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Welcome to the website of the Interchurch Families International Network.

(Feature article can be found below.)
 
People come to this site to learn more about marriages across denominational lines, be it because they live, or have a family member or friend in, such a marriage; or to know what the churches are learning and saying about such marriages. More and more, people are coming here to discover the riches and joy to be found in sharing in each other's church traditions, and worshipping as much as possible together in each other's churches.

We who live such marriages are today gathering in groups and Associations in various countries. We lend support to each other, share information, and discuss how to live the often painful and confusing situations arising out of the divisions in the churches.  We seek  to grow in Christian unity, and become for our churches an ever-greater gift of healing of the scandal of disunity.

This site provides rich resources for this journey. Of these, the Journal, produced over a period of more than 10 years, and reflecting the experiences of interchurch families and the theology which undergirds their journey, must be counted among the most valuable.

The Interchurch Families International Discussion Group enables us to share joys and sorrows, to discuss ways of dealing with immediate issues which arise as a consequence of living our marital unity within churches which are divided.  Feel free to join.

Enjoy and, if you have comments or questions, please contact me, Ray Temmerman, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

   

UT UNUM SINT: 
An Initial Response

ISSUED 31 MAY 1995

from the Association of Interchurch Families

1 The Association of Interchurch Families welcomes the encyclical Ut Unum Sint, in which Pope John Paul II re-echoes the "impassioned commitment" made by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council to the call for Christian unity. We are grateful for the urgency with which Pope John Paul II calls for continued progress along the path of unity and communion, "a path which is difficult but so full of joy". This sense of urgency is shared by those interchurch couples who find that church divisions hinder them in their mission as partners and as parents, and who live in their marriage this difficult but joyful path to unity.

2 We are especially encouraged that Pope John Paul has expressed his own joy "to note that Catholic ministers are able, in certain particular cases, to administer the ... eucharist ... to Christians who are not in full communion with the Catholic church hut who greatly desire to receive (it), freely request (it) and manifest the faith which the Catholic Church professes with regard to (it)."(46) Some couples have suffered a great deal when they have been separated at the eucharist. We have been happy that admission to Catholic communion for the other Christian partner has been allowed in some particular cases on the conditions set out in this paragraph.

3 We note that this expression of joy comes in the context of the "burning desire" expressed by Pope John Paul II that all Christians may be able to join in celebrating the one eucharist of the Lord, and as an Association we reaffirm our commitment to pray and work for the full visible unity which will make this possible for all.

"A SOURCE OF JOY"

The relevant passage from the Encyclical reads:

45. Certainly, due to disagreements in matters of faith, it is not yet possible to celebrate together the same Eucharistic Liturgy. And yet we do have a burning desire to join in celebrating the one Eucharist of the Lord, and this desire itself is already a common prayer of praise, a single supplication. Together we speak to the Father and increasingly we do so "with one heart". At times it seems that we are closer to being able finally to seal this "real although not yet full" communion. A century ago who could even have imagined such a thing?

46. In this context, it is a source of joy to note that Catholic ministers are able, in certain particular cases, to administer the sacraments of the Eucharist, Penance and Anointing of the Sick to Christians who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church hut who greatly desire to receive these sacraments, freely request them and manifest the faith which the Catholic Church professes with regard to these sacraments. Conversely, in specific cases and in particular circumstances, Catholics too can request these same sacraments from ministers of Churches in which these sacraments are valid. The conditions for such reciprocal reception have been laid down in specific norms; for the sake of furthering ecumenism these norms must be respected.*

Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Decree on Ecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, 8 and 15; Code of Canon Law, Canon 844; Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, Canon 671; PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN UNITY, Directory for the AppIication of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism(25 March 1993), 122-125, 129-131, 123 and 132: AAS 85 (1993), 1086-1087, 1088-1089, 1087 and 1089.