Pope Francis Weds 40, Including Cohabitants

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One of the themes of Pope Francis’ pontificate seems to be encouraging people to feel more welcome when it comes to receiving the sacraments. He has attacked those who refuse to baptize children whose parents are not married. He has encouraged people to go to confession, even if we haven’t been in a long time. And yesterday, he presided over a wedding of 20 couples in St. Peter’s, which included people who were already living together:

The newlyweds ranged in age from 25 to 56 and represented a variety of situations, with some already having children or having lived together before marriage.

Cohabitation, though not a canonical impediment to marriage, violates the Catholic church’s teaching on marriage and sexual love. Pastoral ministers helping Catholic couples prepare for the sacrament are urged to encourage them to regularize such situations prior to marrying.

The Church should want those who intend to spend their lives together and are currently living together to choose marriage. Creating barriers to that seems to encourage precisely the opposite of what the Church wants. Once again, Pope Francis seems to be modelling what it means to be a pastor and how to set aside legalism in order to build a stronger Catholic community that is connected by love.
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