Expert Answer Forum

Invalid Marriage QUESTION from Helen Gilmour May 3, 2000 Dear Brother
Re your answer to Carole Keown
There was a case in England in the early 1980s where the proposed marriage of an wounded man was not permitted by the Church. It became public because the man and woman appealed unsuccessfully - to a civil court, if I remember correctly.
Would it be correct to say that there would be no sin or scandal if the couple decided to live together, and even to contract a civil marriage, recognised by the State?
Yours sincerely Helen Gilmour
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on May 4, 2000 Dear Miss Gilmour:
Your question touches on such a technical issue of Canon Law and Moral Theology that I am reluctant to even try to answer it.
I really just don't know. But I would say they living together as man and wife, even though not actually man and wife, could possible be a scandal because of the public holding out of each other as husband and wife.
It would be easier if they lived together and NOT holding out to be husband and wife, but just being friends, roommates.
But this is just a gut reaction. I really don't know and will have to defer to a Moral Theologian on this one.
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