Cohabitation: A Royal Mistake

Did you ever notice that there is a different tone and feel to a wedding and the celebration that follows when a couple has been living together prior to taking their vows?

Something is missing.

Oh, it’s not the guests, the music, the cake, or the decorations. There is always plenty of that to go around.

But something is lacking.

I will go so far as to say that there is a special look that is absent in the way a co-habitating bride and groom even look at each other.

There is no anticipation and no excitement of a new ‘beginning.’

Cohabitation makes a mockery of a sacred vow and sacrament, and leaves the bride and groom without that tangible sense of the life-long vocation and commitment that they are entering into.

Some 750 million people flocked to their televisions to watch the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1981. This was in a time when cohabitation would have been a royal embarrassment. Despite an increase of accessibility to view the ceremony, is it possible that the widespread knowledge that the Royal Couple, Prince William and Kate, have been cohabitating for 8 years, is the reason for America’s notable lack of excitement about this royal wedding?

Where is the mention or outrage of this public scandal and embarrassment? The Dallas Morning News of April 9 captured the mood well when reporting “William and Kate’s cohabitation elicits a shrug.”

Is this a clear example that children grow up and live what they learned? Or are the sins of the father (Prince Charles’ long accepted affair with Camilla) being visited upon the son (Prince William)?

… It was a great blessing recently when Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe, New Mexico issued his courageous Pastoral letter, “Pastoral care of couples who are cohabitating” which is gaining widespread circulation. He writes:

“We have three groups of people who are living contrary to the Gospel teaching on marriage: those who cohabit; those who have a merely civil union with no previous marriage; and those who have a civil union who were married before. These people are objectively living in a state of mortal sin and may not receive Holy Communion. They are in great spiritual danger. At the best — and this is, sadly, often the case — they are ignorant of God’s plan for man and woman. At the worst, they are contemptuous of God’s commandments and His sacraments…… Christ our Lord loves all these people and wishes to save them — not by ignoring their sin, or calling evil good, but by repentance and helping them to change their lives in accordance with His teaching. ”

This high profile royal couple, who willingly or unknowingly lives in this state of moral confusion, implores each of us to fall to our knees — not to exult and honor the Royal Couple as the British media will — but instead to pray for them.

Archbishop Sheehan’s Pastoral letter carries a great reminder to all couples who seek to “make right” their living situations. Through the grace of God there lies eternal hope for the restoration of the sacred institution of Marriage.

The message to this generation is loud and clear and quite undeniable:

Cohabitation is a Royal mistake.

Read the whole piece here.

And then there is the almost shameful piece: For modern royal bride, virginity doesn’t matter.

London — In 1981, Princess Diana’s uncle made a public statement before her royal wedding to clear up The Question: Yes, she was a virgin.

What a difference a generation makes.

Today, few people seem the least bit concerned that Prince William and Kate Middleton, set to wed this month, have been living together off and on since their university days…

… The modern-day tolerance of William and Middleton’s living arrangements, many say, just brings the House of Windsor in line with the times. Part of the change may have to do with the very public infidelities that played out in the disastrous marriage of Charles and Diana, which rocked the royal family to its core…

… They are not expected to adhere to an ideal that fell out of fashion several generations ago, long before Middleton sauntered down a charity fashion show runway wearing a transparent dress over black lingerie, producing photos that seem destined to live forever on the Internet.

In Diana’s day, the risque photos of a likely future queen might have torpedoed any wedding plans. Now they raise a few eyebrows, but nothing more.

A spokesman for Prince William, who refused to be identified because of royal policy, said palace officials would not comment on whether attitudes have changed, preferring to leave that role to others.

Middleton’s age also offers a partial explanation for the different attitudes toward the two royal brides. She is 29; Diana was just 19 when her engagement to Charles was announced after a brief courtship. There was a general expectation that the young nursery school teacher would not have had any lovers before Charles.

“There is no rule that the royal bride has to be a virgin, and there never has been,” said Noel Cox, a law professor and royal scholar at Aberystwyth University in Wales. “Obviously it would present difficulties if the heir chose someone who was notoriously promiscuous — that would be unpopular — but they could do that if they wanted to.”

Diana’s virginity wasn’t a defined issue, experts say, but the absence of prior boyfriends with embarrassing tales to tell was a big plus from the royals’ point of view.

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