I did not say that marriage is not necessary. I said that the bishop’s actions likely fit the criteria for marriage. All it takes for a marriage to be morally effective is the free exchange of promises between the two parties. Whether that exchange is then registered with the State in exchange for certain legal protections and privileges is an important but entirely separate issue. There’s nothing that actually says there must be a ceremony in a place of worship, or any ceremony at all for that matter. You can have a marriage without a wedding, in other words, and many people in the Middle Ages did just that. And the Church did sanction it: this bishop and others like him weren’t deposed, and in some places the priesthood was the occupation of the father of a family across multiple generations, just as it is in Eastern Orthodoxy today. Although public recognition is inherent in marriage as such, the idea that you have to have State recognition and a formal ceremony and celebration in order to have a “real” marriage from a moral standpoint is one of those modernist (and classist) errors. That’s not exactly the way the institution has actually worked throughout history. To accuse this particular bishop of immorality and hypocrisy for his living arrangements is both inaccurate and anachronistic, and this has important practical implications for the way in which the Church engages cultural shifts in the way the family is understood today. We should not be too quick to condemn those whose pattern of raising families differs from what was the cultural norm a mere 50 years prior. As the example under discussion shows, there is historical precedent for a less rigid understanding.