There are some couples in our parish community that have not celebrated the sacrament of matrimony. Many reasons exist for these situations and I simply want you to know that I respect you with deep understanding.
Last weekend at the Spanish Masses I offered a clarification about going to confession if you have not celebrated the sacrament of matrimony yet. I want to take this opportunity this weekend to elaborate the Church’s teachings with the desire to inviting you to have a conversation with me, if you feel that it would help you in any way.
Couples who have not celebrated the sacrament of matrimony and who have established a home and family together can indeed celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation. You can go to confession and you can be absolved of your sins except for that one. The difficult thing for me as a priest is that I can’t absolve the matter of living together outside of the sacrament of marriage. And, believe me, this is very difficult for me because I want you to be able to receive communion.
You see, in the sacrament of reconciliation there exists a deep connection among the acknowledgment of sin, the understanding of what is and is not a sin, repentance, the intention of not committing the sin again, and the absolution given by the priest.
So, when a person, who has not celebrated the sacrament of matrimony is living a situation as husband and wife, confesses that particular matter in confession with the intention of returning to the same situation, then the priest cannot absolve the sin, according to church teaching, because there may not be a desire to change the situation. As a matter of fact, the same applies to any other sin.
I understand that this is a very delicate matter and I hope I am presenting it in a sensitive and respectful manner.
The most difficult situation for me to witness is when one of the pair wishes to celebrate the sacrament of matrimony and the other does not. This situation can be extremely difficult for the person who wants to marry in the church and be able to receive communion. I would like to ask those couples who find themselves in this situation, to come and speak with me. I will do all I can to answer your questions and address your concerns.
In the meantime, I just want to express to all of our couples how glad I am that you are part of the parish family of St. Julia. I feel so honored to be with you. May God bless you, your children, your families, your homes, and the love you have for each other.
You are in my prayers and in my heart. Peace. Friar Julio