Living unmarried and taking communion!?

Dear all,

I need advice. I lead a young adults choir at our church in London, UK and randomly found out that one of my members lives unmarried with her partner and they have 2 children together. He doesn’t believe in God but she is a devout catholic and attends masses regularly and she also regularly takes communion. Ever since she told me about it (that she isn’t married) I cannot stop thinking about it! How can she take communion and live unmarried for 20 years??? When I asked her why they’re not married she answered that ‘she always thought that to marry one has to have a lot of money’ (they’re both unemployed, I would say, voluntarily).

I’m not sure what I do? Do I do anything?? I’m hesitant to speak to her about it as I don’t feel I should be telling her she is a sinner (but who is not?)…also equally I don’t feel confident to speak to the priest about it as he knows her very well (she is involved in various activities in the church) so he MUST know about it??? I’m very confused…

Also the very same lady told me (with laughter) that she knows so many people from the church who don’t even go to confession and still take the communion! I’m not sure what to say or do!? I’m quite shocked about these things!!

Who among us is worthy, truly worthy, for communion? I’d say it’s between her and her conscience. Pray that the blessings of Eucharist continue to draw her towards seeking God’s will for her life.

Suggest that she talk to the priest about getting married, because you do not have to have “a lot of money” to get married.

Wow, what a thing to hear. I would say pray for her that she’ll be called to repentance. You don’t want a reputation as a gossip by talking to the priest about it. And she’s right – there are lots of people who take communion without confession. Pray for them, too, and I’ll join you.



Well, maybe they’re now living as brother and sister. You never know. If they are, and have already been to Confession, then they can receive Communion, I believe.

Is this cohabitating not living in the near ocassion of sin though? is it not too dangerous?

The children didn’t fall out of the sky, Scooby. Yes, talk with her and try to get her to talk with your priest.

The story lends itself to “reading alot into it” that we cannot comment on. Whatever her dilema, prayer and consultaion will help.

Really you have no responsiblity here other than to inform her or remind her of Church teaching. Those in mortal sin are not to receive the Eucharist. Sex outside of marriage is a mortal sin.

Suggest that she speak to her pastor about this issue.

Other than that all you can do is pray.

No, the children didn’t fall out of the sky, but there’s only two of 'em, and who knows that they didn’t stop after those two, go to Confession, and begin living as brother and sister?

Jesus our Lords peace be whit You.
OK,I need to ask this,how can a devoted catholic not believe in God,thats how I thought I wos reading?
I did not read what others have ansver because I don’t want anyone else give me something to ansver,I am on my own here. You realy can’t do much moore then talk to her,pray for her and be her friend. She is doing wrong,but maybe there is a reason for it. As long as we don’t know,what can we do,and why should we do? It is betveen God and her,so let it be.

hmmmm, if the young lady has volunteered this information in a conversation directly with you, then i would approach the situation like this:

I would let her know that you are married, and express to her the joys and blessings of the Sacrament of Matrimony and the many blessings that it has brought to you. (I am assuming you are married of course.) At that point she might ask what she would need to do or you might ask her if she was interested in learning more, and let her know that the parish Priest would love to tell her more about the process if she were willing to speak with him. You might then go with her if she is interested in speaking to the Priest, at least to maybe help her set up an appointment to talk to him. Of course, be sensitive to her feelings and however she responds.

Also let her know that if she does not have much money that the Priest absolutely will perform their wedding ceremony at no cost at all, he is bound to perform this Sacrament to anyone who is properly prepared. The only thing I could think of mandatory cost wise to getting married could be some fees to pay to the county or city for the marriage license.

I believe if you remain positive and do not speak to her in a judgemental attitude the rest will take care of itself during her marriage prep with the Priest. As I said, emphasize what a joyful blessing the marriage Sacrament can be, and emphasize to her that it would be a shame if she missed out on such a special blessing filled Sacrament.

I think that is the best you can do, as I said, be very careful choosing your words, and say a prayer to the Holy Spirit before the conversation. You are in my prayers.

And children don’t cost a dime?!

I would try to admonish her gently (that’s a spiritual work of mercy) and pray fervently for her conversion (another spiritual work of mercy).

That’s true. And a big congregation is also not required - all she needs is two witnesses and a priest. She and her husband can take them out to Starbuck’s after the wedding - a huge reception is also not required.

I think people get confused between what our culture sees as a big Church wedding, and what the Church sees as the Sacrament of Matrimony.

Just let her know that it doesn’t cost very much to be married in the Church - and if there is some expense that they can’t pay, such as the pre-Cana weekend, they can ask for help with that.

Yes, believe it or not there are a lot of “Catholics” out there who are likley in mortal sin taking communion. I just have to remind myself all the time it’s not my job to judge them. Yes, for sure, my intention is not to judge…I truley just want them to know and live the Church teachings for the sake of their own salvation. Sometimes I feel like I am judging though…

This is one of the things that kept me away from the Catholic church for a long time. It seemed like a lot of the Catholics I knew just did whatever they wanted (moral or not) and still went to mass and acted like they were “good catholics”. This still bothers me a lot because I find it blasphemous but I just try to set a better example.

Also, I tell myself I may not know the whole situation. For example, my DH and I lived together as brother and sister while we were engaged. When we moved in together he was a non-practicing Catholic and I had not yet converted. When I decided to join the Church and he decided to start practicing again it was not feasible to move apart. We had a lease and could not afford two places. Although a lot of people probably assumed otherwise we were living as brother and sister until we got married.

The thing I stuggle with the most right now is all the people who use artificial contraception and go to communion. I work with a lot of doctors and nurses who go to my parish and they have no problem prescribing/administering contraception. They all know I don’t use or prescribe it (NFP only). Sure I would love to talk to them about the church teaching on this, but how do you do that without seeming judgemental? Surely they know the church teaching anyway. It still amazes me all the people that completely ignore this teaching…I don’t think my conscious could handle it! I’ve heard some people say they justify it because it’s doctrine, not dogma…that sounds like a topic for a different thread though.

I would also recommend you gently encourage her to meet with the priest. Also pray, pray, pray for her and the rest of these cafeteria catholics. We are all sinners in need of prayers!

Do I understand she is a member of the choir? If so, I know what our priest did a decade ago. When an unmarried member was pregnant she was asked not to be a member of the choir because:
As a member of the choir you are ministering to the community through your music. This sets you as an example to the community and therefore your public actions reflect on the teachings of the church. Due to your situation (unmarried and pregnant) it appears that you are violating the teaching of the church on extramarital sexual activity.

I would say, a similar example exists here: unmarried, with children, living with a member of the opposite sex. Therefore, until this is regularized via matrimony or separation, she should not appear as an example to the community, especially the youth.

Note that in the example it was the appearance that gave scandal. She could have been raped (she wasn’t, she later married her boyfriend). Similarly the woman you are citing may be living without sin, but the appearance is just the opposite.

If someone is committing mortal sin, and goes to communion, in the view of the Church, she is committing sacriledge. That is, she is going from one great sin on to another great sin which is an insult to God.
I suggest you talk to your priest about it, at first not mentioning her name. If the priest does not act on that information, that will be his responsibility.

Yes, we are all sinners, but that does not mean we should not correct one another with love. In Scripture it tells us to “instruct the ignorant”, so it is something our Lord wants us to do. It is NOT judgmental to correct someone…it is a spiritual act of mercy.

Not sure how this works? :shrug:

Also, question, I think you said UK, does Britain have any notion of common law marriage?

They invented it. :wink: “Common law” is short for “British Common Law” and refers to marriages without the benefit of a ceremony, and also to other situations, such as being able to know who your accuser is in a court of law (anonymous complaints are not allowed) etc.

Cohabitation is a scandal. They might be able to receive privately but not in public.

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