An Excellent Pastoral Letter on Cohabitation


The Most Rev. Michael J. Sheehan, Archbishop of Santa Fe wrote an excellent pastoral letter about couples who are cohabitating. It is an excellent read and addresses many excuses and concerns on the matter.

Click to read Pastoral Care of Couples Who are Cohabitating



Good read, thanks for the post!


I am thankful for a large part of his letter, however, his words about divorce indicate that anyone who divorces may partake in Holy Communion as long as they haven’t “remarried.” This is false. While SOME civilly divorced people may be able to partake in Holy Communion, certainly not all civilly divorced people may. Our Catechism says…...“It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law. There is a considerable difference between a spouse who has sincerely tried to be faithful to the sacrament of marriage and is unjustly abandoned, and one who through his own grave fault destroys a canonically valid marriage.” Also, it is NEVER permissable to be guilty of the sin of divorce as our Catechism defines it (see last post). This is a “grave” sin (mortal) that one chooses IN THEIR HEART every day… to be divorced or not to be divorced. When we are choosing to be divorced (as our Catechism defines it) we are chooses something our Blessed Lord commanded us not to do. I pray that this bishop clarifies his remarks. It is a matter of eternal life for his flock… and himself…. as Peter Kreeft has quipped… “Jesus has not went into business manufacturing styrofoam millstones.”


That's a great letter and one I'd love to send to a few friends and family members if I didn't think it would get me kicked out of the family. My wife and I never lived together before we got married, and the older I get the more I appreciate that fact. I've seen others whose marriages quickly fell apart after living together, and others who lived with their boyfriend/girlfriend for years thinking it would lead to marriage at some point, only to have the other person walk out, always bringing up the point that they didn't have a real commitment to one another so there was no reason to stay (or not to cheat, etc.). It bothers me that this is such an accepted way of living nowadays, to the point where most people I know feel that it's healthy and natural for a couple to "try each other out" before committing to marriage. Just as troubling is the fact that so many people I know think I'm nuts for feeling this way.


My fiance and I have dated since 2006 and never lived together. The one time I almost spent the night at his house was when he had suffered a head injury, just got back from the ER, and needed to be checked on regularly through the night to make sure he was only sleeping and had not become unconscious again. His grandmother was able to stay with him that night though, so I didn't have to. If I had to though, I highly doubt it would have been considered "staying the night" in that sense. He would be the one sleeping, I would be the one in the other room chugging coffee and watching late night infomercials to stay awake so I could check on him periodically to make sure he is responsive. That's no one's idea of a romantic night.

I absolutely believe that it is for the best that he and I have never lived together. He and I have built our relationship on who we are as people, not on what the other can offer sexually. The fact that our entire relationship leading up to marriage is built on ourselves as people and not on our bodies means we REALLY know the other person and can keep the focus on what really matters. Has it been hard? Sure. But it's worth it.


Cohabitation is living in sin. Marriage is God’s plan; a challenge to grow in love. It is in the family that we get our first glimpse of the character and quality of God’s love, when we first see the building of a bridge between male and female. We learn the meaning of compromise, sacrifice and sharing - the real meaning of love. Marriage becomes a call to live the love which we are created for, in itself a call for holiness. It involves day to day responsibilities that require patience, perseverance and commitment to the union and to the family unit. Honouring the marriage covenant and holding marriage as sacred is most important. But the spouses need to invoke the sacrament’s grace constantly, because this is a specific aid from God that helps them to live up to the commitment involved in marital love.


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