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Barely a week goes by when I don’t recommend Jody’s “When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano” to someone—it’s one of my five favorite pieces ever to run in
First Things. I did so at a dinner last night when the conversation turned to the divisions that still exist among American Catholic clergy. My friend was lamenting how a priest told her husband that if the two of them wanted to live together before marriage, it would be just fine. I would say that this attitude seems fairly common among many of the priests I’ve encountered, at least in my little corner of Washington, D.C.

My friend then showed me the bulletin from her new church, St. Stephen Martyr, near Georgetown. In the bulletin, Fr. Edward Filardi notes, concerning the Sacrament of Marriage:

Please call or come by the parish office with inquiries. Six months preparation is required. Living together before marriage is sinful, harmful to future marriage, and a cause of a scandal.

It’s pleasing to note that there are still a few hard-liners left, even at this late date.



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