Every pastor will agree that marriage prep in our day present some impossible moments. The fact is, the majority of couples who present themselves for marriage in the Catholic Church are co-habiting. Furthermore, they don’t see any problem with it, and seem rather surprised when the priest challenges them on their living situation. I have recently come across some good priestly comments when presented with cohabiting couples who want to be married in church.

See what you think:

1. I’m so glad you want to get married. That’s certainly the right thing to do as you are already living together. The church is free next Saturday at 2:00. The two of you turn up with a couple of witnesses and we’ll tie the knot.  Of course, since you’re already living together it would be artificial and pretty tacky for you to have a big, fancy wedding, so there’s no need to have all those bridesmaids and groomsmen and limousines and so forth. You’ll also save yourselves a lot of money. So is that settled then?

2.  So let me get this straight. The two of your are living together and having sex right? To the girl: Are you sure you really want to get married to a man who is has sex outside of marriage? If he treats marriage so lightly what reason have you to think that he would change after marriage? To the guy: Ditto.

Usually the couple offer the excuse that it is cheaper for them to live together.

3. So you’re living (and sleeping) together because of economic reasons? In other words, living together is cheaper than living separately and sex is part of the deal? This means money is more important to you than sexual morality. Look at it another way, you’re being financially rewarded for having sex outside marriage. Many people would have another name for this. To the guy: is this the sort of girl you want?

4. To the girl: Help me understand: you decided to move in with this guy so that you would help pay the rent and utilities. He gets sex whenever he wants it, (because of course you are using contraception) and I wonder who ends up doing most of the housework and washing and cooking and shopping? You get all the responsibility of marriage, but no security, no legal status and he could drop you whenever he wants–maybe with a baby on the way? And you call this women’s liberation?

5. I see. You are living together because you are hard up and can’t afford to live apart. May I ask what your budget is for this wedding? $30,000.00? Why not ask your parents to pay your rent for the remaining time before your big wedding and then cut back on what you spend on the wedding? Cut the limo, the big honeymoon, the expensive rehearsal dinner and so forth, and you’ll have all the money you need to live separately.

6. So money’s the issue? You can’t afford any place for the girl to live on her own chastely until she gets married? Hang on a minute, I’ll call Mother Veronica over at the convent and see if we can arrange a room for her there for a year or so until the wedding. That’s no good? How would it be then, if the parish pays her rent for six months. You cut right back on the wedding expenses and then we’ll cover the rent. Sound good?

Couples argue that it isn’t anyone else’s business…

7. But marriage is a public sacrament. You’re either helping us uphold marriage by living chastely, or you are not. You want to come to church to have a public wedding, and yet whenever the neighbors and your family and friends see you sharing the same front door without being married they hear you saying that marriage doesn’t matter to you. Christians are often blamed for being hypocrites. Don’t you think your behavior is hypocritical?

UPDATE: Err, for those who are taking this post too seriously I should add that I wouldn’t actually say these things to a cohabiting couple.