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Document Details :
Title: Discerning Cohabitation
Subtitle: Amoris Laetitia in the United States of America
Author(s): O'REILLY-GINDHART, Mary Catherine
Journal: Marriage, Families & Spirituality
Volume: 23 Issue: 1 Date: 2017
Cohabitation is a growing phenomenon in the United States concerning over 18 million people. With cohabitation rates only likely to rise, the Catholic Church in the United States is at a crossroads on how to include these couples within the Church. This article examines Pope Francis’s new Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris laetitia, which offers a new merciful tone and pastoral approach to deal with the increasing cultural phenomenon of cohabitation across the world. Although the exhortation was welcomed by many bishops and cardinals in the United States, the issues of implementing and discussing the implications of the exhortation on the daily lives of Catholics have been diverse. The article examines the reactions to Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation by bishops including Archbishop Chaput, who has published his own guidelines for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, as well as the comments made by the Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Wuerl. At the end of this article the author offers her own thoughts concerning Pope Francis’s approach to 'irregular situations' in Amoris laetitia and gives her own suggestions on how the United States bishops should receive this new exhortation.