Indice > Dialoghi Interconfessionali > M-RC > Dever Rep. 1971 | CONT. > sez. 4
  sezione 1 (GENERAL RETROSPECT) - selezionare
  sezione 3 (SPIRITUALITY) - selez.
Christian Home and Family - cap. 4
  sezione 5 (EUCHARIST) - selez.
  sezione 6 (MINISTRY) - selez.
  sezione 7 (AUTHORITY) - selez.
  sezione 8 (THE WAY AHEAD) - selez.


   69. Our two Churches welcome the recent dialogue between them at theological and sociological levels on various aspects of the Christian home and family and recommend that arrangements should be made for this work to be continued.

   70. Both Churches find much ground for agreement on Christian marriage and family life in the Decree of Vatican II, "The Church in the Modern World, Part III, Chapter I, Section 47-52 and commend this document as a basis for future study and dialogue on these issues.

   71. We agree that the well-being of the individual person and of society as a whole is intimately linked with marriage and family life. We are agreed that married life is a holy and honorable estate instituted by God for the mutual love and sanctification of men and women, as well as the rearing and education of children. We agree that a marriage between two baptised Christians is a voluntary union for life, of one man to one woman to the exclusion of all others so that they become one flesh (Matthew 19:6) and as such a sign of God's fidelity to His people and symbol of the unity between Christ and His Church (Eph. V). A married couple render mutual help to each other through the intimate union of their persons and of their actions. The permanent nature of Christian marriage provides a suitable environment in which children can develop into mature and responsible citizens. Christian marriage also calls us to and produces mutual fidelity, unity and love which are themselves great God-given blessings. Pre- and extra-marital intimate sexual relationships are incompatible with the teachings of Christ and with the standard of personal holiness both Churches expect their members to attain. Holy Scripture directs and inspires married couples and their families to live in love and friendship with God. To this end Christian parents should encourage family prayers, Bible study and the perfect fulfillment of their duties and obligations as a means for the personal sanctification of themselves and their children.

   72. Inter-Church Marriages. God has made man and woman in His own image but in such a way that each sex is complementary to the other. We are agreed that there are great advantages if husband and wife have much in common especially in matters of religious faith and practice. We are agreed that marriage in which one spouse is Methodist and one Roman Catholic presents a special opportunity and responsibility for joint pastoral concern by both our Churches. The basic unity in faith through baptism and attendance to the World should make it possible for couples in such marriages to help one another in spiritual growth, and to share with their children that rich Christian heritage which they hold in common.

   73. We are not unmindful of the difficulties which can occur when the Church allegiance and doctrine of two parties differ, and both are deeply committed to their different Christian traditions. This conflict must be seen in the context of the right to marry, the inviolability of conscience, the joint obligation of the parents for the care and education of their children, other mutual rights and obligations in marriage and the teaching and self understanding of the Churches involved.

   74. While recent changes in the legislation of the Roman Catholic Church on inter-Church marriages are seen as an ecumenical advance, we are nevertheless conscious of the fact that the conflict and agony in such marriages have not been created by positive law, nor will they resolve by positive law. The difficulties inherent in inter-Church marriages should compel us not only to work with greater zeal for fuller ecclesial unity, but also to do everything possible to help the partners of such marriages to use them as means of grace and of ecumenical growth. We urge a special World Methodist Council/Roman Catholic working party be set up to deal with the ‘theology of marriage and problems of inter-Church marriages' or that the World Methodist Council consider the possibility of joining in dialogue in progress on this subject between the Roman Catholic Church and the World Federation of the Reformed Churches.

   75. Divorce. The Roman Catholic Church does not allow the divorce of baptised partners of a consummated marriage with a view to re-marriage, nor has she allowed the re-marriage of divorced persons. The Methodist Church has taken a different point of view on these matters. Nevertheless, we are well aware that special problems are created by the breakdown of marriages and that these cause great suffering, not least to the children of that marriage. We are aware that theological reflection is at present active in this whole field, and recommend that further joint study and dialogue be given to this important problem. We are greatly concerned with the increasing incidence of divorce and the disintegration of family life and jointly urge both Churches to make common effort to reduce their occurrence.

   76. Contraception. We agree that human sexual intercourse has two equal and inter-related functions, namely fostering love, affection, unity and fidelity between husband and wife as well as that of reproduction. Under the stress and strain of modem social and economic conditions, parents have a right and duty before God to decide the number of children they may bear, support, rear and educate. How this decision is to be implemented is a moral matter, a matter of conscience which should be the subject of prayerful consideration by the parents who are to seek help and guidance from the Church. We recognize, however, that at present there exist differences between the official positions of our respective Churches on the application of contraceptive methods by responsible parents. As we take cognizance of existing movements within our two Churches and of the sociological, ecological and demographic conditions of mankind, we would encourage further dialogue on this matter.

   77. Abortion. We agree that the Holy Scripture affirms the sacredness and dignity of human life and that we have, therefore, a duty and obligation to defend, protect and preserve it. Our two Churches are at present confronted with complex moral issues relative to abortion and with wide differences between them in their teaching and interpretations. We have a responsibility to explore, clarify and emphasize the moral and ethical issues involved in abortion and confront our people with them as the ultimate basic for decision. We recommend that this be the subject of special dialogue between experts from our respective Churches.

   78. Care of the Aged. At the other end of life the problems of geriatrics are formidable and increasing. Now that people are living longer, special housing and other facilities are needed for those whose natural powers have atrophied or are declining. We recognize this to be a family, Church and society responsibility to make possible the maintenance of family life for the aged. We recommend that both Churches should cooperate in caring for the needs of the elderly by providing preparation courses for retirement and giving the aged and infirm a sense of being loved, wanted and cared for. This assurance which is needed as we enter the world and develop into adult life is needed no less as we prepare to depart from this life to eternity.

   78a. Moves towards Unity. We believe that our present desires for greater unity between the Roman Catholic and Methodist Churches can be greatly helped and accelerated if means are available for local Churches to be kept informed of the results of dialogue between theologians on matters which at present concern us. To this end we recommend that Catholic dioceses and Methodist districts or conferences establish local, joint committees to foster and encourage better mutual understanding between members of the clergy, local Churches, and lay organizations (Cf. §§ 121-2).

Indice | Attività del Centro | Corsi | Pubblicazioni | Conferenze
Settimana di Preghiera | Biblioteca | Dialoghi Interconfessionali
Direttorio dei Centri di Studi Ecumenici | Society of the Atonement
Guest Book | Credits | Site Map

1999-2004 © - Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, Inc.
Remarks to Webmaster at webmaster@pro.urbe.it