Want To Get Married In a Catholic Church... Already Living Together... and a question about civil marriage

I know, my title about my fiance’ and I already living together is raising a few eyebrows, but please let me explain first. My fiance’ and I have been together for four years. (This is where it gets interesting) My parent’s take in foster children, they have since I was 2 ( I am 23) They had a newborn that came to live in their home when she was two weeks old, she was drug addicted, and it was a very sad situation. My fiance’ and I fell in love with her! My parents soon after found out that they were moving to Germany, and were not going to be able to keep the baby. After talking it over, we moved in together, took the required foster parenting classes and became her foster parents. This all in the span of a month and a half. Now, 11 months later, her biological parents have had nothing to do with her (which is kind of hard when they are always on drugs and in and out of court), and the courts will be terminating their parental rights. (We did not get married during that time because the Department of Child Services said that we would have to start the whole process over and she could possibly be removed) She will be eligible for adoption in April. Now while an unwed couple can take in a foster child, only one of them can adopt her. We are not okay with that, we are bother her parents. So… we need to get married quick fast and in a hurry (legally not religiously) So we will be having to elope so that we can adopt her. But, here is my issue, I am Catholic, always have been, and have been attending mass. My fiance’ is not. So I know we need to do Pre-cana. But I am concerned about not only our living status, but also our civil union will put me in a position where we can not get a marriage recognized by the church. I understand that we didn’t do things the right way, but everything we have done is with our best intentions. (Which i hear the road to Hell is often paved in…) Any advice would be greatly appreciated. We would just get a Catholic wedding to begin with, but my parents do live in Germany and the earliest they can come over is July, which is too late… along with having to get a wedding planned and the Pre-cana I just don’t see that possible.

You should talk to your priest and see what he says.

Step back and think. There are ways to accomplish both goals-- adopting the child and doing things in the right order regarding marriage-- without compromising your faith or committing sins in the process.

Did you not stop to think that one of you can adopt the child legally right now as a single person, and then once married you can petition the court for the spouse to adopt the child also? Really, it’s done all the time.

You are being very short sighted rushing into some quickie wedding and failing to go through proper marriage preparation and marriage in the Catholic Church.

Your intentions do not make your actions moral. You are accountable for the numerous sins you are starting to pile up. Our relationship with God should always be our #1 priority. If we seek first to please God all these other things will fall into place.

Make an appointment to talk to your parish priest about marriage preparation and marriage in the Catholic Church.

But that is where I am also confused. I understand the churches stand point on fornication before marriage. But I have had a hard time finding actual literature about cohabitation and civil marriages. If we are not fornicating until the actual Catholic wedding, then what sin am I breaking? And is it a sin to get married by the courts before you get married by the highest of courts? And if so where does it say that?

Your best bet is to speak to the priest at your local parish.
What you are saying is you have remained chaste even though you are living together. Then there is no sexual sin. There can be the sin of scandal. Since you are Catholic and people see you living with your boyfriend many would assume you are sleeping together. That give the impression that as a Catholic you are ok with sleeping with your boyfriend. But your best advise will be to speak to your local priest.

Catholics are bound to marry in the church. Those that marry outside the church commit sin by not adhering to church teaching. Those married outside the church can get their marriage convalidated. I don’t know if in your circumstances would be viewed differently which is why I say talk to your local priest.

I will thank you : )

It is good to know that when you say “living together” you mean living in the same house rather than having a sexual relationship.

The sins involved in doing this when you are romantically involved are twofold:

(a) The sin of scandal. The example you are setting for younger siblings, those in the family, and friends/acquaintances. Two unmarried people of the opposite sex should not live unchaperoned in the same house.

(b) Putting oneself in a near occasion of sin. This means purposely putting yourselves together in a situation where you are alone significant amounts of time, sleeping in the same household (hopefully not in the same bed), and may be tempted to engage in sexual activity.

Yes, Catholics are bound by Canon Law to marry in the Catholic form. It is a canon law obligation. To disobey canon law is a sin in itself. It also makes your marriage invalid by contracting it civilly. You cannot engage in sexual relations if married civilly without committing sin. You must be married in the Church.

I have to disagree with those giving strong condemnation. I know several good Catholic people who had a civil marriage before their church wedding, usually to start the immigration process for one of them. You would have to discuss this with a priest – it would have to be made quite clear that you were only making a legal action and not intending to contract the sacrament of matrimony.

On the prudence side, do make sure that your relationship is ready for this commitment. Maybe in all the whirlwind over this baby, you haven’t had enough time to think about whether you’re quite sure you want to get married at all. Also, of course, be prudent in your living arrangements – you don’t want to create a near occasion of sin, and you want to give as little reason for scandal as possible. For this reason, if you get a civil marriage, you shouldn’t tell people you are married – according to the Church, you’re not, and you don’t want to cause confusion.

As others have said, the only way to be sure about this is to discuss it with a good, trustworthy priest.

I agree wholeheartidly with this poster.

Thank you all for your posts! I will speak with my priest. And we were engaged before we decided to take in the baby. She just sped things up a little : ) It was only for reasons of planning a big wedding (I have a huge Catholic family) that had put things off, and we hadn’t gotten married before.

You must separate immediately. Living together before marriage is a proximate occasion of mortal sin, besides it already being a sin of scandal.

Welcome to CAF, RomanitasPapist.

The post you have responded to is from 2010, always check the date a thread started when you get to threads via a search for a word or phrase.

It is stated somewhere that we should not add to threads that are old and inactive. In a case like this one, the couple have most likely solved the problem posed nearly 4 years ago and may not even be using CAF any more.

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