Preaching against cohabitation


#1

If so many marriages today are invalid, what is being done about those people? Those people are living in objectively mortal sin--either fornication or adultery! Shouldn't pastors be telling couples to have their marriages investigated by their Tribunal--especially when one of the readings concerns marriage? These people are no-better than singles who cohabit without bothering to get married! Isn't the Church disrespecting the marriage sacrament by remaining silent?


#2

Merdecranz, the biggest problem in the Church today, from the top down, is the failure to preach on hell. In my opinion, these people living in “invalid” marriages, which even my bishop stated there are many, need to run, not walk, to the nearest priest with two witnesses, and validate today. If they can. If they’ve been married once, twice, three times before, then they need to run, not walk, back to their first spouse or do whatever it takes.

They can, with the permission of their real spouse, if they can determine who that is, enter a religious life of some sort. The important thing is that they get in the state of grace now and not waste another moment in bed with someone who is not their lawful spouse.

The advice columnist Amy Dickinson wouldn’t have any business if this weren’t common practice, even, especially, among so-called Catholics. Do hot coals need to fall on their heads before they do something??


#3

Depends on the reason for the potential invalidity. Are you talking about folks who have attempted valid marriage, but some issue exists? In this case, marriage enjoys the favor of the law – there’s no invalidity, and the marriage is considered valid (until such a time as it might be proved otherwise) – so there’s no sin.

Are you talking about folks who have engaged in serial marriages? In this case, we might hope that there’s grave sin here, but not necessarily mortal sin. In other words, you’re making the step that presumes “full knowledge and deliberate consent”, right? :wink:

Shouldn’t pastors be telling couples to have their marriages investigated by their Tribunal

Again, it depends. In the first case I mentioned above, I think the answer is “no”. In the second, what makes you think that pastors aren’t giving that advice to people, on a one-on-one basis, when the opportunity presents itself?


#4

[quote="merdecranz, post:1, topic:296977"]
If so many marriages today are invalid, what is being done about those people? Those people are living in objectively mortal sin--either fornication or adultery! Shouldn't pastors be telling couples to have their marriages investigated by their Tribunal--especially when one of the readings concerns marriage? These people are no-better than singles who cohabit without bothering to get married! Isn't the Church disrespecting the marriage sacrament by remaining silent?

[/quote]

Just because you don't hear it in a homily doesn't mean the Church is remaining silent.

Some parishes do a good job at this. My parish is relatively small and Father knows most of the couples. He privately counsels those who are in spritually dangerous situations - living together without marriage or divorce and remarried w/o a decree of nullity. We recently added an advocate to the staff who helps with the original fact-gathering and paperwork for any tribunal submissions. The teaching of the Church on marriage are also a key part of other activities of the parish - the adult religious ed, parent meetings for Sacraments (since sponsors and Godparents must be Catholics in good standing), RCIA etc.


#5

So you want priests to preach against couple that are already married "co-habitating" with each other because their marriage might be invalid? Sorry, I don't think that's the right approach.

The Church presumes a marriage to be valid until proven otherwise. There are very good reasons for this. To do what you are suggesting would require that the Church deputizes pastors to make on-the-fly judgments about the validity of people's marriages. What a recipe for disaster!

Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you are suggesting. :shrug:


#6

[quote="merdecranz, post:1, topic:296977"]
If so many marriages today are invalid, what is being done about those people? Those people are living in objectively mortal sin--either fornication or adultery! Shouldn't pastors be telling couples to have their marriages investigated by their Tribunal--especially when one of the readings concerns marriage? These people are no-better than singles who cohabit without bothering to get married! Isn't the Church disrespecting the marriage sacrament by remaining silent?

[/quote]

Tribunals are over worked as it is. Most of those serving on the diocesen tribunal have other jobs such as being pastor of a parish.

No tribunal is going to investigate a marriage until it is civilly dissolved. Any current married where there are not glaring impediments (such as unresolved previous marriages) is considered valid by the Church.


#7

[quote="Joe_5859, post:5, topic:296977"]
So you want priests to preach against couple that are already married "co-habitating" with each other because their marriage might be invalid? Sorry, I don't think that's the right approach.

The Church presumes a marriage to be valid until proven otherwise. There are very good reasons for this. T*o do what you are suggesting would require that the Church deputizes pastors to make on-the-fly judgments about the validity of people's marriages.* What a recipe for disaster!

Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you are suggesting. :shrug:

[/quote]

Sounds like "Marriage Nazis" and although the OP may have a valid concern, this approach seems extreme.

What better suggestions are out there?


#8

Every case is different, can be very complex, and can often involve the care of young children who may be deprived of being raised by their mother and father if one of them had to "run back to their first spouse". Therefore this a subject for discreet and wise pastoral care, not blanket condemnation from the pulpit.

That is why you never (and rarely should) hear it preached.


#9

[quote="Gorgias, post:3, topic:296977"]

Are you talking about folks who have engaged in serial marriages? In this case, we might hope that there's grave sin here, but not necessarily mortal sin. In other words, you're making the step that presumes "full knowledge and deliberate consent", right? ;)

QUOTE]

Forgive me, please, but the Catechism, 1852. . . discusses only mortal and venial sin. There is no "grave" sin in between. Grave matter, but not grave sin without being mortal or venial, is the issue here, I think.

This is another error that has been going around since Vatican II and needs to be cleared up.

[/quote]


#10

[quote="merdecranz, post:1, topic:296977"]
If so many marriages today are invalid, what is being done about those people? Those people are living in objectively mortal sin--either fornication or adultery! Shouldn't pastors be telling couples to have their marriages investigated by their Tribunal--especially when one of the readings concerns marriage? These people are no-better than singles who cohabit without bothering to get married! Isn't the Church disrespecting the marriage sacrament by remaining silent?

[/quote]

I agree that more teaching and preaching should be done against this prevalent sin.

I think people here on the forum are upset at your use of "Those People" and the idea that you might mean that people should be singled out for their sins from the pulpit and your accusations that the Church doesn't do anything, "remaining silent" when it fact if a pastor hears the problem from the couple he will most often say something to them in private. He will also be careful not to take too much stock in others gossiping to discourage this.

I've noticed a slow growth in the bravery of the content of Homilies in my area and I do think this is due to the magisterial correction you are looking for and it's been a long time in coming and slow to arrive; so, I agree that there is some basis to your concern, but disagree that the Church is "disrespecting the marriage sacrament".


#11

[quote="Joe_5859, post:5, topic:296977"]
So you want priests to preach against couple that are already married "co-habitating" with each other because their marriage might be invalid? Sorry, I don't think that's the right approach.

The Church presumes a marriage to be valid until proven otherwise. There are very good reasons for this. To do what you are suggesting would require that the Church deputizes pastors to make on-the-fly judgments about the validity of people's marriages. What a recipe for disaster!

Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you are suggesting. :shrug:

[/quote]

[quote="Corki, post:4, topic:296977"]
Just because you don't hear it in a homily doesn't mean the Church is remaining silent.

Some parishes do a good job at this. My parish is relatively small and Father knows most of the couples. He privately counsels those who are in spritually dangerous situations - living together without marriage or divorce and remarried w/o a decree of nullity. We recently added an advocate to the staff who helps with the original fact-gathering and paperwork for any tribunal submissions. The teaching of the Church on marriage are also a key part of other activities of the parish - the adult religious ed, parent meetings for Sacraments (since sponsors and Godparents must be Catholics in good standing), RCIA etc.

[/quote]

Just to clarify, I was referring to those in civil/common-law marriages or cohabitation arrangements that do not have the presumption of validity. If the OP meant putatively valid marriages that have not been investigated, I appologize that my comments may have confused the issue.


#12

[quote="Corki, post:11, topic:296977"]
Just to clarify, I was referring to those in civil/common-law marriages or cohabitation arrangements that do not have the presumption of validity. If the OP meant putatively valid marriages that have not been investigated, I appologize that my comments may have confused the issue.

[/quote]

I knew what you meant. :) That's what made me secod-guess whether I had understood the OP correctly. :o


#13

[quote="merdecranz, post:1, topic:296977"]
If so many marriages today are invalid, what is being done about those people? Those people are living in objectively mortal sin--either fornication or adultery! Shouldn't pastors be telling couples to have their marriages investigated by their Tribunal--especially when one of the readings concerns marriage? These people are no-better than singles who cohabit without bothering to get married! Isn't the Church disrespecting the marriage sacrament by remaining silent?

[/quote]

It depends on the Church. I am so happy to be in a very Vocal Magiterial church. (Believe it or not its in the U.S.A. lol)


#14

Somehow I don’t think God himself views an invalid marriage as the same thing as cohabitation. The first often likes full knowledge, making it not even a sin. The second is generally known to be wrong by a Catholic.


#15

[quote="merdecranz, post:1, topic:296977"]
If so many marriages today are invalid, what is being done about those people? Those people are living in objectively mortal sin--either fornication or adultery! Shouldn't pastors be telling couples to have their marriages investigated by their Tribunal--especially when one of the readings concerns marriage? These people are no-better than singles who cohabit without bothering to get married! Isn't the Church disrespecting the marriage sacrament by remaining silent?

[/quote]

May pastor gives homilies with topic on Abortion and Marriage. The Vatican has made a number of statements on the topic also, even in recent times. It is covered in catechism classes.

Enter this in your Google browser.
cohabitation site:www.vatican.va


#16

[quote="Sharelle, post:9, topic:296977"]

sin here, but not necessarily mortal sin. In other words, you're making the step that presumes "full knowledge and deliberate consent", right? ;)

Forgive me, please, but the Catechism, 1852. . . discusses only mortal and venial sin. There is no "grave" sin in between. Grave matter, but not grave sin without being mortal or venial, is the issue here, I think.
[/quote]

Good catch -- I was a little sloppy in my phrasing. But my point -- which you fail to address -- stands: without "full knowledge and deliberate consent", the grave matter which you described is venial sin, not the mortal sin you have (prematurely) presumed.


#17

[quote="WingsOfEagles, post:14, topic:296977"]
Somehow I don't think God himself views an invalid marriage as the same thing as cohabitation. The first often** likes **full knowledge, making it not even a sin. The second is generally known to be wrong by a Catholic.

[/quote]

I think you mean "lacks". ;) Lack of full knowledge wouldn't mean that it's not a sin - just that it might not be a mortal sin.

But if we are talking about Mass-attending Catholics (the only ones who would hear the preaching), I have never known anyone that was in an objectively invalid marriage that didn't have full knowledge that they were marrying outside the Church. There is a different situation with those who were not Catholic when they married or who haven't set foot in Church since childhood. These cases are pretty much in two categories. The first is lack of form. It's generally known, even by non-Catholics, that Catholics must marry in the Church. The second, prior bond (if one of the spouses was previously married) should be known to the parties involved. If not, they have bigger problems than just an invalvid marriage.


#18

[quote="Corki, post:17, topic:296977"]
Lack of full knowledge wouldn't mean that it's not a sin--just that it might not be a mortal sin. There is a different situation with those who were not Catholic when they married or who haven't set foot in Church since childhood. The first is lack of form.

[/quote]

There are many, many reasons why Catholics who were baptized as infants choose either to leave or never to practice the faith. In many cases the witness and acts of clergy and other Catholics cause them to become alienated. Regardless of the specifics, the end-result is that many choose to marry civilly when they reach adulthood.

People who were NOT baptized as infants, are given the full benefit of a canonical investigation into the validity of their marriage, if they should divorce and seek to marry secondly a Catholic. An infant-baptized Catholic, on the other hand, who may have been of the exact same mindset entering a first, civil marriage, can have their first marriage erased in a puff of smoke by request as-if it never happened, for mere "lack of form".

In both cases, however, after divorcing the spouse of their youth and seeking to marry a second time, the prophet Malachi (2) would call their annulment/remarriage "dung". Both for having abandoned the spouse of their youth and for having divorced them. Rather, God commands that spouses only separate (1 Cor. 7:10-11) and/or seek to be reconciled with their first spouse.

Is it right for the Church to be raising canonical flags concerned with nullity/validity over man-made distinctions all-the-while it is ignoring God's instructions through Malachi, St. Paul, and other Scriptural recordings of Christ's words? In the end, it seems the Church is more-concerned with finding ways to accommodate toward divorce than to honor the marriage covenant established in Eden and later made a sacrament by Christ? Christ denounced all forms of divorce except for porneia (incest) as leading into adultery.

laetificatmadison.com/2012/09/a-ceremony-for-commencing-living-in-sin/


#19

I think that it would be good if we heard more homilies about non-married couples, both opposite and same sex, who are co-habiting.

But...these are the kinds of homilies that cause people, both those who are co-habiting, and their PARENTS and other loved ones, to become angry with the Church, stop attending Mass, and start attending a religious fellowship that doesn't upset them.

Some of you might say "Good riddance to bad rubbish."

But is that really the attitude that Catholics should have? :confused:

Perhaps that's why priests tread carefully--what good is accomplished by driving sinners away from the place where they most need to be?

Sinners outside of the Church may be outside for decades before they return--IF they ever return. Many of the people on CAF can testify--heartbroken and in tears--that their loved ones have left the Church and have never returned, and don't seem likely to ever return.

But as long as sinners are coming to Mass and staying in the Church, the Holy Spirit and other Christians can work in their hearts and hopefully help them to get to a place of repentance, confession, penance and correction, and joyful restoration with God and His Church.

Sometimes we try to run ahead of God and do "clean up" work before the time is ripe. We want the Church to be "clean" and "perfect" right now. But in Matthew 13: 24-30, Jesus tells the parable of the tares, and makes it very clear that the servants are NOT to gather up the tares and throw them out--Jesus Himself will have His reapers do this at the time of the harvest. The reason for this is that we might inadvertently throw out wheat that is immature and looks like tares--Jesus knows the difference and reserves the right to do His own harvesting at the proper time.

I would say that we need to trust our priests and pray for them and for our Christian brothers and sisters.


#20

[quote="Cat, post:19, topic:296977"]
I think that it would be good if we heard more homilies about non-married couples, both opposite and same sex, who are co-habiting.

But...these are the kinds of homilies that cause people, both those who are co-habiting, and their PARENTS and other loved ones, to become angry with the Church, stop attending Mass, and start attending a religious fellowship that doesn't upset them.

Some of you might say "Good riddance to bad rubbish."

But is that really the attitude that Catholics should have? :confused:

Perhaps that's why priests tread carefully--what good is accomplished by driving sinners away from the place where they most need to be?

Sinners outside of the Church may be outside for decades before they return--IF they ever return. Many of the people on CAF can testify--heartbroken and in tears--that their loved ones have left the Church and have never returned, and don't seem likely to ever return.

But as long as sinners are coming to Mass and staying in the Church, the Holy Spirit and other Christians can work in their hearts and hopefully help them to get to a place of repentance, confession, penance and correction, and joyful restoration with God and His Church.

Sometimes we try to run ahead of God and do "clean up" work before the time is ripe. We want the Church to be "clean" and "perfect" right now. But in Matthew 13: 24-30, Jesus tells the parable of the tares, and makes it very clear that the servants are NOT to gather up the tares and throw them out--Jesus Himself will have His reapers do this at the time of the harvest. The reason for this is that we might inadvertently throw out wheat that is immature and looks like tares--Jesus knows the difference and reserves the right to do His own harvesting at the proper time.

I would say that we need to trust our priests and pray for them and for our Christian brothers and sisters.

[/quote]

This. Exactly. It's a tough balance. Personally, I'm praying over whether or not the Lord wants me to preach on abortion this weekend. The Gospel is we ought to cut off our hand if it causes us to sin, etc., etc., etc. it struck me that were someone to take this literally and actually do it, on the basis of, "it's my body!" we would probably commit that person to a mental institution. Yet, the same logic justifies abortion. In other words, when is the last time you saw someone walking around without a right hand?

But, the trouble is weighing goods. Bishops, priests, and deacons have to carefully weigh, every time we preach, what good will come from this homily, and what will be the consequences, both positive and negative? If I preach a "hard topic," will it drive the people away who most need to hear it? If I don't, will those same people remain in their current state?

It's a tough balancing act, and I've seen it done well, but also done poorly in both directions. Ultimately, the truth is to always preach the truth in love, as Paul says in Ephesians 4. This is the approach that our Lord took with the woman at the well in John 4 and the woman caught in adultery in John 8.

Please, pray and fast for your bishops, priests, and deacons!


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