Dear brothers and sisters,
There have been some people who have asked me if couples, not married in the Church, can receive communion. I know this topic is a delicate one and may be sensitive for some of you. The shortest answer is that couples who have not received the sacrament of marriage in the Catholic Church, as the Catholic Church celebrates it, cannot receive communion.
I will try to explain briefly the position of the Church regarding this issue.
First of all, let me clarify that this position is not a rejection for anyone. It is not that the Church rejects people who have not been married by the Catholic Church. Marriage has a very beautiful symbolism because through the experience of marriage the couple shows to others the great love that God has for his Church. A sacrament makes present God to us in ways that are visible and in easy to understand. That is why marriage is a sacrament, because through your marriage relationship you make present God to us. The sacrament, then, is not only about the couple; it is about the couple walking with God in their relationship.
Marriage is a state of life in which the couple is invited to live the christian life as God asks for the couple who contracts marriage. And as baptized, all believers have the right to marry in the way the Church celebrates it. God makes Himself present to us through marriage, but the couple must also consciously open a space for God in their relationship.
The reason why couples who are not married in the Catholic Church cannot receive communion is because with the state of their relationship they are not in communion with what the Lord expects from them to achieve sanctity. In other words, by deciding to live together without the sacrament, you are really telling God with your life that you are not in communion with Him, with what he proposes to you. The fact of standing up and receiving the consecrated host is a way of telling God and the Christian community, of which we are a part, that with our life, even though it is not perfect, we are striving to be in communion with the teachings of Christ. Upon receiving the body of Christ in communion and saying "Amen," we are saying that we do strive to live according to the teachings of Jesus. And if we receive communion, but do not want to live as God proposes, there is a contradiction and in reality, there is no communion.
I know that this is a very sensitive issue and that there are several people who have complex situations for which they have not been able to marry, even if they have a great desire to do so. If this is your case, ask a priest about your particular situation to see if the relationship can be regularized. I hope to be able to write more about this topic in the future.
Fr. Manuel Rosiles, MSpS