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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.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.These include difficult economic, cultural or religious situations, extreme ignorance or poverty, and a certain psychological immaturity that makes couples afraid to enter into a permanent union.The Pope continues: "Each of these elements presents the Church with arduous pastoral problems, by reason of the serious consequences deriving from them, both religious and moral..also social consequences...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.
They are intended to provide general guidance only, since each couple's pastoral needs and circumstances are unique.71-77) the question of cohabitation under two headings: (a) input on cohabitation from personal experiences and the behavioral sciences and (b) pastoral approaches to cohabiting couples.In this latter section the handbook drew upon the written policies of a few dioceses to present a range of possible options for working with cohabiting couples who come seeking marriage in the Church.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.