OK…so, I need some help here. I’m a priest and I teach high school morality. We’re having a great discussion on cohabitation, but one of my students made a good point. This student basically asked the question of why the Church is fundamentally opposed to cohabitation from an objective standpoint, provided the couple isn’t having sex.

So, first, here’s what I DON’T need. I don’t need a long list of Catechism quotes, quotes from encyclicals, statistics, and what not. No disrespect, but I know all that.

What I DO need is a good article that is targeted at 15-17 year-olds about why they shouldn’t cohabitate before marriage.

I also need an article explaining the above hypothetical. Now, realistically speaking, if a couple moves in together, they are probably sexually active. But, I think my student is right that we shouldn’t rush to judgment that the couple is necessarily having sex. So, does anyone know of a good article (even scholarly…I can break it down for them) that articulates why cohabitation is still wrong, even if the couple isn’t having sex?


The reasons are that it has the potential to cause scandal in the community. Even if it’s a bunch of roommates. The second reason is that it is a near occasion of sin, that is putting two people of the opposite sex who care for each other, in the same lodgings, is taking a high risk that nature will take her course.

My son is studying at university and is renting a house with two others. They’re all boys. This is as it should be.

Although I’ll grant that the notion of two persons of the opposite sex cohabiting causing scandal in today’s world is almost quaint.

Still, we’re called, as Christians to set an example, to raise the bar on our own morality. Cohabiting with one’s girlfriend or boyfriend, even chastely, does not meet that high standard because people will “assume” that they’re sexually active, and the close proximity of two young people who ostensibly love each other, but also have raging hormones, is inviting a lapse into sin.


Various Bishops and Bishop conferences have issued things…(you would have to see if they fit a particular age group) also check the chastity section on Catholic Answers


Cohabiting before marriage can be a bad choice because once one has moved in it becomes very easy to get trapped with a sunk cost fallacy and it ends up increasing the chance that one marries someone they shouldn’t. That said I understand how many young people these days wind up cohabiting given the high cost of housing and the tendency for society to stress moving out of your parents house right after high school which means you effectively need a second income to afford housing.


Hmmm. A priest is asking anonymous internet strangers about how to explain why cohabitation is wrong? Perhaps you can ask another priest you know? Wouldn’t that be easier and more authoritative than a public forum?



Yeah, something sounds fishy here to me too.


Really? You, as a priest think they made a good point?

And no disrespect, but if you aren’t looking for all the things you say you know, what are you looking for? If you know all of this why can’t you just explain the hypothetical? :confused:


I have to admit I also think our chains are being yanked. I missed the “priest” part. I’m rather amazed that a priest would have to seek an answer on this forum for a point that should be a basic notion of moral theology in the seminary.


Past threads seem to indicate that he is a priest, but I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that he is asking here for things we often tell other posters to go ask a priest.

And honestly, I find the tone of his request a bit like he is talking down to us. Don’t tell me this, or this, or this, just tell me what I want you to tell me… :shrug:


Actually, I think he’s just looking for teaching materials that he can share with his students that are on their level.


First, yes, I am a priest. Second, no disrespect, but did you read my original post? Yes, I know the right answer. I’m not looking for anyone to explain the right answer to me. This is why I put that line in my post. I was trying to head off at the pass so to speak, all of the answers that say something along the lines of, “This is what the Church teaches.” Again, no disrespect, but I already know what the Church teaches. In fact, if I don’t know more than the average lay person, there’s a serious problem. I don’t intend that to be in any way arrogant or condescending, just a verification of reality.

I’m merely asking if anyone has read a good article on this. I don’t need the article to educate myself. I need an article to give my students to read. I’ve searched some things on Google, and asked around a bit, but haven’t found quite what I was looking for…I was just trying a different avenue for a lead on sources. Sorry for touching a nerve.


Theology of the Body comes to mind…every High School should have those materials on hand.

But yeah…sounds “troll-ish”.

Sorry padre. :o


Yes, I do. I don’t want to go off on a tangent here, as I’m really just looking for materials. But, since you asked, yes, it is a good point. Do I agree with it? Certainly not. But, that doesn’t mean that it’s not a fair question that deserves a fair answer. Teenagers are much better at critical thinking than we give them credit for. If we don’t provide them with satisfactory answers, they will just shrug their shoulders, say, “Well that’s dumb…typical ancient church that can’t adapt to modern times,” and leave. I don’t want that.


I use ToB extensively. It does have some great material, to be sure. I just haven’t quite found what I’m looking for yet. I’ll keep searching. Thanks!


You could simply state the obvious.
Young men and women being as jealous as they tend to be with their boyfriends and girlfriends can fully understand if their “special someone” is rooming with someone of the opposite sex. That generally goes over like a lead balloon, and people make all kinds of ugly allegations. Why would someone open them up to those kinds of erroneous rumors? Because they can’t find a suitable roommate? Really?
Life’s hard enough in college…just don’t do it. If you fear for your safety…get a dog.

Scandal is real. Ask anyone who has regrettably gotten drunk and missed out on a job, posted something regrettable on FaceBook and been turned away from a College Admission board, or anyone who posted in anger online. These things haunt you. And it’s just bad form. Co-habitation is much the same. People like to think we as a society are “enlightened and more relaxed” about these things.
Not so much.
Real freedom is knowing your limits.


Cohabitation and Divorce – There is a Correlation by Glenn T. Stanton

It seems to be all about the cohabiting, not the sex.


I know if I accused the good Father of being a troll, I’d haul myself off to confession. Sheesh. I believe his intentions are perfectly clear and I hope you find what you are looking for, Father.


Correction - he isn’t asking anyone why cohabitation is wrong. People have misread his post and are answering questions he hasn’t asked. What he’s asking is for helpful articles that he can show his students. He’s asking if anyone can send him some.

Wish I had some to send… hope someone gets you what you need!


Near occasions of sin are to be avoided.


Hope this helps.

Bad example is the issue. Why even “dream” of doing this? Show each other respect, as a young man and a young woman, and know that this approach will help lead others astray by getting them to think, “Well, my friend, Bob, Jill, the guy down the street - everybody’s cohabitating. So what’s the big deal?”

The big deal is - scandal. Turning your community into a reflection of something wrong and helping it spread. Be a good example. We need shared values, more good examples. No, no one is perfect - and I refer to myself - but when people hear that Bob and Jill have decided to not move in together, it makes them think. Why?

Chastity? I guess. But scandal is ahead of other intentions. Two unmarried people of the opposite sex do not move in together.


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