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FEEDBACK FROM WORKSHOPS ON

  • THE ROME DOCUMENT,
  • DIRECTORY FOR ECUMENISM, and
  • DIOCESAN NORMS IN AUSTRALIA

GROUP A
Saw documents as a basis for discussion at meetings between churches and within churches.

Felt that the documents were not widely known and that the contents were unfamiliar to most. A perception that documents can be hard line.

Indicated that there was a lack of, or under used ecumenical structures.

GROUP B
Considered that the existence of the documents were a reason for celebration in that they moved interchurch families from an embarrassment to a celebration.

They saw that the main cause of disappointment was the lack of reciprocity in Catholics receiving communion in other churches.

The impact of the documents was that the doctrinal understanding and liturgical life have drawn together.

Concept of “Double-belonging” wonderful for children of interchurch families.

GROUP C
Saw as positive the willingness of people to challenge the status quo.

Considered document to be the most open interpretation of the 1993 document.

It was good to see that the Church has taken the document seriously. Though there was some concern that the guidelines might limit interpretation of the document.

There is a need for an explanation by Bishops and Priests as to why non-catholic spouses receive communion.

Three documents on church unity indicate that all are fairly active, all heads meet regularly and there is much interaction.

The question of whether the documents have any impact on community of different denominations.

Unity of Baptism and unity of faith and unity of tradition – the acceptance of child Baptism.

It was suggested that the Language of what is written might require some interpretation.

GROUP D
Main points for celebration were:

  • Leadership now recognizing interchurch marriages
  • Catholics who have been perceived as a “little bit tribal” are now opening up
  • Recognition of the needs of the non-catholic partner.

Disappointed that only a few lay people have seen the documents and that they are not widely known.

In discussing positives the invitation to non-catholic youth to attend the World Youth Rally in Cologne provides an opportunity for discussion.

This group was composed of all non-Catholics so they were not aware of the documents.

GROUP E 
Main points for celebration:

  • A significant positive affect on the lives of those in interchurch marriages
  • Great that the guidelines exist in some dioceses and that the diocesan bishops took the opportunity afforded by the 1993 document to develop local norms
  • The guidelines are sometimes seen as a response to ecumenical development.

Points for disappointment

  • The fact that such documents are necessary within the Catholic church when the most Christian denominations welcome all Christians without the need for same.
  • There is a concern that many questions which have been raised have not been addressed.

Value of the documents

  • The fact that they are public documents
  • They provide a starting point for others to develop their own guidelines
  • They are not perfect but they do give some direction and guidance.
  • They provide an opportunity for education of the community.