taught that Adultery has always been condemned as a violation of the marriage bond. And the “sin” of adultery is unworthy of the Christian life. It seems that one cannot turn on the television news or pick up a newspaper without reading of one person or another that is having an affair. I would argue that the lives of celebrities are not news but that is for another day.
As we continue to scratch away at the very fabric of our society is there any room for adultery? Are we, as clergy, preparing couples enough for the difficulties of marriage and therefore are we complicit in this situation?
One of the other interesting conversations centered on the happiness of the Woods’ married life. I find it interesting that everyone is an expert on everyone else’s marriage. I am also amazed at the conversation that since he was not “getting” it so to speak at home it is okay for him to stray. How absurd this conversation is.
I am not married and I have never been married but I understand that marriages are complex relationships. These relationships require work, hard work each and very day. They require that both partners communicate their needs to the other and that the other is able to do the same. In other words communication is the key in any relationship.
So where do we go from here? Let me hear from you now.