i may not know much, but i’m pretty sure i know this…this situation is wrong. the priest you are dealing with does not have the right to impose this on you. while i don’t know your situation in detail, there are only a few case where a man and woman would be treated as if they are not married at all prior to validating their marriage in the Church.
the Church teaches that marriage is an element of natural law. the bond of marriage exists between non-Catholic people, who have nothing to do with the Church. their sexual relations are not mortal sins, per se, since that assessment doesn’t apply to people that have no relationship to God. The Church basically asks three questions: does a marriage exist, is the marriage valid, is the marriage sacramental (ultimately, the goal)?
by your own statements a marriage exists. you were civilly married. you didn’t just move in together, and say “hey let’s just have sex.” your conjugal relations are not a sin.
the validity of the marriage in the eyes of the Church determines whether you entered into an unbreakable bond. that is, there were no impediments to forming the bond, and you basically understood what you were doing, even if the understanding was imperfect. and lastly, is it sacramental? no or you wouldn’t be in this predicament.
the underlying instructions that this priest is giving you is wrong. sexual relations outside of marriage in all cases is sinful, but not sex outside of sacramental marriage. what i mean is marriage, sacramental or not, creates the “one flesh union” to which each spouse has a right.
for the sake of the Church and any others who might be put upon in this way, you need to resolve this issue. i understand the priests reasoning, but there is no requirement that couples make any extraordinary proof of their seriousness to marry in the Church, unless they are not already married. engaged couples living together to have to abstain prior to marriage, but that is because sex outside of marriage is a sin, not because they have to prove anything.
if i were you, i would go to another parish, find a priest that you don’t know from adam, and explain to him what has been asked of you. he should tell you that it is wrong and how you should proceed. the only person who is allowed to impose requirements for the reception of the sacraments is the bishop. he is the one who ultimately dispenses the sacraments in his diocese. and he cannot make requirements that the Church or the bishops’ conference do not allow him to make. if this random priest doesn’t say, “yep, that’s what the bishop says” then there is a problem. and if he does, there is still a problem. this is not the teaching or practice of the Church. and if anyone on this forum thinks, otherwise, show me the documents, etc. to prove it.
lastly, if you find out that you have been offended by this priest, please don’t let that change your affection for the Church. no matter what the circumstances, nothing should separate you from the Sacraments. if he has wronged you, your forgiveness toward him and the Church will prove more than your abstaining from sex ever could.
I really do respect our parish priest. He has only been with us for about two years. He really is a great priest. I just think he is following what the bishop of our diocese has put into effect. Basically this is the way it is looked at. Our marriage is real according to civil law, but invalid according to the catholic faith. I admited to him that we had no impediments the first time to stop us from marrying in the church we were just selfish. I was not where I am in my faith now at that time in my life. I understand that we should abstain from sex from marriage being that the church considers our marriage invalid, what I do not get is why we are having to wait the six months, but I did not argue with him because I do not want to disagree with what my diocese teaches. He really was nice to us when we met with him though so I dont want to come across as talking bad about him cause we really are blessed to have him. I just wish he would see how sincere my husband and I are to convalidate our marriage. I just dont understand why he cannot help us speed up the process at least a little bit being we do have a child and it is next to impossible for one of us to move out. I know that with frequent prayer, saying the rosary, and attending church, and confessin I can perservere in this. I hope that yall will all pray for us. I will let yall know after fridays meeting what the priest tells us.
Thanks again for all the advice and God Bless,