Q. 1. What is the position of the Catholic Church towards those who live in a common-law relationship?
A. 1. First of all, it should be noted that there are two types of common-law relationships. There is the relationship between two unmarried persons, such being referred to as "cohabitation." Then there is the relationship between two persons where one is still married, such a relationship being called an adulteress affair. In these relationships, the partners usually agree to live together for a period of time, be it long-term or permanent. Their common-law status is an emotional and/or sexual intimate relationship.
Individuals who cohabitate, their relationship is viewed as one of living in mortal sin. In situations where one or more partner is married, their adulteress relationship is also viewed as one of living in mortal sin.
Such relationships are outside of the Gospel teachings. Those who choose to live in such a relationship, they are seen as living outside of the Body of Christ and the Church life. Consequently, until they change their way and end their sinful relationship, they cannot receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist because they are not in communion with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Depending on each individual situation, those who are living in common-law relationships may be denied other Sacraments.
The Catholic Church does not consider a sexual relationship between two persons of the same gender, married or not married, as a common-law union. Such a lifestyle of freely embracing the sin of the flesh is viewed as living a sinful life.