children out of wedlock

So things I can not figure out as a catholic, one of which is children out of wed lock, or couples that live together and have a child out of marriage…

from what I gather it is either considered immoral or some type of sin to live as a couple not married with in the church then more over to add salt to an open wound, we in the faith are fighting against abortion yet in the same instance have this bitter sweet reaction to couples in the faith who have a child together, it is a blessing and yet a problem at the same time, how can one respond to such a thing ? Life is precious but there is undertone of, it is precious but the mother or couple will be shunned , scolded, or called a sinner if they do so out of wedlock and are practicing the faith.

How are we as Catholics supposed to defend and support and not condemn those single mothers who were not married, or couples who have a child before marriage ?

It seems to be a make or break moment for those with weak to little faith , or for families who want to bring their loved ones into the faith, yet from what I can understand not having fully read any rules on anything it is a major problem and or a sin… so it is a matter of walking on egg shells, and relying on faith and prayer that God moves in a way that does not separate us from our loved ones and does not push them away from the faith and us…

any thoughts or references would be appreciated.

Having a child outside of the protection of marriage is a consequence of its own.

The Pope has made it clear that children born outside of wedlock should not be denied baptism: "*A girl-mother goes to the parish to ask for Baptism for her child and hears “a Christian” say, “No, you can’t have it, you’re not married.”

“Look at this girl who had had the courage to carry her pregnancy to term” and not to have an abortion. “What does she find? A closed door,” as do so many. “This is not good pastoral zeal, it distances people from the Lord and does not open doors. So when we take this path…we are not doing good to people, the People of God.” Jesus “instituted seven sacraments, and with this approach we institute the eighth, the sacrament of the pastoral customs office*.”

In our ecclesiastical region there are priests who don’t baptise the children of single mothers because they weren’t conceived in the sanctity of marriage. These are today’s hypocrites. Those who clericalise the church. Those who separate the people of God from salvation. And this poor girl who, rather than returning the child to sender, had the courage to carry it into the world, must wander from parish to parish so that it’s baptised!”

I can’t really help or give a good answer, but I am interested in the responses. I have wondered about this before. I know that obviously kids out of wedlock should not be happening. I think, however, that if it ends up happening to a person practicing the faith and who knows what she/he has done is wrong, there is no need to have any negativity towards the situation. To clarify that further, I mean that I think we should be happy they are carrying a new, sacred life within them, and the fact that they are carrying the baby to term is a cause for happiness too. As long as they know we do not approve of the circumstances of the baby’s conception (and especially if they know what they did is wrong), I don’t think it does any good to be negative about it.

I hadn’t thought about this much until the question came up from a family member, “how would you feel if your sister became pregnant out of wedlock?” I almost immediately responded, “well I wouldn’t approve of the circumstances of the conception but I would be very happy for her, that she is carrying a new life, a child of God.” The reaction was, ‘what?!?! you would be happy? but what they did was wrong!’ And I thought that was weird that they would say that, despite the fact that a mortal sin was (probably) committed. I just think in the long run it would be terrible to look at the prospect of a new life as a bad thing, as long as the couple learns from it and understands what they did was wrong.

I don’t know - it seems like it could be a tough situation, depending on whether or not the unmarried couple is repentant for their actions. I suppose it could be a whole new situation if the couple doesn’t care about what they have done. But that’s my outlook on it.

It’s lost much of the stigma it once had. Some may consider it a posh thing to do. I think it’s a bit selfish to the child as they have less protection under the law in some ways but people will do as they please with out thought of others. Why someone is gun ho to have and take on the responsibility of kid but not willing to enter into the responsibilities of a marriage is something I can’t understand. My sister has lived with her boyfriend for 4 years. I know she wants to marry but he’s not in any hurry. Yet he supports here and they live as married I think he just wants to keep his options open which doesn’t seem fair to her but she accepts it and knows how I feel so it’s her decision to live that way. Last time she put her foot down he broke up with here. She stayed with him though. :confused:

Having a child out of wedlock is simply not sinful.

Any sin that occurred, occurred prior to the child’s existence. Any continued sin following the child’s conception does not affect the child. The only sin affecting that child came from its great, great, and so on great grandparents, not its immediate parents.

“Look at this girl who had had the courage to carry her pregnancy to term” and not to have an abortion. “What does she find? A closed door,” as do so many. “This is not good pastoral zeal, it distances people from the Lord and does not open doors. So when we take this path…we are not doing good to people, the People of God.” Jesus “instituted seven sacraments, and with this approach we institute the eighth, the sacrament of the pastoral customs office.”

:thumbsup: :clapping:

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“Life is precious but there is undertone of, it is precious but the mother or couple will be shunned , scolded, or called a sinner if they do so out of wedlock and are practicing the faith.”

Really? Who is doing this?

I think there isn’t a huge contradiction in thinking that human life is precious, but that fornication is wrong. Actually, if you think about it, the more one believes that human life is precious, the more one believes that a child deserves the best possible home, namely a home with two married parents who love each other and love their children.

Fornication and adultery are sins, but to be pregnant is not a sin. People get confused and judgmental about these things. I think these girls know what they did is wrong, especially the young ones. They cannot go anywhere without people giving them dirty looks, looking at their finger for a wedding ring, wondering where the baby’s father is, etc. A lot of the time, the girl slept with her boyfriend believing that he loved her, but he was just telling her what she wanted to hear to get her into bed. So he dumped her as soon as he found out she was pregnant. Now she is all alone. All these negative things at once. We need to offer them love and support. Because the public’s annoyance level at “another dumb girl who got herself knocked up” is only 1/1000th of the amount of pain she feels on a daily basis.

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I wanted to clarify something I thought would be inferred which is that the child conceived out of wedlock is not in a state of sin… ( though for more wonderful debating and added confusion technically we are all born into sin, yet also forgiven of original sin, and thusly forgiven again , protected, and indoctrinated into the church via baptism { for another thread } )

Though I noticed some words being used which is fornication and adultery, is what is being suggested and perhaps the lack of vocabulary to which I did not know to apply the referencing a child out of wedlock to be is this… ?

If conceiving a child out of wedlock is either fornication and or adultery how ever the church defines that, yet the child is not deemed to carry that sin ( which is a good thing ) then technically the saying " two wrongs don’t make a right " is actually wrong.

Or perhaps the very simple answer as runningdude has stated is that having a child out of wedlock is not sinful, and thus ends everything on this matter. which in turn answers my question…

and in turn no need for me to keep asking questions after this point…

what is confusing me then are things that I can not define properly… for instance, from what I understand ( so I apologize in advance if this is not correct ) a man or woman can not be an extraordinary Eucharistic Minister if he or she is living in a mortal state of sin…

so excluding the child the un wed parents are now falling into a category of mortal sin are they not ? and on top of that either of these parents are in theory not supposed to receive communion…

at which point this problem is between the parents and Christ to solve via a priest.

So if any of that is true in any form, I find to be convoluted. Creating a child thusly is of course a blessing and rightly so but the unwed act is either frowned upon or is a sin in the eyes of the church.

If any of that is wrong then my questions again are answered and I was just mistaken.

But what I would like to find more opinions on is how to breach the subject to unwed parents, or if it is even warranted ? again if any of this is right, then how much is it upon those in the faith who are aware to try and lead a couple in a compassionate way to become aware if anything.

There is no need for debating why a child needs both a mother and a father, that was not nor ever was the question being posed here nor is there any need to explain why a child needs married parents.

If anything I should have rephrased my question and posed it more on the parents and not the child because I can see how there might be confusion now in the thread title I created, for the confusion if that is what it is I apologize.

thanks again for the (name removed by moderator)ut thus far.

This couldn’t be more true.

I was humbled myself when I found out I was pregnant by my long term boyfriend…at the age of 27. I was stable, in a long term relationship, we were both gainfully employed and living comfortably. But, I didn’t have a ring on my finger.
It’s so amazing how much that one, missing factor meant to me. I was ashamed of myself (even though we had stopped using any kind of protection). Then the entire weight of what I had done fell on me in a very negative way.
However, everyone was so excited for us…married or not. I had nothing but love and support from everyone in our family.
Plus, my boyfriend proposed about two months after we found out and we got married about two months after our daughter was born.
Our daughter, despite being conceived and born out of wedlock, will never know what it’s like to have single parents. She’ll never remember it, of course…but will probably have a ton of questions to ask when she sees pictures of her in our wedding photos. :o

I can’t imagine how it must feel to be 10 years younger then I was, still in high school and at home with mom and dad, pregnant and alone because the boyfriend up and dumped you soon after your pregnancy test came up positive.

How frightening.

These girls need our prayers and support. Not judgement.

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don’t forget to pray for the guys as well, considering it takes two to tango.


I was 10 years younger and living with my boyfriends mom and dad when I found out I was having my oldest daughter. I married her father when she was 1 year old. Honestly, hindsight being 20/20, I would rather have been at my parents home, unwed, with a baby.

Yes, there was sin in having premarital sex. I was worried what people would think about myself and my daughter if I didn’t marry her father and I had been told all my life that parents owed it to their kids to be married. So, I committed an even bigger sin. I knowingly married a man I did not love, or really even like by then, while mentally planning my divorce. Then, during years of physical and emotional abuse and drug use, I committed adultery in effort to escape a miserable home and stay sane. Then I divorced him and remarried, without an annulment, meaning my husband and I are committing adultery until my annulment is final and we convalidate.

All because I was worried about being judged and felt I owed it to my kids to marry her father. Sometimes, marriage is the absolute worst thing a couple who became pregnant can do.

In my opinion, society shouldn’t push marriage solely due to pregnancy. And everyone should be happy about a baby and kind to the mother even if they disapprove of how said baby came to be.

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well it is not entirely society pushing couples to wed due to a pregnancy in part it is that fear you mentioned for those in the faith to some degree that causes this fear… because of in part to things you have thus mentioned…

So if this question I have posed, or topic… it is kind of morphing… the child out of wed lock is not some demon child, but it is this premarital sex, adultery ( in the sense I guess of being civilly divorced but not having an annulment ) why is it then for me as a Catholic so hard to wrap my head around why the RCC deems it necessary to label premarital sex and being remarried with out at annulment to be some immoral act if not a flat out sin, but divorced civilly ( not to mention the church recognizes other demoninations married in their own faith, but does not support mixed faith marriages , and also recognizes civil marriages ) is not recognized…

and thusly as you have stated with your story from what I can tell by church doctrine, cannon law, rubix, what ever, the teaching is you are not able to participate in receiving communion in mass, nor can you be an EOEM, because tech you are in a " state of mortal sin "… yet once there is a baby involved in this ordeal be it you or any woman, all of a sudden it is hurray what a blessing this child is…

an I am like wait a minute, just 9 months ago this couple or any couple was labeled a sinner or in a state of mortal sin or immoral because they either were not married or entered into premarital sex., by the church, yet the church is going to welcome into baptism this child, yet punish the couple or mother by not allowing either to participate in communion or as an EOEM…

again the hypothesis I pose all of this under is a loving couple, perhaps not a mature couple, or a mature couple that understands the Church teaching to some degree… how does one explain this ???

and not addressing MJJEAN story directly or any person here directly as everyones’ story is individual…

Perhaps family members are not to get involved in such matters and is left up to a priest to bring up the subject ??? that and I am kind of wondering if God is really judging us in the same manner the church is. ?


That was very confusing.

I think I get what he is asking…

Why punish the parents for their sin, yet welcome the child resulting from the sin?

Well, not welcoming the child punishes an innocent for something it had nothing to do with. and children are blessings, regardless of how they were conceived.

Why is civil divorce recognized, but remarriage without an annulment considered adultery?

Well, marriage is both a legal state and a religious vow (even civil marriages). Divorce can dissolve the legal bond, but not the Sacramental bond. Until a tribunal says there is no Sacramental bond, the couple are still married and both commit adultery if they have other partners.

A divorced person who has remarried and a person who has married someone that was divorced can receive the Sacraments. However, in order to do so, the couple must go to Confession and then live without having intercourse until an annulment is granted.

I struggle with this one because I really, really oppose having children out of wedlock. I realize it happens though and of course the bigger issue would be abortion. I look differently at a couple who has one child out of wedlock (especially if young)as compared to those people who have multiple babies with different people. Those people I do feel are sinful. When I did online dating I ran into a lot of men with several baby mamas (I hate that term)and it grossed me out. However the kids are innocent.

How are religious vows made in a civil ceremony?

The best answer I have found to this question is that the Sacrament of marriage is conferred on each other by the couple marrying. The Church recognizes marriage as a spiritual reality, not just a legal formality. So even civil ceremonies are seen as binding spiritually.

I was married in a civil ceremony when I was not a practicing Christian and the man I was marrying had never been Baptized because his parents weren’t religious. According to my priest, the marriage was not Sacramental because my ex was un-Baptized. However, the marriage is assumed to have been valid and spiritually binding. Which is why I am currently in the annulment process.

I did not know this. I find that rather strange ( not saying you are wrong). I thought the requirement for annulment is because you are a Catholic. Then wouldn’t it also be spiritually binding for a couple to make private vows to each other, even if not before God? What if unmarried person wanted to marry a non-Catholic man/woman previously married in a civil ceremony?

Sorry, this is off-thread.

Well… the Church has requirements for what constitutes a valid marriage, and I think for anybody there has to be at least one witness, but I could be wrong about that. You’d have to look it up in Canon Law I think, or find a good canon lawyer explain all the details. I think there may also be a requirement to marry according to civil law if possible, but I’m not sure.