In today’s society, chastity is being neglected. Various offenses to God are normalized. Sins are not sins anymore. I remember in one news, an anchor reported how some people related themselves to characters in a film with infidelity as the theme. I couldn’t help but feel bad, realizing that it already has become part of this world’s usuals. Nevertheless, I also knew some guilty of this grave sin who repented, who changed. Those who once in their lives asked themselves “will God forgive me for adultery?”
But, really, will God absolve those who commit this sin?
Adultery is a grave sin. The Catholic Church is consistent with its stand on this matter.
CCC 2380 “Adultery refers to marital infidelity. When two partners, of whom at least one is married to another party, have sexual relations – even transient ones – they commit adultery. Christ condemns even adultery of mere desire. The sixth commandment and the New Testament forbid adultery absolutely. The prophets denounce the gravity of adultery; they see it as an image of the sin of idolatry.”
CCC 2381 “Adultery is an injustice. He who commits adultery fails in his commitment. He does injury 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. He compromises the good of human generation and the welfare of children who need their parents’ stable union.”
Committing adultery has spiritual consequences. But despite its seriousness, it is still forgivable.
Is adultery forgiven in the Bible?
Yes. Adultery is forgiven in the Bible. One of the famous passages about it is the gospel John 8:1-11.
It talks about a woman caught in adultery. According to the law, the punishment for this sin is death through stoning. But in this case, Jesus did not condemn the woman but forgave her and asked her to sin no more.
It is a powerful passage for it brings light to those who are weary, thinking that they cannot receive forgiveness because of this sin.
Adultery is a grave sin but with repentance, it is pardonable.
Mortal or Venial Sin
Is adultery a mortal sin? Or just venial?
Before we answer that, let’s first have a recap of the definitions of the two.
The Catholic Church has two categories of sin depending on their gravity. Mortal or venial.
A sin is mortal if the following conditions are met.
- It must involve grave matter (like inflicting grave harm to others)
- Committed with full knowledge that it is a grave sin
- Committed with deliberate consent
Let’s use adultery as an example.
If one had an illicit relationship with a married individual, aware that it is a sin but still pursued it, then there is a mortal sin.
First, adultery is a grave matter as it is against the sixth commandment.
“You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Another one is that person committed it with full knowledge. It means there was an awareness that it is a sin.
Lastly, committed it with full consent. Despite the fact that there was an awareness of how sinful it was, it was still deliberately carried out.
Note that all conditions must be present. If a sin does not contain even just one of these conditions, it will then fall as venial.
According to a Redemptorist Priest, Fr. JM, CSsR, since this is a grave offense, those who are guilty must confess it regardless of whether it’s venial or mortal.
Now, let’s answer the question.
Will God forgive me for adultery?
Yes, God will forgive you for adultery. Through the Sacrament of Confession, a soul can receive the grace of mercy and forgiveness from God. But it doesn’t end there you need to repent and change.
Note that one sign of true repentance is correcting the sin. Since it has to do with another individual, they must end their illicit relationship and change. It may be hard but it is impossible that you to repent and at the same time continue sinning. Remember the passage, “Go, and from now on and sin no more.”
We all make mistakes. This is our nature. We will continuously fall. But this does not make God love us any less. After the fall, we must bounce back. This time, stronger. This is what I love about our Catholic Faith! In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we can have another chance to redeem ourselves and to do better.
If you are guilty of adultery, it is not too late. God is waiting for you in the confession. He will listen. He will forgive you. Just be open to Him. Meet Him and receive His grace.
Saint Gangulphus of Burgundy, Patron Saint against Adultery, pray for us.