[quote="thomasf, post:12, topic:321112"]
Two things make it sinful.
An invalid marriage means the church doesn't recognize you are married, and thus having sex outside of marriage. Which is sinful.
Being married outside of the church also implies a willing disobedience to the church, which is sinful.
In your scenario, if the couple isn't engaging in marital relations, and is seeking to, or has sought to regularize their marriage in the church, it is possible that they would be able to receive communion. Your scenario actually describes how the church views civilly divorced couples who have not had a decree of nullity for their marriage. However, if they are still married civilly under the conditions you mentioned, that would be a decision for their priest to make. It's not an automatic situation. I would assume that a priest would want to see that the couple is making an effort to have their marriage convalidated if possible. But like I said it's not automatic.
And btw, I am not passing judgement. I have gone through this situation myself and had to abstain from receiving communion until my wife and I had our marriage convalidated under direction of my pastor.
I pretty much figured #1 was going to be a problem, at least for those that are engaging in that activity. I never really thought of #2, from that prospective. Should make everyone reflect on everything they do.
I am researching 2 similar cases where the party's were not married in the church. The first involves the 2 Catholics that were married civilly and probably never thought of having the marriage blessed. They kind of fell away from one another, and the church, but haven't divorced yet. I don't think they are going to for some reason. One of the individuals would really like to return to the church and partake of the sacraments. It could be taken care of easily if the other individual would allow the marriage to be blessed, but the other individual will not cooperate. So far I haven't found a possibility for the first individual to return without divorcing/annulment. But again, I don't know why they don't want to get divorced, and so an annulment out of the mix too. It seems improbable that person who has committed a sin and is trying to reconcile it, but doesn't appear to have a path. :(
The other case involves one catholic and one non-catholic who were married civilly. They are living together and intend to continue to do so, but again, the non-catholic is not cooperating in getting the marriage blessed. I did run across a possible solution called Radical Sanation. They seem to meet everything I read about, but since even if they "qualify", it may not be granted, we're still praying that they eventually get the marriage blessed.
Thanks for your correspondence. I hope everything is going well for you now. I think we all need to pray for all the priest too. In addition to all their own problems, they have so much of this other stuff to deal with!