Amoris laetitia a turning point: Cohabitation revisited

Michael G. Lawler, Todd A. Salzman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cohabitation is an ever-increasing phenomenon in our human experience and human experience is a long-established source of knowledge for Catholic moral reflection and judgment. In this essay, inspired by Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, we reflect on that phenomenon and seek to make faith-sense of it, that is, we come to the experience of cohabitation with a faith nourished in the Catholic tradition and attempt to allow that faith to enter into dialogue with the experience of cohabitation and the effect it has on the Christian lives of cohabiting couples. The essay develops in four cumulative sections. The first section considers the contemporary phenomenon of cohabitation; the second considers Pope Francis’s treatment of cohabitation in Amoris Laetitia; the third unfolds the Western and Christian historical tradition as it relates to cohabitation and marriage; the fourth formulates a Church response to cohabitation based on our theological reflection on it and advances a plea, similar to Adrian Thatcher’s proposal, for the establishment of a Marriage Catechumenate for cohabiting couples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-286
Number of pages19
JournalIrish Theological Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Religious studies


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