Let us examine what ecumenism is before proceeding directly to the consideration of the question of mixed relations between Catholics and Orthodox. We will say a few words about ecumenism. “Ecumenism”, as a rule, is identified with the “ecumenical movement” and is defined as the desire of Christians for rapprochement and unity. Thus, the concept of “ecumenism” is more general than the concepts of “ecumenical movement” and “ecumenical theology”.
If you decide to find your soulmate, then it would not be bad to study the problem of mixed relationships and marriages. You can find your perfect bride at ladadate.com brides dating site. However, what if your religions are slightly different? The marriages of Catholics and Orthodox, or Protestants and Catholics, etc. are such unities at the micro level.
Perhaps this is since marriages between Catholics and Protestants are not such a problem, if not at the church, then at the ordinary level. For example, the French sociologist of religion Jean-Paul Willem cites the following data from a sociological study: 94% of the French will not mind if their children marry a believer of another faith. “Inter-Christian marriage is no longer a problem,” the researcher writes, “long gone are the days when Catholic-Protestant marriage was considered a real betrayal on both sides.”
Orthodox priest Antoine Callo adds to this that about 80% of Orthodox Frenchmen marry Catholics. And Andrei Borelli will note that in the post-war period in Marseille, in the French parish of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, there was not a single year when the number of marriages between two Orthodox exceeded mixed marriages, and since 1980 there were years when there was not a single unmixed marriage.
However, it cannot be said that the issue of intermarriage is generally ignored by the churches. In the last message, among other things, it is said that the establishment of positive, friendly relations between churches of different confessions can be manifested, among other things, “by regulating the issue of mixed marriages between different confessions.” Thus, it can be argued that the problem of interfaith marriages from an ecumenical perspective has been considered since the very dawn of the ecumenical movement.
Inter-Christian marriages entail a certain set of problems, the most obvious of which are: in which church to get married and in what tradition to raise children. The question arises before both future spouses: to remain in their church tradition, but violate its requirements, or to leave it and go to the spouse’s church? In a situation where both spouses remain in their tradition, then they may have disagreements regarding church holidays that are celebrated on different calendars, observing fasts, and raising a child.
Despite such a striking openness of different churches in bilateral negotiations on this issue, it should be noted that churches often have documents regulating these issues. In addition, local priests may have their point of view on this issue, which does not always coincide with the official position of the church.
Mixed Marriages Around the World
When a guy and a girl get acquainted, they do not immediately raise the issue of each other’s religion. Often this topic is left unattended by both sides. However, when their relationship reaches the level to create a family, they face the problem of marriage – in which church to hold the sacrament? Based on these considerations, many churches, both in the past and today, find it possible to marry Orthodox Christians with Catholics, members of the Ancient Eastern Churches, and Protestants professing faith in the Triune God, subject to the blessing of marriage in the Orthodox Church and the upbringing of children in the Orthodox faith. The same practice has been followed in most Orthodox Churches over the past centuries.
Reasoning about the similarities and differences between confessions is good for socio-political forums and theological discussions, but in a house where a quarrel, mutual cooling, or other family conflict has arisen, reconciliation and restoration of marriage do not help at all. Every sane adult person will confirm to you from their own and other people’s experiences how many families are broken and tears are shed because of a misunderstanding of this simple fact.