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Connie wrote:

Hi, guys —

I was lusting in my heart for someone who would care for me and make me feel good. As I was lusting, I realized I did not want children, so I prayed, God make him sterile, and then, realized getting married probably wasn't a good idea either, as I appeared to be committing the same sexual sin over and over.

Jesus appears to think it's better that men not get married, but live for the Kingdom so I wouldn't be loving a man as perfectly if I married him. As the situation stands, I am living with him, and beginning to fall back into sexual relations somewhat. I'm 33 years old and unemployed.
My parents are in the area and would permit me to live with them. My question is:

  • Has God permitted this relationship because He is OK with it, or does He have some other purpose for it, or am I simply sinning?

When I first met him, the man said he was divorced, but did not say he was married in the Catholic Church so I don't know if God considers him to have ever been married and he prefers to not talk about his past or his family. I don't want to leave the man because he is kind and generous, but I don't want to sin. Jesus said we are to be in the world, but not of the world but also that we should obey those in authority over us.

  • Am I rejecting a good gift that God has provided or am I living in sin?
  • Does the Catholic Church consider itself to be in a position of authority over me in this matter?

I have prayed that God would give the man to me for a brother in Christ rather than a husband but I don't know whether God considers us already married.

I know that God forgives me whether I go to a Catholic priest or not when I seek Jesus' intercession directly (Luke 18:13). I don't understand why the Catholic Church wants people to see a priest for reconciliation every year when simply confessing to Jesus and repenting is all that God requires.

Connie

  { Has God permitted this relationship because He is OK with it, or am I simply sinning? }

Paul replied:

Dear Connie,

There were a few questions in what you wrote, so let's take a look at them.

Whether or not this man is validly married is, in one sense, irrelevant, because sexual relations with anyone you're not married to violates God's law in a serious way; so does intentionally lusting after someone.

Cohabitating with this man would be living in sin, and the Church's authority to authentically interpret the word of God and natural law is an authority given to Her by Christ:

"Whoever hears you hears me." (Luke 10:16)

"Simply confessing to Jesus and repenting" is not all that God requires for the forgiveness of sin. Only God, and Jesus who Is God, and those whom Jesus gives this power to: priests and bishops, can truly forgive sin in God's name.

In the same way, not everyone has the power to turn bread and wine into Jesus. It's the same case with the other [miracle|sacrament] Jesus administered, the forgiveness of sin, which is reserved to priests and bishops that have legitimate apostolic succession.

21 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

(John 20:21-23)

Paul

Mike replied:

Hi, Connie —

I just wanted to add to Paul's solid answer.

You said:
When I first met him, the man said he was divorced, but did not say he was married in the Catholic Church so I don't know if God considers him to have ever been married and he prefers to not talk about his past or his family.

Whether your wish is to see him as a brother or future husband, if he is not willing to talk to you about his past or his family, you will never have an open, honest relationship with him.

This is something that is key to a happy married life or good, strong, relationship with any family member.

By the way, your quote from Luke mentions nothing about forgiveness:

13 But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

Yes, it mentions mercy, but remember, while God is merciful, God is also just.
You can't take one and leave the other one.

Hope this helps,

Mike

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