Cohabitation


#1

My wife and I are practicing Catholics and have a 13 month old son. We are active members in our Parish. Parish Counsel, Knights of Columbus and RCIA as a refresher to keep learning our faith. I have a sister who has fallen away from the Catholic Church along with the rest of my family. I continue to keep them in my prayers. She got a divorce a few years ago and is living with a man. “fornication” or cohabitation.

It has been very hard on my niece. I know her soul is hurting very much. We are raising our son up knowing the truth of the Catholic Church, Jesus, Mary, Pope and the Saints. We take our son often to visit the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville, Alabama. God Bless Mother Angelica.

We have not been able to get together for any type of family visit yet due to the distance. We’ll probably be getting together this summer so my parents and sister can see our son. I feel when the time comes for the visit that I need to ask my sister not to bring her man friend she is living with to the gathering and future gatherings. I don’t want my son exposed to this type of life style. I know he’ll be about a year and a half, but as time goes on he’ll ask who is this man.

I feel I need to very gently and respectfully let my parents and sister know that I’m not judging them, but I don’t condone this type of life style and don’t want our son exposed to this life style. This would confuse him and send mixed signals. The sad thing is my parents don’t care that they are living together and hurting my niece. Sex outside of marriage shows disrespect for the sacrament of marriage, the sacredness of sex, and human dignity. I’m I doing the right thing?

Please advise.

Sincerely,
Rodney


#2

I don’t think that you are doing the right thing by being so exclusive in who you will allow your young son to be exposed to. You would not be putting him in a situation where he would be aware of what was happening with your sister. I don’t think that you would be harming your son by allowing this man to come to a family gathering.

You would be hurting your sister though. She likely wouldn’t come if you imposed such a hurtful limitation on your visit. She also wouldn’t then have the chance to be exposed to what the love between your wife and yourself is like, to be encouraged by that possibility.

There is a big difference between visiting with your sister (and even her boyfriend) and condoning their relationship. Try to find that narrow path that will invite your sister to become reconciled once more with the Church, not drive her further from it. I think if you are careful and ponder it carefully, you might just be able to find such a position.

Perhaps it would be good to meet with them both, to see for yourself what kind of a man he is, what kind of a relationship that they have. How familiar are you with the circumstances of her divorce? Do you think that there is any possibility that her situation could qualify for a declaration of nullity. Has she ever discussed that with a priest? Perhaps you can go and offer her some hope and some alternatives.

Your son is going to grow up in the world, the real world. Your job is to help him navigate his way through the world, alway searching for that narrow path.


#3

Well your son is going to find out one day or the other either from their relationship or sadly the way culture has gone. I suggest in the beginning, when he is old enough to understand relationships (like 4 or 5), to have the guy be introduced as her friend. That way he gets a strong foundation in what is right; that only married couples should be living together. As time passes and he gets older, he will see that people do not all live this way and then here you need to show the beauty of the Church’s teaching against fornication and cohabitation.
Ultimately it is not wrong for you to be in the presence of his aunt and boyfriend. It is wrong when you either verbally support their relationship or somehow assist that, with say having them stay at your house in the same room. Then you are committing the sin of scandal and formal co-operation with evil. I would say take the road of at least meeting and being friendly towards the two, without saying outright you support their relationship. This friendship may allow an opportunity to discuss with your sister your concern for her with the life she is living, at an appropriate time.
If your sister and her boyfriend would be scandalous in front of your son, by acting like a married couple (like inappropriate flirting,ect) then yes you may have a point. Hope that helped.


#4

May I very gently ask one small question? I understand the need to raise your son to be devout in his worship of our Lord. But if everyone who is very devout stays away from those who are not, who is left to lead the fallen back home?


#5

I agree. This is how people get a bad taste in their mouth for Christians. They assume that the Christian considers themselves too good to associate with them.
I understand the OP’s position. We have situations like this in our family as well. But not being around the man wouldn’t teach your son the lesson you’re hoping. It would teach him to be judgemental of the sinner istead the sin.
Also, seeing your happy family could eventually motivate both of them to do the right thing.


#6

:thumbsup: I agree. I have similar situations in my family so I can relate.

You will be the strongest witness to your children by your example as parents, no matter what the rest of the world does. Your children might not even realize it until they are older (as way my case growing up).

Don’t keep your sister out of your lives. Instead use this as an oportunity to be a light to her but your faith and actions. Most importantly- pray for her! :gopray:


#7

I agree. I have learned a lot from you all. Thank you all so much!

My God Bless you!

Rodney


#8

I agree. I have learned a lot from you all. Thank you all so much!

My God Bless you!

Rodney


#9

I agree. I have learned a lot from you all. Thank you all so much!

My God Bless you!

Rodney


#10

I also think there’s something to be said about what happens in your home and what happens elsewhere…

You can ask your sister not to bring him into your home, if that is what you so choose, but you cannot be in control of what happens, for example, at the home of your parents or at a public restaurant, etc.

Has your sister even contemplated the annulment process? Have you done much reaching out to her to resolve her current situation?


#11

We can’t keep our children from being exposed to the things we don’t agree with. They need to learn how to resist the bad things and choose right, and that is our job as parented to teach them this. As far as keeping kids sheltered from other’s sin…well, everyone makes mistakes, and in our mistakes we can teach others how to learn from them and not make the same ones. Also, it teaches that God forgives us our mistakes if we confess them


#12

Will you be hosting this upcoming get-together in your home?

If so, you have every right, of course, to invite whom you will. Keep in mind, though, that your sister could feel that it is disrespectful to her if you exclude her boyfriend. Consider how you would treat a very good friend of hers exclusive of the sinful relationship. You may invite her friend as a sign of love and respect for her, and not to condone the sinful acts. In these situations, loving the sinner and hating the sin can be very difficult, but it is so important if you want to show your sister how much you love her. Treat her boyfriend with respect has her friend.

Naturally, as your sister and her boyfriend are not married, they would not be sleeping in the same room in your home.

I hope you are able to reach out to your niece and offer her consolation in this very difficult situation that she is in. My heart goes out to her. My mother invited her boyfriend into our home after she divorced my father, when I was in high school. Those years were the worst of my life.


#13

I am not understanding… would you not introduce your child to anyone who is not family or are you saying that because they live together that you shouldn’t introduce your son? Because if the second is the case then you would think that you wouldn’t want him to be introduced to your sister either.

What would you do if your sister was single and wanted to invite her boyfriend to a family gathering? That was usually the events that got all the kids together at my home growing up…

When we go to see my mom and siblings, I don’t stop my mom from inviting who she wants to her house even if I don’t agree with their lifestyle… I teach my kids to be polite and nice to everyone. Now did this mean I would attend an invalid marriage of one of my sibs… nope… didn’t let any of my minor kids either… my oldest went but he is an adult…


#14

I agree with previous posters. But in order to also show the seriousness of your moral position, there are a couple of instances you might want to consider.

If your sister and boyfriend want to stay overnight at your house, they can do so only if they sleep in separate rooms to show you do not condone that type of behavior under your roof.

Similarly, if you go visit them, don’t stay at their house.


#15

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