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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).
Now, nearly twelve years after the original work of , the cumulative pastoral experience of ministering to cohabiting couples has broadened and deepened.
This is reflected, at least partially, in the increased number of dioceses that now include a treatment of the issue within their marriage preparation policies.
Many pastoral ministers identify cohabitation as the most difficult issue they deal with in marriage preparation.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.It does not offer formal recommendations for action.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...
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.