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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.

"God gives us some things, as the beginning of faith, even when we do not pray. Other things, such as perseverance, he has only provided for those who pray."
St Augustine

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"It is better to be burdened and in company with the strong than to be unburdened and with the weak. When you are burdened you are close to God, your strength, who abides with the afflicted. When you are relieved of the burden you are close to yourself, your own weakness; for virtue and strength of soul grow and are confirmed in the trials of patience."
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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"There is nothing which gives greater security to our actions, or more effectually cuts the snares the devil lays for us, than to follow another person’s will, rather than our own, in doing good."
St Philip Neri

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