Nearly three quarters of Catholics in the United States are not opposed to couples cohabiting before marriage, despite the Church’s moral teaching.

A new survey by the Pew Research Center, released Nov. 6, reports that Americans as a whole are very accepting of unmarried couples living together, even if they have no plans to marry. Additionally, Pew found that a shrinking percentage of adults are getting married, and an increasing number of adults have decided to cohabit.

Of the people surveyed, 69% said they believed it was acceptable for an unmarried couple to live together, without any plans to eventually wed.

Catholics and white mainline Protestants had nearly identical rates of approval of cohabitation–the survey found that 74% of Catholics and 76% of white Protestants who do not claim to be born-again or evangelical were okay with an unmarried couple cohabitating. Conversely, this figure dropped to 47% for black Protestants and 35% for white evangelical Protestants.

During the Fall 2013 USCCB General Assembly, Cardinal Sean O’Malley spoke to CNA about the reasons why couples are increasingly turning to cohabit. O’Malley cited financial instability–particularly student loans–as well as cultural norms as for why this was the case.

The cardinal noted that “the whole notion of family is so undercut by the cohabitation mentality,” and that these social trends are having a tremendous impact on the working-class communities “who were once the backbone of the Church.”

Full story at Catholic News Agency.