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65. Plurality of Wives

1. The natural law is, as we have said many times, theeternal law of God for right human conduct, inasmuch as this lawcan be known by sound reason without divine revelation. It may becalled man's natural awareness of what is right and fitting.Whatever upsets the normal proportion of an action or state, withreference to its end or purpose, is contrary to the natural law.Now, a simultaneous plurality of wives upsets the sane balance andproportion of marriage with reference to its end; at least it doesso in a secondary way. For, though children may be begotten of manywives, and well reared too, yet a peaceful and united family life,which pertains to the welfare of offspring (the chief end ofmarriage), is rendered impossible in such circumstances. Besides,simultaneous plurality of wives destroys that blessing of marriagecalled fidelity, which is the exclusive use of maritalrights by one husband and one wife. Further, if there be severalwives, spouses cannot really be two in one flesh. For all thesereasons, we say that simultaneous plurality of wives is in conflictwith the natural law.

2. And yet this conflict with the natural law does nottouch that law in its primary precepts, but in secondary ones. And,before the institution of matrimony as a sacrament, God, in the OldLaw, permitted to some a plurality of wives-this, by way ofexception. The primary requirement of the natural law respectingmarriage is that offspring be generated, born, and well reared;this is the essential good of offspring; this can beattained even with plurality of wives.

3. It is certainly contrary to the natural law, as it isin conflict with Christian morality, for a man to have a concubineor mistress as well as a wife.

4. It is unquestionably a mortal sin for a man to make useof a concubine; this is plainly the terrible sin of adultery.

5. In the Old Testament, in cases where, by divinedispensation, plurality of wives was permitted, these wives wereoften called concubines, yet they were not really so in theaccurate meaning of that term.

"It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not to look ahead where eternal joy abides. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"Obedience is a short cut to perfection."
St Philip Neri

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"Shun too great a desire for knowledge, for in it there is much fretting and delusion. Intellectuals like to appear learned and to be called wise. Yet there are many things the knowledge of which does little or no good to the soul, and he who concerns himself about other things than those which lead to salvation is very unwise. "
Thomas á Kempis

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