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Permission to cohabitate
Question from Lisa on 9/16/2013:

My fiance and I will be getting married later this year. Our pastor, a very holy priest, has given the two of us permission to live together (we will be sleeping in separate rooms) on account of certain financial issues before the wedding. For example, it is more economical for the both of us, as we will be sharing the cost of food, rent, etc.

Furthermore, neither he nor I have any other friends or family to speak of. We are, literally, all each other has in this world and want to spend as much time together as possible. Is this in accord with Church teaching? Or should we seek advice from another priest?

Answer by Catholic Answers on 9/17/2013:

Lisa--

I do not ordinarily recommend that people "priest-shop" for answers to moral questions. Generally speaking, it is safest to accept the counsel given and not worry further. But this is an exception. Your priest, if he is indeed as "holy" as you say, must be extremely naïve. Advising two lonely people who have no one else in the world and "want to spend as much time together as possible" to live together outside of marriage is extremely foolish.

If the two of you literally do not have the economic resources to survive on your own, then one solution might be to marry right now. You could have a private wedding with just the priest and two witnesses. But if instead your "financial issues" would be resolved by putting money you plan to spend on a wedding extravaganza "later this year" toward your living expenses during your engagement, then I recommend scaling down the wedding and living apart until your marriage.

And, yes, find another priest.

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers


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