If Oprah says it's o.k.

I was folding clothes in the living room and turned on the TV for background noise.

After interviewing women over sixty who spoke candidly about the great sex they're having and the pleasures of having a 'friend with benefits', Oprah introduced the next guests, a husband and wife living in an 'open marriage'.

This means that the wife has a boyfriend who also knew them both in college. He comes over and the three of them play a board game or watch a movie and then the two go into the guest room while the husband retires for the night. The husband said he had to get over some jealousy at first, but they are happy and do plan on spending the rest of their lives together. All their friends know about it, so it's not some dirty secret. It's just how their marriage is, and they acknowledge it might not be right for everyone.

Oprah said that she and her staff were pretty floored when they learned about this. But before getting too judgmental, they figured plenty of couples are having extramarital affairs, so it's not like this is unheard of-- it's just that this couple is being upfront about it instead of betraying each other. And the husband said he does not feel betrayal because he consents to it, and she said she doesn't feel like it's adultery.

So here at CatholicLand, let's clarify:

HAVING SEX WITH SOMEONE WHO IS NOT YOUR SPOUSE IS ADULTERY, especially if the husband consents to it. That actually makes it worse, because then both spouses have been unfaithful to their vows.

It doesn't have to feel wrong in order to be wrong.

Pagan Rome also had this cavalier notion of marriage. It was expected that men should have a consort other than their wives. Senators were frowned upon if they didn't- it was seen as a lack of virility. The wife said she has enough love for both her husband and her boyfriend. She has enjoyed knowing someone else after only ever knowing one man. She only proceeded with her husband's permission. Lechery is just as ugly in a sleazy old Roman as it is in a dutiful wife.

I hope the catechists are ready for this.

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