EWTN Catholic Q&A
Cohabitation in family
Question from Jimmy on 12-30-2013:

My brother-in-law has been cohabitating with a woman for a few years now. During the holidays my wife and I always discuss if we should invite them or not. Neither he or his girlfriend are Catholic and they are reasonably nice and pleasant people. My wife's side of the family is not Catholic, let alone practicing Christians. We do have children and our oldest is six years old. In the beginning we sort of figured it was not our place to say anything. However, with our children becoming older we are questioning what our response, if any, the cohabitation of a family member should have, especially in the context of a holiday party at our house. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Answer by Catholic Answers on 01-02-2014:


Cohabitation need not come up at all at a Christmas party. As long as the couple are not engaging in public displays of affection, young children will not necessarily think them romantically involved. Just refer to the girlfriend as your brother-in-law's "friend."

You'll only have a problem if family is spending the night at your house. In that case, I recommend that it be a House Rule that only traditionally married couples and unattached singles may stay overnight at your house. Everyone else should be expected to get a hotel room.

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers