|USA||BISHOPS IN US STATE ISSUE DOCUMENT ON COHABITATION|
The bishops of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference announced a new document on Wednesday to call unmarried couples to live apart until their wedding.
Catholic World News reports that the document, entitled "Living Together: Questions and Answers Regarding Cohabitation and the Church's Moral Teaching," used a question and answer format to explain the Church's teaching on chastity and why living that teaching will lead to a better marriage relationship.
"As bishops, we have the responsibility to assist our engaged couples in growing closer to Christ," said Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua of Philadelphia, "and to help them prepare in the most suitable way possible for the sacrifices and joys of married life."
Bishop Donald Wuerl of Pittsburgh said the document was a response to the requests of priests looking for help as they find many cohabitating couples coming to them for marriage preparation. The Catholic Conference said that national studies show about half the couples seeking to be married in the Catholic Church live together before the wedding.
The document states that "the choice to live together outside a marriage is always wrong" and enumerates the benefits of separating, including a strengthened marriage, deeper intimacy, and greater odds of staying married.
The document is online at www.pacatholic.org/bishops/cohab.htm
CWN 12:14pm 16/9/99