With respect to leaving the Church, Mass and the Sacraments, many young people (and some not so young!!!) have decided to simply live together in free union or to simply have a civil-marriage. In the eyes of Jesus and His Bride the Church this is objectively wrong and choosing to live in a permanent state of mortal sin. This being the case, this couple has willfully severed themselves from the life-giving Vine. Jesus said: “I am the Vine and you are the branches; my Father cuts off the branches that do not bear fruit.” (Jn. 15) These couples, due their living condition that they freely chose, can no longer receive Jesus, the Bread of Life, in Holy Communion. This being the case, when going to Holy Mass and Communion time has arrived, many other people are getting up to receive Holy Communion and they are forced to stay in the pew—like spiritual “bench-warmers” (Sports image) and watch the others receive Jesus, the living Bread who came down from heaven to give us life and life in abundance. In time, feeling uncomfortable not being able to receive, this couple decides to either leave the Church or possibly go to some Protestant Church, where they can have free access to receiving in the Communion service that may be available once a month. “Bye, bye Catholic church! Welcome Protestant Church!”
A possible remedy? Why not invite this estranged couple to meet with a priest who could outline the conditions to have their marriage blessed in the Church so that they can be in full-communion with the Church. Also, invite them to some dynamic and well-prepared weekend marriage retreat to get the ball rolling down the right hill!!!