Catholics/Apostle Paul


QUESTION: My best friend, who died last year, was catholic, and his brother, who I am very close to, is also catholic. I was taken to task about this with them, so I am hoping for a more authoritative answer. Why does catholicism dismiss so much of Pauls writings, especially on divorce and marriage. Should Pauls writings be in the bible? He claims to have received his gospel directly from Christ himself, so if true why does catholicism shy away from him, and if not true, why should his writings be in the bible? Thank you, Phil

ANSWER: I believe Catholicism is very influenced by and respectful of Paul. Could you be more specific? Are you possibly confusing the idea of "divorce" with "annulment"? If so, these are very different. A quick Google search should clarify. If that's not it, some precise Biblical references as to what you're talking about would be helpful. Thanks.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for getting back to me. Sorry it took so long for me to respond. Most of Pauls instructions I am referring to is in the 7th chapter of 1st Corinthians. 1 Corinthians 7:15
But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

If the spouse insists on leaving, even tho you have tried your best to dissuade them, you are not under bondage then. That means free. That is pretty plain words, would you not agree?

I see that you have pinpointed a sticky point. There's a lot of debate on the web about this among Christians. For Catholics, you might want to pose the question here:

But first, read over this. It's long, but the question can get complicated:


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Michael Clark, Ph.D.


I'm a progressive Catholic--not a liberal, conservative nor a single-minded critic of Catholicism. I simply believe that adults in the 21C should use the mind God gave them and not just repeat ancient and medieval modes of thinking.

I can probably help with questions that intelligently and respectfully question those aspects of Catholicism that are not infallible. But if you're looking for someone to vigorously defend or perhaps refute Catholicism as a whole, that's not me. So please ask another expert.


I run an educational website and know what the web has to offer. I might suggest hyperlinks and/or book titles as I have a Ph.D. in Religious Studies and a considerable personal library.

Print Media:
My table from "Religions and Cults" at is reproduced with permission in L. Lindsey, S. Beach and B. Ravelli, Core Concepts in Sociology, 2nd ed., p. 157

World Wide Web:
My online article "Letter to God" coauthored with Buddhist monk, E. Raymond Rock, appears on several different spirituality-based websites, including

I've interviewed, as a Christian, a self-proclaimed mystic:

My articles appeared at the former New View magazine and are published at

Ph.D. in Religious Studies
M.A. in Comparative Religion
B.A. Hon. in Psychology/Sociology
For more info, please see my CV and letters of recommendation and my blog at

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