Bulletin (Sept 17, 2000)

Patricia Morgan has written an interesting book titled Marriage Lite: The Rise of Cohabitation and Its Consequences. She presents data which shows that “living together” is not all it is cracked up to be. Some argue that cohabitation provides a primer for marriage, a means of ascertaining compatibility before tying the knot. However, studies in Europe, Australia and America show just the opposite:

--As a state in itself, cohabitation is decidely fragile. The average childless cohabitative relationship lasts only 15 to 19 months and dissolves before the couple ever marries.

--Cohabitation in which children are born is equally tenuous. Only 8.7% of British women who had a child with a live-in man were still with the man 10 years later. The rate of divorce among cohabitants is higher than among those who had never lived together.

--Domestic violence among cohabitants is higher than among married people. The most dangerous environment for a child is a home in which lives a man unrelated to the child either by blood or legal ties.

A study from Rutgers University makes these recommendations to young people considering cohabitation:

“Consider not living together at all before marriage. Cohabitation appears not to be helpful and may be harmful as a try-out for marriage. There is no evidence that if you decide to cohabit before marriage you will have a stronger marriage than those who don’t live together, and some evidence to suggest that if you live together before marriage, you are more likely to break up after marriage. Cohabitation is probably least harmful (though not necessarily helpful) when it is prenuptial – when both partners are definitely planning to marry, have formally announced their engagement and have picked a wedding date.

* Do not make a habit of cohabiting. Be aware of the dangers of multiple living together experiences, both for your own sense of well-being and for your chances of establishing a strong lifelong partnership. Contrary to popular wisdom, you do not learn to have better relationships from multiple failed cohabiting relationships. In fact, multiple cohabiting is a strong predictor of the failure of future relationships.

* Limit cohabitation to the shortest possible period of time. The longer you live together with a partner, the more likely it is that the low-commitment ethic of cohabitation will take hold, the opposite of what is required for a successful marriage.

* Do not cohabit if children are involved. Children need and should have parents who are committed to staying together over the long term. Cohabiting parents break up at a much higher rate than married parents and the effects of breakup can be devastating and often long lasting. Moreover, children living in cohabiting unions are at higher risk of sexual abuse and physical violence, including lethal violence, than are children living with married parents.”

(The full study Should We Live Together? can be found at: http://marriage.rutgers.edu/SWLT.htm)

These suggestions which come from secular sources reinforce what we know by faith. The teaching of Jesus is quite clear about the practice of cohabitation or “trial marriage”:

Some today claim a "right to a trial marriage" where there is an intention of getting married later. However firm the purpose of those who engage in premature sexual relations may be, "the fact is that such liaisons can scarcely ensure mutual sincerity and fidelity in a relationship between a man and a woman, nor, especially, can they protect it from inconstancy of desires or whim."[183] Carnal union is morally legitimate only when a definitive community of life between a man and woman has been established. Human love does not tolerate "trial marriages." It demands a total and definitive gift of persons to one another.[184] (Catechism #2391)


An opportunity to grow in faith and devotion: The Eucharistic Marian Conference will be held at the Everett Civic Auditorium on the weekend of September 22-24.

The meeting of the parish Respect Life Committee will take place Friday, Sept. 29, 7 p.m. in the Rectory.


Announcements (Sept 10, 2000)

1. Our second collection this Sunday is for Build Hope. This collections supports the Campaign for Human Development and Catholic Communications. Your donations are appreciated.

2. Thank you for your contributions in last Sunday’s two-bit collection for Priests for Life. $584 were donated to assist this important pro-life ministry.

3. High school students and young adults: please plan on attending the Spirit 2000 Retreat October 20-22 in Mount Vernon. Registration forms are available in the parish office or by contacting Vernon Wells.

4. Now is the time to sign up for First Communion classes for children and Confirmation Classes for adults and teenagers in Junior and Senior year of high school. Please call Sr. Mary Clare at the parish office.

5. The Adult faith formation classes got off to a good start last Thursday. It is not to late to join. Come this Thursday, 7 p.m. in the Ailbe House library. If you know someone interested in the Catholic faith, please invite them to come with you.

6. There will be a Mass in honor of St. Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Philipino saint, on Thursday, Sept. 28, 7 p.m. in Holy Family Church. All are welcome.

7. Dr. Ian Hemstad and his wife Darcy Hemstad, R.N., will be giving an introduction to Natural Family Planning (Billings Method) on Saturday, Sept. 30. The class will begin at 10 a.m. and will be followed by lunch and the opportunity to begin individual charting.

8. If you are interested in joining our parish choir, please see the flier in this Sunday’s bulletin.

9. Scrip is for sale in the vestibule after Mass.