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date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In interchurch families, both partners are practising members of their respective churches but wish also to participate in their spouse’s church as far as possible. Can such families really be ecumenical instruments, when they are so different from the organs of dialogue generally established by the churches? Interchurch couples themselves, united in an international network of groups and associations, believe that they can contribute to the growing unity between their churches. The Roman Catholic Church in particular has developed a more positive attitude towards the ecumenical potential of such families since Vatican II. Interchurch families contribute to Christian unity by their very existence as ‘domestic churches’, embodying and signifying the growing unity of the Church. The chapter concludes by suggesting how, with greater pastoral understanding and a deeper appreciation of the relationship between marital spirituality and spiritual ecumenism, they can become more effective ecumenical instruments by their characteristic ‘double belonging’.

Keywords: interchurch families, interchurch couples, Christian unity, ecumenical instruments, domestic churches, double belonging, spiritual ecumenism

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