Pope John Paul II addressed the problem of couples living together outside of marriage (see this week's ProLife Profile on this page) in his apostolic constitution Familiaris Consortio. Instead of condemning or cutting off coupling who live in “unions,” he urges pastoral outreach and efforts to prevent young people, through formation and good example, from even considering such a lifestyle.
The pastors and the ecclesial community should take care to become acquainted with such situations and their actual causes, case by case. They should make tactful and respectful contacts with the couples concerned, and enlighten them patiently, correct them charitably and show them the witness of Christian family life, in such a way as to smooth the path for them to regularize their situation. But above all, there must be a campaign of prevention, by fostering the sense of fidelity in the whole moral and religious training of the young, instructing them concerning the conditions and structures that favor such fidelity, without which there is no true freedom; they must be helped to reach spiritual maturity and enabled to understand the rich human and supernatural reality of marriage as a sacrament. (No. 81)