Canon Law and the Pope’s Unfortunate Words on Cohabitation and Non-sacramental Marriages

by Steve Ray on June 19, 2016

There are so many issues to write about; I would have wished that this would not be one of them, but…

Canon Lawyer Dr. Ed Peters brings clarity to the confusion caused by the Pope’s recent words. 

If you’re concerned about marriage, the problems in the Church in that regard, the Pope’s recent words about cohabiting and civil unions — and the trend that is developing — then this is an excellent place to start reading.

Canon Law is the friend and defender of Catholic theology and the Sacraments. Catholic theology, laws, morality and the Sacraments cannot just be treated willy-nilly in anyway we want. The Church has been very clear about the sacrament of matrimony, it’s theology, it’s practice and it’s laws. 

Right when the secular world is abandoning marriage, making homosexuality and other arbitrary relationships equal to marriage, and mocking traditional morality — the Church should be standing tall and beaming a bright light of truth and clarity. The leader of the Catholic Church should be a clear voice to bring clarity not only for Catholics but also for the culture at large. 

Unfortunately it seems the opposite is happening. Recent writings and comments by Pope Francis have muddied the waters, confused the faithful and given fodder to the anti-Catholic crowd.

I highly recommend Dr. Peters’ article here as he critiques the Pope’s recent problematic words about cohabitation and the validity of non-sacramental marriages. Peters does a good job of clarifying the actual teaching of the Church especially in regards to Canon Law.

His review dissects the Pope’s recent public comments. Here is how the article begins, “

“The pope’s most recent comments on marriage point in a disturbing direction but let’s address two important matters first.

Point One. Cohabitation is not marriage.

Largely overlooked amid the furor caused by Pope Francis’ rash claim that “the great part of our sacramental marriages are null”—an assertion reckless if false (which it is) and brimming with despair if true (which it is not), a claim followed not by an apology, an official retraction, or even a bureaucratic ‘clarification’ but instead by an Orwellian alteration of the pope’s words in Vatican records—overlooked, I say, in this greater mess was the pope’s later but equally problematic comment about his being “sure that cohabitating couples are in a true marriage having the grace of marriage”.

Though multi-facetedly wrong (theologically, canonically, pastorally, socially) the pope’s equating cohabitation (‘faithful’, whatever that means) with Christian marriage did not, mirabile dictu, get edited down to a platitude or deleted completely: his words are still there … “

For the whole article click HERE. For more on the Church’s practical and correct teaching on cohabitation, click HERE. Not the first time the Pope seemingly gave a nod to cohabitation HERE.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

George June 20, 2016 at 4:48 AM

I’m speechless…

Our Holy father needs to be clear on these matters.
Importantly, our global Catholic community needs strong direction in these times too.


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