Joint Recommendations on the Spiritual Formation of Children of Marriages

Joint Recommendations on the Spiritual Formation of Children of Marriages Between Orthodox and Roman Catholics

U.S. Theological Consultation, 1980

Introduction

1. In this consultation's "Agreed Statement on Mixed Marriages" (New York City, May 20, 1970) reference was made to the spiritual formation of children of marriages involving Orthodox and Roman Catholic partners. The consultation affirms the position taken in that statement but now presents a more detailed explanation of its reasons for it.

Christian Marriage and the Spiritual Formation of Children

2. Our understanding of the spiritual formation of children is based on our common understanding of Christian marriage as a sacrament, as expressed in our "Agreed Statement on the Sanctity of Marriage" (New York, December 8, 1978). Christian marriage is a vocation from God in which the liberating effect of divine love is experienced through human love. This love expresses itself in permanent commitment to mutual fidelity, help and support in all aspects of life, spiritual as well as physical. It also expresses itself in the generation of new life--that is, in the procreation and nurture of children--again, on both the spiritual and physical levels. A primary responsibility of parents therefore is the spiritual formation of their children, a task which is not limited to church membership and formal religious education but extends to all aspects of their lives.

Church Community and the Spiritual Formation of Children

3. Christian marriage also has a social dimension which extends beyond the partners and their relatives. Through marriage the partners are integrated in a new way into the church community. Just as the marriage partners have a responsibility for the building up of the church, so the church community itself has a responsibility to each Christian family to foster its life of faith. In particular the community shares in the responsibility for the spiritual formation of children.

Current Practice

4. Practical difficulties often arise in discharging this responsibility, especially in mixed marriages. Today each of our churches insists that the children of such marriages be raised within its own communion, on the grounds that this is in the best interests of the child's spiritual welfare, thus presuming that one of the parents will relinquish the chief responsibility to the other. Yet if the purpose of the general law is indeed the child's spiritual welfare, its application should be guided by a prudent judgment concerning what is better for the child in the concrete situation.

Practical Recommendations

5. The Orthodox/Roman Catholic couple contemplating marriage should discuss the problem of the spiritual formation of children with both their pastors. Both parents should be urged to take an active role in their children's spiritual formation in all its aspects. Pastors should counsel the parents, and their children as well, against indifference in religious matters, which so often masks itself as tolerance. Since unity in Christ through the Spirit is the ultimate basis and goal of family life, all members of the family should be willing, in a spirit of love, trust, and freedom, to learn more about their faith. They should agree to pray, study, discuss, and seek unity in Christ, and to express their commitment to this unity in all aspects of their lives.

6. Decisions, including the initial and very important one of the children's church membership, rest with both husband and wife and should take into account the good of the children, the strength of the religious convictions of the parents and other relatives, the demands of their consciences, the unity and stability of the family, and other aspects of the specific context. In some cases, when it appears certain that only one of the partners will fulfill his or her responsibility, it seems clear that the children should be raised in that partner's church. In other cases, however, the children's spiritual formation may include a fuller participation in the life and traditions of both churches, respecting, however, the canonical order of each church. Here particularly the decision of the children's church membership is more difficult to make. Yet we believe that this decision can be made in good conscience. This is possible because of the proximity of doctrine and practice of our churches, which enables each to a high degree to see the other precisely as Church, as the locus for the communion of men and women with God and with each other through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit.

Conclusion

7. In no way do we mean to minimize differences that still exist between our churches; and we are well aware of the difficulties which these differences may present for those in mixed marriages. Yet we are convinced that such marriages can be a means of spiritual growth both for the partners and for their children.

8. We are also aware that our joint recommendations on the formation of children of marriages between Orthodox and Roman Catholics differ in certain respects from the present legislation and practice of our churches. Yet we believe that our position is theologically and pastorally sound. Therefore we would urge our respective hierarchies to consider ways of reformulating legislation and pastoral guidelines in this area and of communicating this on the parish level, so that the spiritual growth of both the partners and the children of such marriages may better be fostered.

New York, NY
October 11, 1980
22nd Meeting


Welcome!

Welcome to byzcath.org. Here you will find news and general information about the Byzantine Catholic (Greek Catholic) and other Eastern Christian Churches. This site is unofficial.

Teachings of Christ

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 ESV)

Scripture

January 1, 2018
Circumcision of the Lord
St. Basil the Great
Vespers: Genesis 17:1-2, 4, 5-7, 8, 9-10, 11-12, 14, Proverbs 8:22-30, Proverbs 10:31-11:12,
Matins: John 10:9-16
Liturgy: Colossians 2:8-12, Luke 2:20-21,40-52, Hebrews 7:26-8:2, Luke 6:17-23

- Tuesday: 1 Timothy 3:14-4:5, Matthew 3:1-11
- Wednesday: 2 Timothy 4:5-8, Matthew 1:1-8
- Thursday: James 1:19-27, Mark 10:17-27
- Friday: 1 Cor 9:19-27, Luke 3:1-18

January 6, 2018
Theophany of the Lord
- First Royal Hour: Isaiah 35:1-10, Acts 13:25-32, Matthew 3:1-11
- Third Royal Hour: Isaiah 1:16-20, Acts 19:1-18, Mark 1:1-8
- Sixth Royal Hour: Isaiah 12:3-6, Romans 6:3-11, Mark 1:9-15
- Ninth Royal Hour: Isaiah 49:8-15, Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7, Matthew 3:13-17
- Vespers and Divine Liturgy of St. Basil: 1) Genesis 1:1-13, 2) Exodus 14:15-18, 21-23, 27-29, 3) Exodus 15:22-27; 16:1, 4) Joshua 3:7,8,15-17, 5) 2 Kings 2:6-14, 6) 2 Kings 5:9-14, 7) Isaiah 1:16-20, 8) Genesis 32:1-10, 9) Exodus 2:5-10, 10) Judges 6:36-40, 11) 1 Kings 18:30-39, 12) 2 Kings 2:19-22, 13) Isaiah 49:8-15, 1 Corinthians: 9:19-27, Luke 3:1-18
- Blessing of Water: Isaiah 35:1-10, Isaiah 55:1-13, Isaiah l 12:3-6, 1 Corinthians 10:1-4, Mark 1:9-11
- Matins: Mark 1:9-11
- Liturgy: Titus 2:11-14, 3:4-7, Matthew 3:13-17

January 7, 2018
Sunday After Theophany
Synaxis of St. John the Baptist
- Matins: John 20:19-31
- Liturgy: Ephesians 4:7-13, Matthew 4:12-17, Acts 19:1-8, John 1:29-34

Thirty-Second Week After Pentecost
- Monday: James 2:14-26, Mark 10:46-52
- Tuesday: James 3:1-10, Mark 11:11-23
- Wednesday: James 3:11-4:6, Mark 11:23-26
- Thursday: James 4:7-5:9, Mark 11:27-33
- Friday: 1 Peter 1:1-2, 10-12, 2:6-10, Mark 12:1-12
- Saturday: 1 Thessalonians 5:14-23, Luke 17:3-10

January 14, 2018
Zacchaeus Sunday
- Matins: John 21:1-14
- Liturgy: 1 Timothy 4:9-15, Luke 19:1-10

Week of the Publican and Pharisee
- Monday: 1 Peter 2:21-3:9, Mark 12:13-17
- Tuesday: 1 Peter 3:1-22, Mark 12:18-27
- Wednesday: 1 Peter 4:1-11, Mark 12:28-37
- Thursday: 1 Peter 4:12-5:5, Mark 22:38-44
- Friday: 2 Peter 1:1-10, Mark 13:1-8
- Saturday: 2 Timothy 2:11-19, Luke 18:2-8

January 21, 2018
Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee
- Matins: John 21:15-25
- Liturgy: 2 Timothy 3:10-15, Luke 18:10-14

Week of the Prodigal Son
- Monday: 2 Peter 1:20-2:9, Mark 13:9-13
- Tuesday: 2 Peter 2:9-22, Mark 13:14-23
- Wednesday: 2 Peter 3:1-18, Mark 13:24-31
- Thursday: 1 John 1:8-2:6, Mark 13:31-14:2
- Friday: 1 John 2:7-17, Mark 14:3-9
- Saturday: 2 Timothy 3:1-9, Luke 20:45-21:4

January 28, 2018
Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee
- Matins: Matthew 28:16-20
- Liturgy: 2 Timothy 3:10-15, Luke 18:10-14

Feasts & Fasts

January
1 - Circumcision of Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ
Feast of St. Basil the Great, Sunday Before Theophany, New Year's Day (Civil)
6 - Theophany of Our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ
7 - Sunday After Theophany
14 - Sunday of Zacchaeus
15 - Martin Luther King Day (USA)
21 - Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee
28 - Sunday of the Prodigal Son
30 - Synaxis of the Ecumenical Teachers and Hierarchs: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom

February
2 - Encounter of Our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ with Simeon and Anna
3 - First All-Souls Saturday
4 - Sunday of the Second Coming of Christ (Meat-Fare)
11 - Forgiveness Sunday (Cheese-Fare)
12 - Beginning of the Holy Forty Days Fast
18 - First Sunday of the Great Fast (Sunday of Orthodoxy)
19 - Washington's Birthday (President's Day) (USA)
24 - Second All-Souls Saturday
25 - Second Sunday of the Great Fast (St. Gregory Palamas)

Please pray!

"They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword...." (Hebrews 11:37a)

Please lift up in prayer all those who are persecuted and deprived of liberty, everywhere in the world. Please especially remember the peoples of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Niger - the whole Middle East and Africa - who are literal martyrs for Christ. Also the peoples of Ukraine. They are our brothers, for all are one in Christ.

Join Our Community

Check out The Byzantine Forum, a discussion community focusing on everything Eastern Christian. Here you can share your faith, ask questions, request prayers and offer prayers. It's a cross between a panel of experts and a cyber coffee hour. Believers and non-believers welcome!

Theophany

When You were baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, * worship of the Trinity was revealed, * for the Father's voice bore witness to You, calling You His “beloved Son”, * and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of these words. * O Christ God, * Who appeared and enlightened the world, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

You have appeared to the whole world today, * and Your light, O Lord, is signed upon us, * who with knowledge sing praise to You: * "You have come, and You have appeared, O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Random Proverb

"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." (Proverbs 11:24 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Souls that love truth and God, that long with much hope and faith to put on Christ completely, do not need so much to be put in remembrance by others, nor do they endure, even for a while, to be deprived of the heavenly desire and of passionate affection to the Lord; but being wholly and entirely nailed to the cross of Christ, they perceive in themselves day by day a sense of spiritual advance towards the spiritual Bridegroom. 

St. Macarius the Great