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Precana Programs & Cohabitation Comprehensive Comprehensive Services 100 Four Falls, Suite 312 W. Conshohocken, PA 19428 2008 Richard P. Fitzgibbons.

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Presentation on theme: "Precana Programs & Cohabitation Comprehensive Comprehensive Services 100 Four Falls, Suite 312 W. Conshohocken, PA 19428 2008 Richard P. Fitzgibbons."— Presentation transcript:

1 Precana Programs & Cohabitation Comprehensive Comprehensive Services 100 Four Falls, Suite 312 W. Conshohocken, PA 19428 Copyright @ 2008 Richard P. Fitzgibbons

2 2 John Paul II & Cohabitation A first example of an irregular situation is provided by what are called “trial marriages,” which many people today would like to justify by attributing a certain value to them. But human reason leads one to see that they are unacceptable, by showing the unconvincing nature of carrying out an “experiment” with human beings, whose dignity demands that they should be always and solely the term of a self- giving love without limitations of time or of any other circumstance.

3 3 John Paul II & Cohabitation “The Church, for her part, cannot admit such a kind of union, for further and original reasons which derive from faith. For, in the first place, the gift of the body in the sexual relationship is a real symbol of the giving of the whole person: such a giving, moreover, in the present state of things cannot take place with full truth without the concourse of the love of charity, given by Christ. In the second place, marriage between two baptized persons is a real symbol of the union of Christ and the Church, which is not a temporary or “trial union but one which is eternally faithful. Therefore between two baptized persons there can exist only an indissoluble marriage.

4 4 John Paul II & Cohabitation Such a situation cannot usually be overcome unless the human person, from childhood, with the help of Christ’s grace and without fear, has been trained to dominate concupiscence from the beginning and to establish relationships of genuine love with other people. This cannot be secured without a true education in genuine love and in the right use of sexuality, such as to introduce the human person in every aspect, and therefore the bodily aspect too, into the fullness of the mystery of Christ.

5 5 John Paul II & Cohabitation It will be very useful to investigate the causes of this phenomenon, including its psychological and sociological aspect, in order to find the proper remedy”, FC, n. 80

6 6 The Prevalence of Cohabitation Prevalence: Over half of all engaged couples have lived together before marriage (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002). Many dioceses report 75 to 80% of engaged couples are cohabitating.

7 7 Precana Challenges “Eighty to 90 percent of couples are not living chastely prior to marriage. When we talk about marital intimacy, responsible parenthood and natural family planning, we are coming to these engaged couples with a message they’ve never heard before.” Dominic Lombardi, 2006. Director of the Family Life Office. Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

8 8 Prevalence of Cohabitation The 2000 Census Bureau figures show that 4 million couples live together outside of marriage, eight times as many as in 1970. 3.65 million children - 5 % of children under 18 (73 million) live in a home of cohabitation in the 2004 Census Bureau report www.census.gov/prod/2008pubs/p70- 114.pdf

9 9 Why Cohabitate? Selfishness: The belief that one has the right to use another person sexually without committing fully to him or her and without any regard for the consequences of cohabitation. Fear of a trusting commitment: People who cohabit are much more likely to come from families with parental divorce (American Journal of Sociology, 9604: 1991)

10 10 Why Cohabitate? Social acceptance: National surveys have shown that nearly 66% of high school senior boys and 61% of girls believe that it is a good idea to live together before marriage to find out if a couple is compatible (Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan: 2001). Social acceptance: National surveys have shown that nearly 66% of high school senior boys and 61% of girls believe that it is a good idea to live together before marriage to find out if a couple is compatible (Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan: 2001). Lack of a social stigma against cohabitation: Cohabitation is more readily accepted in Western cultures (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002) Lack of a social stigma against cohabitation: Cohabitation is more readily accepted in Western cultures (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002)

11 11 Why Cohabitate? Economic reasons: The couple feels that they can save money for a wedding, house, etc. by living together and sharing expenses. Social pressure: Many couples feel pressured by friends, colleagues, etc. to move in together once they are engaged. Media influence: The media has presented cohabitation has a healthy and acceptable living arrangement. (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002)

12 12 Why Cohabitate? Breaking up is easier: Couples do not need to seek civil or religious permission to dissolve their union. (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002) Anger/Revenge: As an act of rebelliousness toward parents or toward Judeo-Christian morality..

13 13 Harmful effects of Cohabitation A 1992 study of 3,300 cases found that couples who cohabited prior to marriage have a risk for divorce, that is about 46% higher than for non- cohabiters (Journal of Marriage and the family: February 1992). Annual rates of depression among cohabiting couples are more than three times what they are among married couples (Journal of Health and Social Behavior: September 2000).

14 14 Harmful Effects of Cohabitation Women cohabiting relationships are more likely to suffer physical and sexual abuse than married women (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002). The more months of exposure to cohabitation, the less enthusiastic couples are about marriage and childbearing (Journal of Marriage & Family: 59, 1997).

15 15 Harmful Effects of Cohabitation Cohabiting couples report lower levels of happiness, lower levels of sexual exclusivity and satisfaction, and poorer relationships with their parents (Journal of Family Issues: January 1995). Cohabiters tend to not have an ethic of commitment that is as strong as non-cohabiters. This could explain the high rates of divorce among couples that cohabited prior to marriage (Journal of Marriage and the Family: August 1997).

16 16 Harmful Effects of Cohabitation Cohabiting unions tend to weaken the institution of marriage and pose special risks to children (Just Living Together: Implications of Cohabitation on Families, Children and Social Policy. New Jersey, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: 2002). By 2000, the total number of unmarried couples in America was almost 4.75 million, up from less than half a million in 1960 (U.S. Census Bureau: 2001).

17 17 Harmful Effects of Cohabitation Cohabitation increases acceptance of divorce among young people (Journal of Marriage & Family: 59,) Respondents who cohabited after divorce or cohabited with their partner in a subsequent marriage reported, on average, lower levels of happiness in the remarriage than remarried respondents who did not cohabit at after the initial divorce (Journal of Marriage and Family: Vol. 68, Number 2. May 2006).

18 18 Harmful Effects of Cohabitation The longer couples cohabited before marrying, the more likely they were to resort to heated arguments, hitting, and throwing objects when conflicts arose in their subsequent marriage. A longer length of cohabitation was linked to a greater frequency of heated arguments, even when controlling for spouses' age. (Alabama Policy Institute: August 2006). Cohabitation can contribute to selfishness and later a lack of openness to children.

19 19 Harmful Effects of Cohabitation Compared with peers who had not cohabited prior to marriage, individuals who had cohabited reported higher levels of depression and the level of depression also rose with the length of cohabitation. (Alabama Policy Institute: August 2006).

20 20 Harmful Effects of Cohabitation 16 percent of cohabiting women reported that arguments with their partners became physical during the past year, while only 5 percent of married women had similar experiences 20 percent of cohabiting women reported they had secondary sex partners, while only 4 percent of married women Waite, L. (2000) The Negative Effects of Cohabitation, The Responsive Community. Waite, L. (2000) The Negative Effects of Cohabitation, The Responsive Community.

21 21 Harmful Effects of Cohabitation Cohabiting couples are disadvantaged financially with the lowest level of wealth among household types, comparable to families headed by a single mother. Intact, two-parent families and stepfamilies have the highest level of wealth. Waite, L. (2000) The Negative Effects of Cohabitation, The Responsive Community.

22 22 Harmful Effects of Cohabitation on Children In 2000, 41% of all unmarried-couple households included a child under the age of 18. This is up from only 21% in 1987 (U.S. Census Bureau: March 2000). One of the major risks to children in cohabiting households is the high rate of breakup. This leads to many personal and social difficulties for children as they face the loss of the security found in home life children (Just Living Together: Implications of Cohabitation on Families, Children and Social Policy. New Jersey, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: 2002).

23 23 Harmful Effects of Cohabitation and Children Several studies have shown that children living with their mother and her unmarried partner have more behavioral problems and lower academic performance than children in intact families. (Social Forces 73-1: 1994). Fully three quarters of children born in cohabiting parents will see their parents split up before they reach age 16. Only one third of children born to married parents will face a similar fate (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002)

24 24 Harmful Effects of Cohabitation and Children Child abuse is a major problem in cohabiting households. The number of reported abuse has been steadily rising over the past ten years (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002). Evidence demonstrates that the most unsafe family environment for children is one in which the mother lives with a boyfriend. (The Heritage Foundation, Washington, DC: 1997)

25 25 Harmful Effects of Cohabitation and Children Among children who did not live in a consistently intact family through age 12, those whose mothers cohabited at some time experienced a higher level of family instability, measured by the number of transitions in household structure, than those whose mothers had not cohabited, 2.6 vs. 1.4 for white children, and 2.0 vs. 0.7 for Black children, (Journal of Marriage and Family: Vol. 66, February 2004).

26 26 Harmful Effects of Cohabitation As cohabiting unions have become more common, they have also become less stable. Whereas once 60 percent of cohabiting unions would result in marriage, now only about half (53%) marry (Bumpass and Lu 2000).

27 27 Harmful Effects of Cohabitation on Children “The non-parent parent, the man in the substantial majority of cases, has no explicit legal, financial, supervisory or custodial rights or responsibilities regarding the children of his partner. This ambiguity and lack of enforceable claims by either cohabiting partner or child makes investment in the relationship dangerous for both parties and makes Mom’s boyfriend a weak and shifting base from which to discipline and guide children.” Waite, L. (2000) The Negative Effects of Cohabitation, The Responsive Community. Waite, L. (2000) The Negative Effects of Cohabitation, The Responsive Community.

28 28. The proportion of cohabiting couples with children continues to be more than 4 times as high as it was in 1970.

29 29 Marital Survey Single Catholics Among Catholics who have never married, three- quarters say it is at least “a little likely” that they will marry in the future (25 percent “somewhat likely” and 29 percent “very likely”). Never-married Catholics attending Mass weekly or more often are more likely than those attending a few times a year or less often to say they are “very likely” to be married at some point in their life (41 percent compared to 25 percent).

30 30 Marital Survey The most common reason cited for not having married, among those at least “a little likely” to be married in the future, is “I haven’t met the right person” (62 percent) followed by “I am focused on other aspects of my life” (47 percent), and “I am personally not ready to marry” (37 percent).

31 31 Marital Survey Only 31 percent of never-married Catholics who say they are at least “a little likely” to be married in the future say it is either “somewhat” or “very” important that their spouse be Catholic. Only 46 percent say it is either “somewhat” or “very” important that they be married in the Catholic Church. www.usccb.org/laity/marriage/marriage_report.pdf

32 32 Marital Survey Fifty-four percent say it is “very important” to them that they and a future spouse agree on the number of children they will have. Twenty-one percent indicate this is “somewhat important.” About two thirds of single Catholics are aware if the Church’s teachings regarding openness to children as being essential to marriage (68 percent) and a similar percentage agrees “somewhat” or “strongly” that watching children grow up is life’s greatest joy (66 percent). © 2008 CARA

33 33 Faith reflections The family is the nucleus in which a person first learns human love and responsibility, generosity and fraternal concern. Strong families are built on the foundation of strong marriages. Strong societies are built on the foundation of strong families," Pope Benedict XVI, September 14, 2007.

34 34 Faith reflections “This is the will of God, your holiness: that you refrain from immorality, that each of you know how to acquire a wife for himself in holiness and honor, not in lustful passion as do the Gentiles who do not know God; not to take advantage of or exploit a brother or a sister in this matter, for the Lord is an avenger in all things, as we told you before and solemnly affirmed," I Thes. 4:3.

35 35 Natural Family Planning

36 36 Struggle “The history of humanity is governed by divine Providence but is currently divided by two loves. The struggle between two loves: love of self to ‘the point of indifference to God’ and love of God, ‘to the point of indifference to the self’ (De Cititate Dei XIV, 28) to the full freedom from the self for others in the light of God,” Pope Benedict XVI, August 20, 2008, Wednesday conference on St. Augustine.


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