Mixed marriages (letter)

Mixed marriages (letter)

John Schmidt

The Catholic Weekly (22.8.99) and Catholic Leader (29.8.99 and 12.12.99) reported last year on a joint Catholic and Uniting Church statement titled Interchurch Marriages - their Ecumenical Challenge and Significance for our Churches.

The descriptive headlines accompanying these reports are difficult to reconcile with the Church's official position as set out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (nos 1633-1637). The latter is far from encouraging: "... the difficulties of mixed marriages must not be underestimated" (no 1634).

On the other hand, the various diocesan newspaper reports are headed "Church support for mixed marriages," "Interchurch marriages win support" and "Interchurch marriages: a change of heart."

The thrust of the reports appears to be that the Church's position has softened and that interchurch (mixed) marriages are now to be regarded as a gift of the Holy Spirit as they foster ecumenism. The Catechism, on the other hand, basically restates the Church's traditional reserve on mixed marriages.

Pope Paul VI in his apostolic letter Matrimonia Mixta (1.10.70) stated: "... the Church, conscious of her duty, discourages the contracting of mixed marriages."

It appears the Australian bishops (or some of them at least) have beaten the gun on this subject.

Boronia, Vic

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