100 East Eighth St.
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 421-3131 voice
(513) 421-1582 fax
Colleen Gerke x 2624
Bonnie Mack x 2623
Caron Bergen x 2653
1436 Needmore Rd.
Dayton OH 45414
(937) 222-0227 voice
(937) 279-9482 fax
119 East Water St.
Sidney, Ohio 45365
(937) 492-4449 voice
(937) 498-1193 fax
Marriages in which the partners do not share the same religious persuasion and affiliation are canonically considered “mixed” marriages, or ecumenical marriages. If one member of the couple is a Catholic (Christian) and the other a 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, while other families work hard to include both traditions in their religious lifestyle. Whatever the choices in your family, the Family and Respect Life Office works hard to provide you with support and resources.
Listed below are some resources for ecumenical couples/families:
○ Dovetail: The Dovetail Institute for Interfaith Family Resources is not affiliated with any religious organization or denomination. We have members who are Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopalian, Catholic, and those who are members of many other Christian denominations; members who are Conservative Jews, Reform Jews, and Reconstructionist Jews; secularists from various ethnic backgrounds; and some members who are Buddhist, Hindu, or Muslim.
○ American Association of Interchurch Families (AAIF): It is an association of interchurch families, defined as a husband and wife from separate Christian traditions who both desire to remain active in their respective churches. As a couple, they live the unity of their marriage, supporting each other, while participating in two separate traditions. The Association is there to support interchurch families with the message that one tradition need not dominate the other in marriage.
○ Interchurch Families: The various Associations of Interchurch Families throughout the world have as our primary purpose the support of interchurch families. We encourage couples to strengthen their own unity while maintaining an active role in two churches. We also attempt to help strengthen the Christian commitment of couples where one member’s attachment to their church has become nominal.
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 the Family and Respect Life Office at 513-421-3131, Ext. 2653 for further information.