The archbishop of Santa Fe, N.M., admonished unmarried Catholic couples who are living together, those who are not married but are in a civil union and divorced Catholics who remarry without an annulment, warning them not to receive Holy Communion.
In a pastoral letter, Archbishop Michael Sheehan said it was up to the Church and its pastors to emphasize that with regard to sexual unions, "there are only two lifestyles acceptable to Jesus Christ for his disciples: a single life of chastity, or the union of man and woman in the sacrament of matrimony.
There is no 'third way' possible for a Christian."
Catholics living in one of the three relationships he described "are objectively living in a state of mortal sin," Sheehan said.
"These people are objectively living in a state of mortal sin and may not receive Holy Communion."