“Ask a Priest: Should I Stop Subsidizing My Cohabitating Daughter?”

Q: Am I doing wrong in God’s eyes if I call it quits helping my daughter and her family? Her boyfriend whom she lives with has several times been verbally nasty. I’ve helped them out financially, and when I needed to borrow money for the bus I got told no. They didn’t care. A teacher went to my defense, and my daughter said goodbye. I suffer depression and sometimes need a friend, whom I thought was my daughter. I don’t understand what I’ve done wrong. May I know if I’m sinning? I would gladly go to confession if I did sin. – A.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: We can’t predict what other people will do, or how they will react to our acts of charity. So here we have to be realistic. And we have to be careful not to base too much of our happiness on what others will do for us.

It is likely beyond your power to change your daughter. But there is one thing within your power that you might want to reconsider. That is, you are financially supporting your daughter and enabling her to live in an irregular situation. She is not married, and thus the relationship with her boyfriend is not blessed by God.

You might want to ask whether it is prudent to help her to continue living in this kind of situation. True, they might continue to live together even if you do stop the financial support.

At the very least you probably don’t want to be involved in what is known as close material cooperation in evil. Your financial support is subsidizing cohabitation by an unwed couple. It assists closely in an objectively sinful situation. I say “objectively sinful” because I don’t know their hearts and minds; so this observation isn’t meant to judge them.

You might want to take some of this to prayer and see where the Holy Spirit is leading you. Your daughter could certainly use your spiritual support. Whatever you decide, I would suggest that you have a heart-to-heart conversation with your daughter about it.

And you might want to mention your situation in the sacrament of confession. Count on my prayers.

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