Catholic-Muslim dialogue addresses marriage and family life
WASHINGTON Ė The Mid-Atlantic Catholic-Muslim Regional Dialogue concluded a six-year discussion on marriage and family life at a meeting March 8-9 in Douglaston, N.Y.
Much of the meeting was devoted to discussing and refining a common statement on the topic, which is to be issued this spring after final editorial changes are completed.
The common statement is intended to be useful to Catholic and Muslim leaders and those working in the field of pastoral care of couples preparing for marriage.
According to a news release on the meeting from the U.S. bishops' communications office, the statement will describe teachings on marriage in Islam and in Catholic Christianity, discuss typical areas of misunderstanding when interfaith marriages are celebrated and spell out each faith community's criteria for recognition of interfaith marriages.
It will also treat questions of cultural sensitivity and the desire of faith leaders to remain in a supportive relationship even with couples who opt for marriage outside the norms of their respective faith traditions, the release said.
The dialogue group formed and began discussions on marriage and family life in 1998, but work on that topic was interrupted after Sept. 11, 2001, when participants decided to explore the relationship between religion and violence. They returned to the original topic in 2004.
The dialogue is sponsored on the Catholic side by the bishops' Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs and on the Muslim side by the Islamic Circle of North America.
Khurshid Khan, president of the Islamic Circle, is the Muslim co-chairman. At the 2006 meeting the Catholic co-chairman, Auxiliary Bishop Ignatius A. Catanello of Brooklyn, N.Y., ended his term and Auxiliary Bishop Denis J. Madden of Baltimore was welcomed as the new co-chairman.
For the next four years the dialogue plans to address education as an essential feature of improved Catholic-Muslim relations, the news release said. The group's next meeting is to take place in Douglaston April 17-19, 2007.
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Copyright (c) 2007 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
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