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by Abigail Van Buren

Couple Hesitates to Confess Living Arrangements to Priest

DEAR ABBY: My fiancee, "Jenny," and I are being married next year. Jenny is a devout Catholic and is having a difficult time coming to terms with the fact that we're living together. We recently moved out of state as a result of job transfers and -- for purely economic reasons -- moved in together.

Now that we're about to be married, Jenny is beside herself with what to tell her new parish priest because she's afraid he will refuse to marry us if she reveals that we're living together.

Abby, I love Jenny very much, and I'm concerned that this is going to cause problems between us. She's considering not telling the priest that we live together because she feels he wouldn't understand. I'm inclined to agree. Before we moved, we were living separately.

Any advice would be helpful. -- LIVING IN SIN IN ST. LOUIS

DEAR LIVING IN SIN: I don't know what the policies are in St. Louis, but some dioceses will not marry couples who cohabitate unless they first separate.

You and your fiancee should go to the priest, explain the entire situation, including the economic reasons for your living together, and tell him you would like to be married. It may not be as bad as Jenny fears. The alternative, starting married life with a lie, is worse than separating temporarily.