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Marriages in which the partners do not share the same religious persuasion and affiliation are canonically considered “mixed” marriages, or ecumenical marriages. If the couple is a Catholic (Christian) and non-Christian (e.g. Jewish, Hindu, Muslim), the marriage is considered interfaith. Normally, Catholic/Protestant couples are referred to as interchurch couples. Mixed marriages also include marriages in which the non-Catholic party has no religious persuasion. We know that ecumenical families are not identical; their lifestyles and faith choices are varied. Some families choose a single faith identity, other families work hard to include both traditions in their religious lifestyle. Whatever the choices in your family, the Family Life Office works hard to provide you with support and resources.
Listed below are some resources for ecumenical couples/families:
○ Dovetail: A journal by and for Jewish/Christian families.
○ American Association of Interchurch Families (AAIF): opportunities for interchurch families.
○ www.interchurchfamilies.org : a worldwide website for interchurch families.
Please call your local Family Life Office for further information.
MARRIAGE PREPARATION FOR ECUMENICAL COUPLES:
It is recommended that the parish minister preparing the engaged couple spend time exploring the influence and impact of the differing faith traditions on their future life together. Experience shows there are a number of areas that should be explored:
- Identifying with a faith community – will the couple be involved with one, none, or both?
- Religious formation of the children – the Catholic party promises to raise the children Catholic, yet religious education is a serious responsibility of both parents. How will the other faith tradition be included?
- Extended family members – although much progress has been made in the feelings and attitudes of people concerning interfaith marriages, there are still many instances in which the parents or family members of the engaged couple may be offended by the fact that one party is not of the same faith tradition.
- Studies have shown the direct correlation between marriage and religion. It is either a bonder (positive) or divider (negative). What are ways to forge this path to unity? Please call your local Family Life Office for further information.