"What should be done
regarding couples who live together without the benefit of lawful marriage?"
Answer / Resources:
[click link(s) below, as applicable]
couples living together, Pope Leo XIII instructs as follows...
We well know that none should be excluded from Our charity, We commend,
venerable brothers, to your fidelity and piety those unhappy persons who,
carried away by the heat of passion, and being utterly indifferent to their
salvation, live wickedly together without the bond of lawful marriage. Let your
utmost care be exercised in bringing such persons back to their duty; and, both
by your own efforts and by those of good men who will consent to help you,
strive by every means that they may see how wrongly they have acted; that they
may do penance; and that they may be induced to enter into a lawful marriage
according to the Catholic rite." [Note: Entering lawful marriage of course
assumes such a marriage is possible, appropriate, spiritually beneficial, etc. –
yet regardless of any possible future marriage, the sin must cease.]
It may be useful to
recall that Scripture warns that both fornicators and adulterers will not
enter heaven (if they do not repent)...
"Do you not
know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived;
neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor
practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers
nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God." (St. Paul, 1 Cor. 6:9-10)
[Again, this refers to those who are unrepentant.]
Also, the couple
should consult a good priest about what can be done to atone for scandal they
+ + +
"In a so-called
free union, a man and a woman refuse to give juridical and public form to a
liaison involving sexual intimacy. The expression 'free union' is fallacious:
what can 'union' mean when the partners make no commitment to one another, each
exhibiting a lack of trust in the other, in himself, or in the future? The
expression covers a number of different situations: concubinage, rejection of
marriage as such, or inability to make long-term commitments. All these
situations offend against the dignity of marriage; they destroy the very idea of
the family; they weaken the sense of fidelity. They are contrary to the moral
law. The sexual act must take place exclusively within [lawful] marriage.
Outside of marriage it always constitutes a grave sin and excludes one from
sacramental communion." (Vatican Website/Catechism of the Catholic Church,
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