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A Jewish Perspective on “Amoris Laetitia”

© Antoine Mekary / ALETEIA

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 04/11/16

Here’s an interesting take I haven’t seen elsewhere, from Haaretz:

Francis’ “Amoris Laetitia” (Latin for “The Joy of Love”) has gotten a lot of attention for its generally more lenient approach to divorce and gay marriage, but perhaps more significant to non-Catholics is the pope’s decrees on interfaith marriage – an issue with which the Jewish world is currently grappling as well. In the 256-page Church document, Francis deals separately with the issues of marriage between Catholics and non-Catholic Christians, which the Vatican defines as “mixed marriages,” and those between Catholics and members of other religions. The latter are more problematic and pose more significant challenges, especially with regard to “the Christian identity of the family and the religious upbringing of the children,” he says. However, marriages to non-Christians are also “a privileged place for interreligious dialogue,” the pope declared – in other words, they are a chance for the Catholic church to strike up dialogue with different religions. “The idea of seeing mixed marriages as an opportunity is not something new in the Catholic Church,” explains Piero Stefani, a progressive Catholic scholar at the Facoltà Teologica del Nord Italia, a Church-owned institute in Milan. In the Church’s early days during the Roman Empire, it urged new Christian converts who were already married to use their relationships to convert their spouses: “In the New Testament [Corinthians 7:12-15] Paul said that Christians who were married to non-Christians should stay in the marriage in order to ‘sanctify’ [i.e. help convert] their non-Christian spouse,” Stefani says. “Nowadays the climate is very different: The Church is no longer endorsing a policy of missionary conversion, especially toward Jews. So interfaith marriages are seen as an ‘opportunity’ to start a positive dialogue [about faith] with the non-Catholic spouse, rather than an occasion to convert him or her,” he says.

Read on.

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