Expert Answer Forum
Sister's live-in QUESTION from Julia October 25, 1999 My divorced sister recently started living with another man. We had been very close and visited or talked to one another regularly. When she told me about her live-in(via email) I didn't respond to the fact because I didn't know what to say. I couldn't say congratulations and I didn't want to start preaching without her asking me what I thought. I am sure she knows how I feel about the subject. I don't want to loose my closeness with her but I feel this is going to put a big wedge between us. Can you offer any suggestions? I already pray for her every day. Thanks for your help and God bless your marvelous work!
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius on October 28, 1999 Dear Mrs. Julia:
Unfortunately these sorts of problems come up in more and more families more and more often. They are always difficult.
However, we cannot allow the delicateness of these family situations to compromise the truth. Jesus himself said that he came not for peace but for division. He was referring to the fact that some will not accept the truth and thus may fall away, even from family members.
The Bible and the Catechism both teach us that we cannot ignore the sin of our brethren. It is out of love that we must warn others of sin. If we saw a loved-one driving down a road with a bridge out, we would not hestiate to warn them. There is no bigger cliff to fall over than that of sin and damnation.
The Catechism tells us that if we are in position to do it, we must confront a person with thier sin. If we don't we become accomplices to that other person's sin (cf. Catechism 1868-1869).
This does not mean that we confront the person with a baseball bat, of course. We can approach them with diplomacy, delicacy, and tact, and with much love.
But we need to remember that WE do not need to, nor should we try to win the argument with them. We are messengers of God's truth. We can inform the person of the sin and let the Holy Spirit put the pressure on.
I think you can let your sister know your feelings and that what she is doing is gravely sinful. After that commit her to prayer and let the Holy Spirit deal with her.
Now that does not mean you will indulge her. For example, if her and her lover come to your house overnight, you have the right to insist that they sleep in separate bedrooms.
Now all this is general advice. I cannot know what your specific situation is. Pray about this and proceed as the Holy Spirit directs.
We will be praying for you and for her.
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