“Ask a Priest: What’s a Widow to Do?”

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Q: I’m 70 and widowed and I’m seeing a man 78 who is widowed. For financial reasons we cannot get married. We have sexual feelings but realize it’s a sin. What can we do? — S.F.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: I’m not sure what you mean by financial reasons. If you mean that you would lose some kind of pension or insurance benefits or inheritance by marrying, then it would be good to remember that there is a greater inheritance at stake: eternal life.

In other words, the more important consideration is your eternal salvation and your friend’s eternal salvation.

If you can’t or won’t be married, then you need to remain friends. And if being around each other is a great temptation to commit grave sin, then you might want to keep your distance from him.

Frankly, this is the time of your life when you want to prepare well for that day when you go to meet Our Lord. The sunset years of life don’t exempt us from following the commandments.

This is a time to focus on all the good things that God has given you in your life and how these are the years when you can dedicate more time to prayer and the sacraments, for your own benefit and for the benefit of your loved ones and the Church.

If you really care about your friend, you will want to do everything to help him get to heaven – whether that means through holy matrimony or through keeping your distance.

Perhaps this is a moment to cultivate your devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary through the rosary. She wants you to make it to heaven as much as her Son does.

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  1. I have always been curious about a possibility here that a couple gets married in the Catholic church, then immediately gets a “civil divorce”. The marriage could still be valid, assuming everything is shared and all of the intentions are there. Or not?

  2. As a cradle Catholic myself, and also a widow (72yo, my husband passed away in 2014) I have never even had occasion to “look at” another man in the same way as I did him. And I don’t see it ever happening to me, either. (My children tell me they would not have a problem with it if I met someone else since their Dad has been gone for nearly 9 years, but I just cannot even think of it. He was my life. And I pray for him every day.)
    But I pray that this woman *and her friend* will find the strength and the will power to stay away from sin and go the way that God would have them go.
    In the end they will always be happy they did. Forever.
    Well said, Father ~ I couldn’t agree more.

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