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Document Details :
Title: Living Together, Christian Morality, and Pastoral Care
Author(s): CAHILL, Lisa S.
Journal: Marriage, Families & Spirituality
Volume: 6 Issue: 1 Date: Spring 2000
“Today almost half the couples who come for marriage preparation in the Catholic Church are in a cohabiting relationship”, says an information report issued in August 1999 by the US National Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Committee on Marriage and Family. Confronted with what has become a major social phenomenon over recent decades, many pastoral ministers seem to be torn between the official Church teaching which strictly refuses cohabitation and their compassion and understanding for cohabiting couples.
In the following statements, three Roman-Catholic theologians situate the issue of cohabitation in the context of the Christian understanding of marriage. Lisa Sowle Cahill, Professor of Christian Ethics at Boston College, defends the concept of permanent marriage, but says that its social reality has to be questioned. Focussing on the meaning of sexuality, Hubert Windisch who teaches Pastoral Theology at the University of Freiburg in Germany, concludes that sacramental marriage is a prerequisite for a truly loving relationship. But what if marriage came to be considered as a privileged moment in an individual and relational growing process which begins earlier, as argues Pierre-Olivier Bressoud from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland?