It is intended as a resource paper, offering a compilation of resources and a reflection of the present "state of the question" regarding certain issues of cohabitation. Couples may engage in sexual intercourse without living together; other couples may share the same residence but not live in a sexual relationship.
In this way, it wishes to help: (p.71), the Committee acknowledges a distinction between sexual activity outside of marriage and cohabitation. The focus of this paper, however, is on cohabitation understood as both having a sexual relationship and living together in the same residence.
Nonetheless, we know that many couples do live together before they marry.
Many pastoral ministers identify cohabitation as the most difficult issue they deal with in marriage preparation.
They are faced with the dilemma of addressing a situation that is contrary to our moral principles while attempting to validate and sanctify the relationship of the couple through the Sacrament of Marriage (Archdiocese of Miami, We offer the following pastoral suggestions to priests, deacons, and pastoral ministers who prepare couples for marriage.
They are intended to provide general guidance only, since each couple's pastoral needs and circumstances are unique.
During this time they can be given the spiritual foundation that helps them to make informed, faith-filled and life-giving choices throughout their lives.
With this foundation, it can be hoped that couples will choose not to cohabit before marriage.
In this section we provide highlights of what social science has discovered about cohabitation in general and with specific reference to cohabiting couples who eventually marry.
The pastors and the ecclesial community should take care to become acquainted with such situations and their actual causes, case by case.
They should make tactful and respectful contact with the couples concerned and enlighten them patiently, correct them charitably and show them the witness of Christian family life in such a way as to smooth the path for them to regularize their situation" ( , #81).
It is also an extremely perplexing issue for priests, deacons, and lay pastoral ministers who help couples prepare for marriage in the Church.
In 1988 the NCCB Committee on Pastoral Practices published discussed (pp.