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Co-Ed Vacation | Co-Ed Vacations

Unmarried Couples Vacationing

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Arrow Question / Issue:

"My question is a moral issue: What is the Catholic teaching on unmarried couples going on vacations together, not living together, but going on vacations, even with their families, staying together in the same house, even if not the same rooms? This seems scandalous and maybe a mortal sin?"

 

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I would agree with you that such a situation is not acceptable & is scandalous, even if this is not the intent. As far as whether there is a mortal sin, this is something the priest must determine. Objectively speaking, I suspect the situation would be sinful, at least on the part of the parents (even mortally sinful, depending on the circumstances).

First of all, we are obliged to shun occasions of sin...

"We are strictly bound to shun those dangerous occasions which ordinarily lead us to commit mortal sin, and which are called the proximate occasions of sin." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X)

In case of children, the parents would also bear a responsibility to protect their children from sin, not to mention taking care to protect the reputation of their children, the obligation to set a good example, and the duty to avoid scandal.

Obviously, it would be totally unacceptable if an unmarried couple shared a room, but even if they didn't, I simply cannot picture any of the good God-fearing Catholic families I know being willing to embark on a vacation under those conditions, conditions which might expose their children to temptation & lead to mortal sin. Even if nothing happened, there was still the avoidable risk, the potential danger to the children's reputation, the bad example, the possibility of scandal, etc. Parents have a grave responsibility to protect their children and to form them correctly & chastely. IMHO, the situation you described fails to meet these parental responsibilities.

Furthermore, IMHO, a shared vacation home may show little regard for the sinful inclinations of fallen human nature which may be facilitated by shared living quarters, it may fail to provide adequate protection for minors' safety (even if there are locks on the door, one of them could open the door willingly), it may show little regard for modesty (e.g. in evening or morning dress, after a shower, etc.), it may provide additional opportunities for temptation & mortal sin, it may send a bad message to the youth, it may foster a 'living together type mentality in the future, etc. For the parents, it certainly seems to be an occasion of sin that is avoidable (what parents are forced to go on vacation under such conditions?).

As stated in the Baltimore Catechism...

"We are bound to avoid occasions of sin because Our Lord has said: 'He who loves the danger will perish in it'; and as we are bound to avoid the loss of our souls, so we are bound to avoid the danger of their loss. The occasion is the cause of sin, and you cannot take away the evil without removing its cause."

Finally, remember how strong Christ's words were in Holy Scripture regarding what might cause one to sin. As St. Bernardine of Siena states...

"Of all the counsels of Christ, one of the greatest, and so to say, the foundation of religion, is to fly the occasions of sin."

I would suggest parents choose another form of vacationing that could not be considered scandalous, and one that does not present serious risks to their children.


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