Friday, June 29, 2007

Marriage Ministry at Catholic University Recommends Pre-Marital Co-Habitation to Couples

From "Archbishop Severs Ties with University’s Center for Marriage and Family over Sex Before Marriage Proposal" by Elizabeth O'Brien, posted 6/29/07 at

The Archdiocese of Omaha severed ties with the Center for Marriage and Family (CMF), a ministry center at Creighton University (CU), for its proposal in support of premarital cohabitation.

In the June issue of U.S. Catholic magazine, CMF director Michael Lawler and CU researcher Gail Risch wrote a proposal for the cohabitation of unmarried Catholic couples. The article says that there are two types of cohabiting couples—those that are committed to marriage, so-called “nuptial cohabitors,” and those that are not committed to marriage, or “non-nuptial cohabitors.” Quoting Pope John Paul II’s 1981 encyclical, Familiaris Consortio (On the Family), the proposal claims that the Pope’s description of committed conjugal love describes nuptial cohabitors as well as wedded couples.

The heart of the article argues, “Our pastoral proposal is straightforward: a return to the marital sequence of betrothal (with appropriate ritual to ensure community involvement), sexual intercourse, possible fertility, then ritual wedding to acknowledge and mark the consummation of both valid marriage and sacrament.”
The article continues, “Such a process would meet the legitimate Catholic and social requirement that the sexual act must take place only within a STABLE relationship.”

What could they possibly be thinking?

The official teaching of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) also backs the Archbishop’s condemnation of premarital cohabitation. The USCCB explains, “Every act of sexual intercourse is intended by God to express love, commitment and openness to life in the total, unreserved gift of the spouses to each other. Premarital sexual intercourse is sinful because it violates the dignity of persons and the nuptial meaning and purpose of sexuality.” (United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, p. 406)

Archbishop Elden F. Curtiss of the Omaha archdiocese forcefully rejected CMF's creative interpretation of Catholic teaching in a letter to U.S. Catholic. In his letter, the Omaha World-Herald reports, the Archbishop reaffirmed that, “Couples who live together without marriage do in fact live in sin objectively.”

In addition, he said, “Because the position of the authors is contrary to church teaching about the intrinsic evil of fornication, I have disassociated the Omaha Archdiocese from the Center for Marriage and Family at Creighton University.”


Thank God for at least one archbishop who does not shirk his responsibility for holding church members accountable for upholding moral truth.

Read the whole article.