Is it Church law the we have to wait 6 months for convalidation?

Hi, my husband and I are going through the process of convalidating our civil union. We are going through the six month preperation period as an engaged couple would. I am ok with it for I understand that it is the right thing to do, and we are not married in the eyes of the church so we are basically just an engaged couple. The priest told me we are allowed to recieve the sacraments as long as we live as brother and sister for these next five or six months. My husband and I are trying hard to live as brother and sister for the next five months, but it is a hard battle. I hate that it is so hard because I should be able to abstain for five months. My husband and I got our selves caught up in a situation where we did things that could have lead to fornication, but we stopped before we went to that level. I felt so horrible after ward so went to confession the next day. The priest told me that it wasnt a mortal sin and that God knows that we are trying our best, but that I should come to confession if I feel this badly afterward. The priest told me I need to trust in God’s mercy always. Well the situation happened again last night, but once again we stopped it. I don’t want to go into full detail of what actually happended, but I do feel bad about it. I feel like such a failure and do not understand why this is so hard for my husband and I. I am now going to sleep on the sofa at night as to avoid anyway of temptation that can occur between us. The ideal solution would be to move out, but we have a daughter and it is financially impossible for one of us to move and find a place to live. I am struggling with this situation and pray everyday for the grace to help me fight these temptations. I just feel as though as long as my husband and I live together we will fall into the near occasion of sin. I feel as thought I should just wait to go to confession till right before the convalidation because if not I will be in confession everyweek. I feel that the priest will think that I am only falling into a pattern of confessing the near occasion of sin, but that I have no intention of ceasing it. Am I just suffereing from scrupulosity? I just wish I could talk to the priest about maybe letting us go through a shorting preperation process, but I really think he is adiment about making us go through what an engaged couple would because he considers us as such.

Thanks and God Bless,

Dear Kerri,

There is no Church law that requires a couple to wait six months for their marriage to be convalidated. To demand such a period of time to teach them about marriage is not only inappropriate, it is imprudent, considering how much more difficult celibacy can be for those who are in the habit of living a conjugal-style life for such a long period of time.

You might contact your diocese and ask if there is any way that your convalidation can be expidited. Your pastor means well, but he needs to be careful not to unnecessarily place people in an occasion of sin.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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