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This article was published in the Summer 1998 issue of The Journal.


In December the action of the Roman Catholic Irish President Mary McAleese in receiving communion in a Church of Ireland church received a great deal of media attention. Press and TV approached AIFI for information and comment, and the association was contacted by so many enquirers that it speeded up preparations for a web page and can now be found at At the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in January 1998 AIFI issued the following statement:

As a voluntary organisation we cannot speak for all interchurch couples - neither do we wish to be drawn into the official dogma or rulings of the individual churches. We simply wish to state that the official Roman Catholic Church ruling on intercommunion creates problems for married couples who are committed in their respective churches but who share a common Christian unity in their marriage and wish to express this in a practical way by partaking in each other's eucharists .... There is, throughout Ireland, a huge variance of approach to interchurch couples - some good., some not so good. It appears to vary with the attitude of the individual priest or minister as to how they interpret the rules locally. We have found that some priests and ministers are more willing to act in a compassionate and ecumenical manner. The altitudes of others persuade many interchurch couples to find their own solutions to the question of intercommunion - some continue to receive separately and some receive in each other's churches. Interchurch couples live at the "cutting edge” of practical ecumenism. In the light of recent wide-ranging public discussion on intercommunion the Association would appeal to those in authority to consider our position in a more positive ecumenical light. During the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the Association would ask you to remember our members. especially those who may be experiencing difficulties at this time.



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