In The Great Gatsby, why, according to Catherine, has Tom not left Daisy to marry Myrtle Wilson?

In The Great Gatsby, according to Catherine, Tom has not left Daisy to marry Myrtle Wilson, because Daisy is a Catholic and Catholics don't believe in divorce. The way she tells it, it's only Daisy's religion that's holding Tom back from marrying Myrtle. As it turns out, Daisy isn't really a Catholic. Catherine is simply holding onto this comforting lie out of wishful thinking.

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Catherine, Myrtle's sister, tells Nick that Tom can't divorce Daisy and marry Myrtle, because Daisy is Catholic, and Catholic's are not allowed to divorce. Catherine is right that Catholics in that time period had a harder time divorcing, but the rest of the story is preposterous.

The story reveals the class divide between characters, just as Gatsby will later reveal his own when he slips up talking about his past. While not wholly impossible that Tom would marry a Catholic, it seems unlikely. The patrician Tom, flush with inherited wealth, is a racist who tells Nick early on that only "Nordics" are truly white and worries that white people are in danger of being swamped by other races. Given the discrimination Catholicism received during this time, and the knowledge of Tom's prejudices, it seems unlikely he would have actually married a Catholic. Further, Tom's class was the one class who could get divorced easily, such as through expensive "Reno" divorces, which were popular in the 1920s.

Nick knows the idea of Daisy being Catholic, and the idea of anything preventing Tom divorcing her if he wanted to, are ludicrous. The questions becomes, who spread this lie? Is it the product of Catherine's imagination; does it come from Mrytle; or does it come from Tom? We never know for sure, but given how baldly Tom lies to Wilson later in the novel about Gatsby's car being his own, it is likely this is Tom's lie, because he enjoys jerking lower-class people around. Whatever the case, we know that Tom has no intention of leaving Daisy for a woman like Myrtle.

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According to Catherine, Daisy is Catholic, and Catholics don't believe in divorce, which is why Tom has not left Daisy to marry Myrtle. Catherine, Myrtle's sister, shares this information with Nick Carraway during a party at Tom's New York City apartment. Catherine is unaware of Nick's relation to Daisy and brags to him that it is only a matter of time before Tom marries Myrtle and they move out West until everything blows over.

Nick is surprised by the elaborateness of Catherine's lie and knows that Tom has no intention of leaving Daisy. Tom Buchanan is an arrogant, selfish man who views and treats Myrtle like a toy to satisfy his sexual desires. He is perfectly content in his marriage, knowing that he can cheat on Daisy anytime he wishes but will never divorce her.

Despite Tom's true feelings, Catherine clings to the fantasy that he is emotionally invested in her sister, and Daisy's religion is the only obstacle in their way. Catherine values Tom's wealth and stands to benefit from being his sister-in-law, which explains why she wants him to leave Daisy for Myrtle.

Nick chooses not to ruin Catherine's impossible dream by telling her the truth and continues to listen as Myrtle Wilson ridicules her lowly, unsuccessful husband. Later in the evening, Tom proves that he has no intention of leaving his wife by breaking Myrtle's nose just for mentioning Daisy's name.

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Catherine, Myrtle Wilson's sister, has the strange notion in her head that Tom would dearly love to marry Myrtle. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Tom sees Myrtle as a sexual plaything and nothing more. He has no intention of getting married to this vulgar, lower-class woman.

But because Catherine desperately wants this fantasy to be true, she has managed to convince herself that the only thing preventing Tom and Myrtle from getting hitched is Daisy's religion. According to Catherine, Daisy is a Catholic; therefore, because Catholics don't believe in divorce, Tom hasn't yet left her.

Nick is shocked to hear such a blatant lie. He knows full well that Daisy isn't a Catholic. But one gets the impression that Catherine's told herself this lie often enough she's started to believe it's true.

Catherine is as desperate for Myrtle to marry Tom as Myrtle is herself. With Tom Buchanan as an in-law, it's almost certain that life will be a lot more comfortable for Catherine. But instead of facing up to the brutal truth that this will never happen in a million years, she concocts the comforting myth of Daisy's alleged Catholicism to allow herself to hold on to an impossible dream.

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Although Catherine says that Tom can't stand Daisy (and that Myrtle can't stand her husband, George Wilson, either), she claims that Daisy is keeping Tom and Myrtle apart because she's Catholic and Catholics "don't believe in divorce." Nick is surprised by the detail of the lie because Daisy isn't Catholic, and it seems an odd thing to simply make up.

Then again, the more Catherine talks, the more she seems like an incredible liar. She goes on to tell Nick that when Tom and Myrtle eventually do get married—as though this is an inevitable eventuality—they are going to move West, something Tom seems to have absolutely no interest in, until their spouses get over it and the scandal dies down.  She tells more stories about how she just returned from Europe, where her friend lost a bunch of money and she almost married "a little kike"; thus, Nick can quickly ascertain Catherine's total lack of honesty as well as her antisemitism.

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In Chapter 2 Tom, Nick, and Myrtle go into the city.  While at a party in their apartment, Nick meets Myrtle's sister, Catherine.  While gossiping with Nick about Gatsby, Catherine tells Nick about Tom's relationship with Myrtle.  She tells Nick that Tom actually wants to leave his wife, but that he cannot because of her religion.  According to Catherine she is Catholic.

“She’s a Catholic, and they don’t believe in divorce.”

Nick knows that his cousin isn't really Catholic, but thinks he shouldn't bring it up.  Their conversation is interrupted when Nick begins explaining how she is too good for her husband, George, and what is it that attracted her to Tom.

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