Can a couple living together be validly married in the CC?


#1

Suppose a couple who are living together ask a priest to marry them. The priest advises them that living together prior to marriage is a grave sin. The couple decide nonetheless to continue living together prior to marriage. Can the priest still validly marry them in the Catholic Church?

Does anyone happen to know Canon Law on this issue?

Thanks in advance.


#2

I don’t know Canon Law, but my dear friend met with our priest today, and discussed details of her upcoming marriage to the man she’s living with. The priest is just concerned about their getting married in the church. He was very kind, welcoming and encouraging. He doesn’t dwell on their sin, only on how they can escape from it.


#3

I would think the priest would encourage the couple to get married the soonest possible. And with that as well, I think he would recommend them to confess their sin, as well to momentarily stop co-habitation until the Sacrament of marriage has been done.


#4

If I am not mistaken they can still be married validly in the Church. However, they are living in mortal sin up until the time they get married AND confess their sins. In my opinion, why risk it? If I was in their situation I’d stop co-habitating until married.


#5

living together is not a sin…it’s only if they’re having sex that it’s considered a sin.


#6

Living together is a sin even if the couple is not having sex. It is a scandal to the church, the body of Christ. It gives the impression to the community that such an arrangement is totally acceptable. As far as the community is concerned they don’t know if they are having sex or not and usually assume that they are.


#7

[quote=Mt19:26]Living together is a sin even if the couple is not having sex. It is a scandal to the church, the body of Christ. It gives the impression to the community that such an arrangement is totally acceptable. As far as the community is concerned they don’t know if they are having sex or not and usually assume that they are.
[/quote]

Hi Mt19:26
See John 19:27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.

See how Jesus made a home in Jerusalem for His mother so she would not have to go back to her family home. She could continue living with those people with whom her heart resided.


#8

[quote=edwinG]Hi Mt19:26
See John 19:27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.

See how Jesus made a home in Jerusalem for His mother so she would not have to go back to her family home. She could continue living with those people with whom her heart resided.
[/quote]

I believe Mt was adressing a boyfriend and girlfriend living together which can be scandalous unless there is a good reason for doing so as discerned through prayer and consultation of your pastor (i.e. a fiance is sick, etc.) Sure, there are instances when unmarried men and women can live together. But no one is going to say that Mary living in John’s home is the same as a boyfriend and giflfriend arrangement.

Cohabitation generally implies sex without marriage (thought not always, and the two need to discern to make sure they live chastely.) If the individuals are having sex, they must be counseled to stop, and as related to encouraging them to get married right away, I would be cautious if they have been having sex. Rushing to get married should not be based upon the sin of having sex outside of marriage. Often times, the couple needs to slow down to discern the full meaning of the vows they will take and really start to learn their potential future spouse without the blinding light of sex. Even studies point out that people who live together before getting married have a higher likelihood of divorce and seperation down the line. So, I would counsel for prayer and discernment with the aid of a solid priest.

And if they are living together so one can chastely care for the other, God will grant them the Graces to remain chaste and serve each other until one day Lord willing they will be able to share in the Sacrament of Marriage. Thanks and God Bless.


#9

[quote=PaulKorb]Can the priest still validly marry them in the Catholic Church?
[/quote]

Not only can the priest marry the couple, he must marry the couple, because Catholics have a right to the sacraments.

Some dioceses have a policy wherein cohabiting couples are denied a “big wedding” with hundreds of guests and all the trimmings.


#10

[quote=PaulKorb]Suppose a couple who are living together ask a priest to marry them. The priest advises them that living together prior to marriage is a grave sin. The couple decide nonetheless to continue living together prior to marriage. Can the priest still validly marry them in the Catholic Church?

Does anyone happen to know Canon Law on this issue?

Thanks in advance.
[/quote]

No of course not a priest cannot celebrate a Sacrament with someone who he knows is in an obstinate state of sin. Nor can a Sacrament be received in a state of Mortal sin. Done intentionally this would be an additional grave sin of sacrilege.


#11

[quote=Catholic2003]Not only can the priest marry the couple, he must marry the couple, because Catholics have a right to the sacraments.
[/quote]

Don’t forget the part “When properly disposed and adequately instructed.”

They would not be properly disposed when in a state of Mortal sin and insist on making a mockery of the Sacrament by their actions.


#12

Here are excerpts from the marriage policy of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings that may help in understanding the Church’s rules:

IV. PROCESS FOR DELAY IN MARRIAGE

If serious difficulties become evident during the course of marriage preparation, a couple may decide or the pastor may recommend to the couple that the proposed marriage should be postponed. Canon 1077 (1) states: In a particular case the local ordinary can prohibit the marriage of his own subjects wherever they are staying and of all persons actually present in his own territory, but only for a time, for a serious cause and as long as the cause exists. A serious cause for delaying a marriage include:

  1.  Non-practice of the Catholic Faith by the Catholic party (parties) with no intention of returning to the practice of the faith;
    
  1.  Substantial lack of appreciation of the spiritual, sacramental aspects of marriage;
    
  1.  Substantial evidence of the lack of readiness for marriage due to age, some external pressure, immaturity, or instability (e.g., emotional illness, inability to hold a job, etc.).  The assessment of marriage readiness will include an interview with the couple, the FOCCUS, REFOCCUS or some other suitable tool, and where practical, an interview with both sets of parents;
    
  1.  Refusal of both parties to take part in the Marriage Preparation program or to participate in pre-marital assessment, evaluation or counseling as deemed necessary for the proper preparation for the reception of the Sacrament.
    
  1.  Lack of time for sufficient premarriage assessment, evaluation, and counseling.
    
  1.  Lack of fulfillment of obligations towards a former spouse or towards children born of that union. (c 1071 § 3)  
    

In these cases, the pastor must make known such a decision to the couple as soon as possible after the initial interview. At the same time, he must notify the Bishop, in writing, of his decision. The couple is to be informed that they have the right to appeal the priest’s decision to the Bishop.

The decision to delay requires that assistance be given to the couple in order that the reasons for the delay may be alleviated. If necessary, appropriate counseling is to be recommended should the marriage plans terminate.

The [particular case of cohabiting couples is discussed later on in the policy](http://www.dioceseofgfb.org/marriage_policy.htm#APPENDIX B).


#13

An Rome wonders why people leave the church.

I don’t disagree with anything posted above. The couple living together does indeed imply liiving in sin and they could possibly be in a state of mortal sin BUT with the sacrament of confession, it shouldn’t be a tooth pulling to get married in the Church.

The Church needs to take a step back and look at all the impediments it places on people while at the same time denying the grace that is given through one of the most fundamental sacraments, that being reconcilliation.

No wonder people look elsewhere, with all the hoops that are not sacramental that the church places on people.


#14

My husband and I co-habitated. :frowning: I wasn’t Catholic at the time, but he was. We met with the priest and were validly married.
My husband was told he could not receive the Eucharist until we were married.


#15

Thanks to all for the responses.

This link ( dioceseofgfb.org/marriage_policy.htm#APPENDIX B ) was particularly useful.


#16

What sinner that asked for forgiveness from Jesus did He ever deny? Jesus came to save the sinners, not the saved! How can I cast the first stone (‘massive rock’ to our Protestant brother & sisters;) ) when I live in a glass house?


#17

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