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It is this group of engaged couples who pose certain unique pastoral challenges.
In both sections of the paper the Committee has chosen a question-and-answer format in order to organize the material in a concise manner. Barbara Markey, ND, Ph D, Director of the Family Life Office in the Archdiocese of Omaha, for helping to compile and edit the first section.
Permission is hereby granted to reproduce excerpts in articles or newsletters or for reproduction and free distribution in its entirety.
Living together in this way involves varying degrees of physical and emotional interaction. It contradicts the meaning of a sexual relationship in marriage as the total gift of oneself in fidelity, exclusivity, and permanency.
It does not offer formal recommendations for action.
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 present resource paper the NCCB Committee on Marriage and Family builds upon the foundation provided by This paper is neither an official statement of the Committee on Marriage and Family nor of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Over the past twenty-five years cohabitation has become a major social phenomenon affecting the institution of marriage and family life.
It is also an extremely perplexing issue for priests, deacons, and lay pastoral ministers who help couples prepare for marriage in the Church.
In order to develop the second section, Committee staff collected marriage preparation policies representing 129 dioceses from around the country.
The pastoral approaches outlined in this section emerge from an analysis of these policies, from knowledge of current pastoral practice, and from consultations with pastoral ministers. James Healy, Ph D, Director of the Center for Family Ministry in the Diocese of Joliet, for his assistance with this part of the paper.