This Commandment appears to belong to another time and place, even though there still exist countries in which adultery may be punished by lapidation. Its original meaning was established in a society in which men's and women's rights and responsibilities were characterized by complete asymmetry. Today, in societies in which adultery has long ceased to be a crime, divorce is commonplace and family law has been extensively reformed, relations between men and women have undergone profound changes. This Commandment's symbolic importance compels us to reflect on the fragility of couple relationships and the value of fidelity in contemporary society.
Eva Cantarella teaches Institutions of Roman and Ancient Greek Law at the University of Milan.
Paolo Ricca is professor emeritus in the Waldensian Faculty of Theology and guest professor at the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm in Rome.