Page 11, 30th May 2008

30th May 2008
Page 11
Page 11, 30th May 2008 — My friend is living with his girlfriend and goes to

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My friend is living with his girlfriend and goes to

Communion at Mass every Sunday. Should I speak to him or to the priest?

This is a common dilemma today for two reasons: living together outside of marriage has become common even among Catholics, and people are not accustomed to examine whether they have the proper disposidons to receive Holy Communion. Therefore it is important to proceed gently and with understanding; it may not have crossed your friend's mind that he should not be receiving Holy Communion.

Nevertheless, instructing those who are unaware of the teaching of the Church, and advising those who are in doubt; are both spiritual works of mercy and you may well be the person best placed to explain things carefully to your friend.

Regarding his relationship, he should either marry his girlfriend or cease living together with her as though they were husband and wife. This needs to be a careful decision on his part, obviously, and he should be honest with his girlfriend about the demands of his faith. He also needs to ask her forgiveness for allowing the relationship to develop to this point before explaining these things. He is in a difficult situation and will need your help and encouragement. If you know of a good Catholic woman who can talk to his girlfriend sympathetically but truthfully, that might be helpful too.

While the relationship persists in its present form, he should not receive Holy Communion. Encourage him to come to Mass and make a spiritual communion, asking for the grace to take the steps that are necessary to live in accord with the teaching of Christ and the Church.

It would be good to explain the.situation to the parish priest. Ordinarily, the priest would not refuse someone Holy Communion at the altar rails unless there were an obvious public scandal but he would want to give instruction on these matters at Mass from time to time. It would be good for the priest also to speak to your friend: this will be made much easier if you have already tried to explain things.

What's your view? And do you have a dilemma of your own? Write to us at the address on this page or e-mail [email protected]

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