The Catholic archbishop of Santa Fe has issued a pastoral letter, read in all parishes of the archdiocese on April 3, that explains the Catholic Church’s position on reception of the sacraments to those living in cohabitation.
“We are all painfully aware that there are many Catholics today who are living in cohabitation,” the pastoral letter by Archbishop Michael Sheehan begins. “The Church must make it clear to the faithful that these unions are not in accord with the Gospel, and to help Catholics who find themselves in these situations to do whatever they must do to make their lives pleasing to God.”
The Gospel teaches that, when it comes to sexual union, “there are only two lifestyles acceptable to Jesus Christ for His disciples: a single life of chastity, or the union of man and woman in the Sacrament of Matrimony,” the archbishop states. “There is no ‘third way’ possible for a Christian. The Bible and the Church teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman and opposes same sex unions.”
In the short and concise pastoral letter, Archbishop Sheehan explains the objection of the Church to the “three groups of people who are living contrary to the Gospel teaching on marriage” receiving Communion.
These three groups are those who cohabit; those who have a civil union with no sacramental marriage; and those who have a civil union who were married before.