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Carol Johnson wrote:

Hi, guys —

Let me first start by saying that my mom and I live in the same home and we are both widows.
I have some siblings that live with others but they are not married and they come and visit us, just like the rest of my family members.

My mom said that she heard on the Catholic Channel that it is a sin to allow your children who are just living together without being married to come and visit . . . because it shows that we are supporting and agreeing to their sin.

I told her that I thought she must have misheard something and didn't think it was a sin except if we allowed them to spend the night . . . even:

  • if they were to sleep in separate bedrooms, or
    • if we introduced them as married, or
    • acted as if they were married.

  • Can you give me some input in this?

Thank you,

Carol Johnson

  { Is it OK to invite siblings who are not married but living with someone else to our house? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Carol —

Since I've been in a similar family situation let me address your situation.

There is:

  • the correct answer, and
  • the practical way to express the correct answer.

By this answer I have no intentions of bending or compromising on Catholic truth.

Your mom and the Catholic Channel are correct, living together, or playing house outside of marriage is a sin because, though an emotional bond can develop, there is no life-time commitment that has been taken, especially if the couples brings forth children and, at the end, people can get hurt. Inviting them over could definitely suggest you support their un-Christian lifestyle.

That said, the reason why Our Lord came and the purpose of His Church is the salvation of all souls. Situations will vary from family to family so there is no one practical answer.

Ideally, I would agree with your mother but the parent's have to ask themselves:

  • will not inviting them over to our home, push them away from the Church, or bring them closer to the Church?
  • will I have better communications with my children or siblings or worst?
  • will I be condoning their behavior, or not.

The last thing any non-practicing Catholic wishes to hear of any age, especially from religious-oriented people, is:

If you do this, your going here.

Don't condone or approve of their lifestyle but keep a communication line open where you can share good reasons why Christian dating and marriage is important. If you are having a hard time finding good reasons to get married first, ask your local pastor for help or ask us. If you are harsh [and/or] start yelling at them, you will only burn a bridge of communication between the two of you — a bridge that is key to keep open.

Although the Scripture passage refers to the coming persecutions, one verse that comes to mind is:

16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

Matthew 10:16

We have to prayerful think of wise solutions that keep our non-practicing children open, as Pope Francis has said, to the positive option the Church offers.

You said:
I told her that I thought she must have misheard something and didn't think it was a sin except if we allowed them to spend the night . . . even:

  • if they were to sleep in separate bedrooms, or
    • if we introduced them as married, or
    • acted as if they were married.

I agree and would not allow them to spend the night at your place.

  • Why would anyone say a relative is married when they obviously are not?

I sense that many cohabiting, unmarried couples are totally unaware of how the sacramental grace of Marriage will strengthen their relationship.

Think of it as the Krazy Glue, that keeps the two of you together for life.

Just my two cents.


Bob replied:

Hi, Carol —

You can simply allow them to visit but stay in separate sleeping quarters, or they can use a motel.

Explain that in your home only married persons sleep together and since they aren't married they can't. That's it.

You can introduce them as boyfriend girlfriend etc., but obviously as not husband and wife.


Bob Kirby

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