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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.

"Though the path is plain and smooth for people of good will, those who walk it will not travel far, and will do so only with difficulty if they do not have good feet, courage, and tenacity of spirit. "
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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"O Lord, my God, who will seek you with simple and pure love, and not find that you are all one can desire, for you show yourself first and go out to meet those who seek you? "
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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"Before a man chooses his confessor, he ought to think well about it, and pray about it also; but when he has once chosen, he ought not to change, except for most urgent reasons, but put the utmost confidence in his director."
St Philip Neri

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