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Ecumenical marriage as leaven for Christian unity.

Introduction

The word "ecumenical" comes from the Greek word "oikoumenikos," which literally translates as "to inhabit the house" and meant "encompassing the whole world." In today's usage, the term's meaning has changed from "including the whole" to "trying to make whole." Churches or people are ecumenical because of their attempts to overcome denominational differences.

Yet, when scholars employ the term "ecumenical" in reference to marriage, they seem to use it to refer to discord and division. (1) They do not do this by taking up the negative connotations and rancorous language that for so long characterized approaches to ecumenical marriages. (2) In fact, these authors are in general very supportive and affirming of interdenominational marriages. Instead, the approach these scholars take assumes that ecumenical marriages are troubled. Almost every essay or book on the subject focuses on problems ecumenical marriages face.

Some works start by noting that social-science research reveals several difficulties for interchurch couples. These marriages have lower levels of marital satisfaction and church involvement and higher divorce rates than marriages where the partners are of the same religious tradition. (3) The most frequent causes of conflict in these marriages are "lack of companionship and disagreement over children's religious upbringing." (4) To be fair, most authors nuance this research by noting that other factors, such as church attendance and cultural background, might be the real problems, not denominational differences. Even so, they still indicate that both interdenominational couples and the churches that support them should be attentive to these difficulties.

Other scholarship focuses on practical and pastoral issues facing ecumenical marriages, such as the problems of intercommunion and the celebration of the sacraments. (5) Several authors mention the difficulties of raising children in an interdenominational home. (6) Still others address how interchurch couples need to relate both personally and ecclesiastically. (7) Although overwhelmingly positive, the Interchurch Families Journal and the Association of Interchurch Families' Issues--Reflections--News, the former journal's subsequent manifestation, focus primarily on the problems ecumenical marriages face. Hence, the title of the latter publication lists "issues" first.

This approach to ecumenical marriages assumes that they are fundamentally problematic. (8) By starting with a problem or primarily focusing on a problem, the literature seems to reduce these marriages to their conflicts and difficulties. One of the principal results of this approach is the neglect of one of the key positive aspects of ecumenical marriages. Time and time again, scholars claim that these marriages can contribute to Christian unity. These relationships are "called to exercise a prophetic role for our larger church communities"; (9) "contain numerous elements that ... [contribute] ... to the ecumenical movement"; (10) function as "sign," "instrument," and "sacrament" of Christian unity; (11) model "communion" for the churches; (12) and witness to the "unity within our churches." (13) These profound and positive statements about ecumenical marriages suffer from scant attention or development. They seem at times to be an afterthought, a nice sentiment to console the problematic marriage. Whereas the literature is not bad or worthless, the current scholarship on ecumenical marriages is weak--not only for focusing primarily on the problems of these unions but also for neglecting a potentially significant source for Christian reconciliation.

If the positive statements about ecumenical marriages were to be accepted as true and "ecumenical" in the modern sense of "bringing Christians together," the approach to these marriages would change. Although the difficulties that arise in marriages with differing religious traditions and the desperate need for pastoral sensitivity and assistance in these circumstances should not be dismissed, they should not be the fundamental lens through which to understand ecumenical marriages. Ecumenical-marriage rates hover around forty percent for Christians in general, (14) thirty-six percent for Catholics, (15) and twenty-eight percent for active Catholics (those who attend church regularly). (16) To approach these numerous marriages as being primarily problematic misses the true problem: Christians are divided. As Fr. Thomas Ryan, the director of the Paulist North American Office for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, has written: "We are quick to forget though that this anomaly [ecumenical marriage] only arises on account of a prior and greater one: the division between churches. These couples have not asked to have the historical divisions of the churches laid on them as they try to live an experience of unity and communion of life in their marriage, but that is what the churches bequeath them." (17)

The reality is that it is not ecumenical marriages that are the origin of division but the churches, and the churches must work to heal the discord. Hence, ecumenical marriages need to be approached differently, both for the sake of the marriages and for the sake of the churches. Ecumenical marriage should be understood as being "witness," "sacrament," and "instrument" of ecclesial reconciliation. The lack of attention to these ideas has both fostered a negative approach to ecumenical marriages and left untapped a great resource for Christian reunion.

This essay examines this potential for ecumenical marriages in two steps. First, it investigates the unifying dimension of marriages in general. Marriages unite people physically, interpersonally, socially, and theologically, all through the impetus of love. Pair these dimensions with the early Christian understanding of marriage as a domestic church (18)--the smallest manifestation of the church, and one has an example of a church uniting and a vision of a united church. Second, this essay then indicates how these unifying dimensions of marriage can reconcile differing denominations through ecumenical marriages. In doing so, a truly positive approach to ecumenical marriages is offered.

Marriage

What makes marriage work and makes two become one involves a number of factors. First of all, marriage must be rooted in love. This includes the initial falling in love and the romantic moments during the honeymoon year and periodically throughout the rest of the marriage. This love opens up the lover to the world of the beloved and vice versa. The spouses' values, understanding of the world, cares, and concerns are all transformed as their horizons start to intermingle and shape one another. However, this romantic love (what the ancient Greeks called "eros") is not permanent but waxes and wanes. Marriages are hard work. While romance gets a couple started and rejuvenates them from time to time, it cannot sustain a marriage. The instability of romance cannot provide the stable foundation needed for the permanence of marriage.

Marriage needs an additional love, one based on the will, a love that habitually chooses what is good, a love that the early Christians called "agape" and medieval Christians called charity. This kind of love grounds the interactions of the couple in a mutual disposition to do what is truly good for each other. This disposition persists in the midst of disagreements and arguments, when the relationship is going well and when it is struggling, and when one, both, or neither party is in good health. Together, romantic love and agape unify couples by disposing them more and more to do what is right for each other, even when they feel otherwise. The concern of one becomes the concern of both.

This latter love takes the mutuality initiated by romantic love and transforms it by orienting it toward what is good and cementing it in the couple's daily actions. Yet, the habit of perpetually considering the spouse can develop a habit of perpetually considering the thoughts of others. If the spouses can do this well in their marital relationships, they have the basic skills to do it well in their parental and neighborly relationships and with strangers and even enemies. Hence, the unity achieved by a perfect marital love is one that not only unites the couple in common understandings and values but also has the potential to unite the couple with other people. (19)

This love is the foundation. It is the impetus that unites couples. Far from abstractly, however, it unites people concretely through all the various aspects of their relationship. First, it unites them physically. Often, sex as an expression of love is understood as the principle of physical unity. It unites people through their bodies. The Catholic Church even goes as far as maintaining that sex is an inherently unitive act. (20) Sex, though, is not the only means (or perhaps even the primary means) (21) of physical unity. If directed by love, the reality of physically living together is a powerful unifying force. The sharing of a bed, a bathroom, a home, childcare, meals, and all the daily, routine tasks and rituals almost intrinsically unite a couple. Aristotle believed that genuine friends needed to live together in order truly to share the same virtues. (22) Only then would each friend become the "another self" that Aristotle thought friends should be. If this power of domesticity is true for friendship, then it is also true for marriage. The reality and power of actually living together, especially if it is directed by love, is a potent, physically unifying force. (23)

Second, love also unites people through their interpersonal relationships. It moves couples to learn how to communicate with each other. Spouses need to learn how to negotiate the demands of living together in a household, of being parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles. Each must learn what he or she values and how to discuss the inevitable differences between each other's values. The spouses must learn to address each other's pasts, both the successes and the failures. These interactions must be done in a way that genuinely seeks the good of the other and the good of the marriage. In other words, genuine communication must be directed by love, and, if it is, then the communication leads to union. Hence, it should not be a surprise that the word "communication" comes from the Latin word "communis," which means "mutual participation," and that this word is also the root of "communion," which Christians have used for fellowship among Christians and, by applying the word to the Lord's Supper, fellowship with God. (24)

Third, because love is never restricted to the physical or interpersonal, it also brings a social dimension to marriage. It is almost banal to note the negative effects contemporary society has on marriages; divorce, infidelity, domestic violence, consumerism, and gender inequality are but a few issues. (25) Although not determinative, sociological factors can make good marriages more difficult to maintain. However, the influence can go both ways. Couples can contribute to the well-being of society. (26) Spouses can work at jobs that help improve the quality of society. Teachers do this, as do lawyers, doctors, social workers, businesspeople, nurses, and economists. Moreover, spouses can contribute to society by the care of their children. Establishing a stable and loving environment for children provides the best opportunity for the children to do well in school, sports, and relationships--and thus to do well in the world. (27) These changes not only make the culture better and more peaceful but also make it an environment that is more supportive of marriage and families. The key is to realize that a marriage rooted in genuine love not only transforms the couples but also transforms children, neighbors, strangers, enemies, and societies. In and through these transformations, the couple is not only united but also creates an environment that is more conducive to being united. (28)

Finally, love unites people theologically. The religious dimensions of family can be divisive or unifying. Beliefs about the nature of the world, human beings, and the meaning of life affect decisions, actions, understandings, and the way people can and cannot relate. If a couple is rooted in love, the couple is moved to address these differences and reconcile them. This process is not done by one spouse's abandoning his or her beliefs for the other's but by their both pursuing a fuller truth that incorporates the strengths and overcomes the limitations of each.

In addition to fostering this intellectual process, love also unites people theologically by committing them to a Christ-like love. Christianity has been somewhat suspicious of marriages, because they can easily turn in on themselves and prioritize the family's needs over and against those of the neighbor. Yet, as argued above, love between spouses should move the couple to love others: children, other relatives, neighbors, strangers, and enemies. Hence, it is no wonder that almost every denomination still maintains that marriage can help couples to live out Jesus' commands to love God and neighbor. (29)

Couples are thus united through a love that operates on a physical, interpersonal, social, and theological level. Spouses are united by living together, communicating, working, caring for children, and negotiating their religious beliefs and commitments. This unification is not easy (hence, the almost fifty percent divorce rate) but is a real achievement when it is accomplished.

For Christianity, marital unions have an even greater significance than just the success of a relationship. Christianity has understood marriage as a domestic church, the smallest manifestation of the church. Just as the church is to preach the gospel and nurture a life in Christ, so, too, marriages should communicate the gospel to the spouses, children, and neighbors and foster a Christ-like love. If marriages can be viewed as the church in miniature, ecumenical marriages could be understood not only as domestic churches but also as domestic churches that unify a divided Christianity. They are a foretaste of the eventual reunion of all Christians. As such, they can become a force that helps to unify Christianity. They can genuinely become the "sign," "sacrament," and "instrument" of Christian unity. How can ecumenical marriage do this? Just as marriage unites a couple through love that operates in the physical, interpersonal, social, and theological dimensions of marriage, so the love in an ecumenical marriage can be a force that reunites denominations on these same levels.

Ecumenical Marriage and Christian Reunion

First and foremost, any contribution that ecumenical marriages make to Christian unity must be rooted in love. Because spouses love each other, they are going to be working toward unity. When they come from different denominations, they are going to experience a division. The work toward unity is, in part, overcoming this division, and the reason for this is that love seeks unity. Because they love, the spouses are going to work toward reunion and will have the drive and ambition to do so. They are going to seek reunion because they seek union in their marriage, and they seek union because they love each other. Hence, ecumenical couples are going to be a driving force for reunion and a force rooted in a very concrete love. (30)

This principle of love will push for a physical reunion. Like any marriage, ecumenical marriages have to negotiate their living space, but as ecumenical they are also going to have to negotiate the physical space of the two traditions they inhabit. From the icons of the Orthodox to the simplicity of the Shakers, from Gothic cathedrals to Quaker meetinghouses, from austere, treatise-like homilies to charismatic, dynamic preaching, from gospel choirs to Gregorian chant, from ritualized congregational responses to spontaneous glossolalia, and from altar calls to orderly processions--all these physical aspects of Christianity will have to be negotiated. Ecumenical couples will have practice this negotiation, for each spouse will be shaped by the aesthetics of his or her tradition as well as by the tradition of the other spouse through the inevitable interactions with each other and each other's congregation. What will be forged is an understanding and appreciation for the aesthetics of both churches. This knowledge of the couple can then become an example of how to appreciate and grow from the differing experiences, which in turn can become leaven that works its way through the communities and enables them to do what the couple has done.

The ecumenical marriage also works on the interpersonal level to help bring Christians into contact with one another, to experience and relate to one another's traditions, and to deal with the past. The ecumenical couple introduces different traditions to each other, an interaction that is important for reunion. To borrow a quote from Cardinal Desire-Felicien-Francois-Joseph Mercier, who presided over the Malines Conversations between the Church of England the Roman Catholic Church, 1921-25, "In order to unite with one another, we must love one another; in order to love one another we must know one another; in order to know one another we must go and meet one another." (31) Ecumenical marriages help Christian churches go out and meet one another.

These encounters are instruments for reunion because, as denominations familiarize themselves with one another, they can overcome biases against one another. Jude Weisenbeck wrote, "Married couples are better able than most to see their spouse's tradition in the most favorable light.... Stereotypes and prejudices melt and flow away when other persons open their hearts to us and we to them in love.... This capacity to break down barriers can and will reach into future generations." (32) These "future generations" can be both the children of the marriage and the congregations that encounter other communities through spouses of their members. These encounters will force the couple and, from the couple, the denomination to look again at the biases they have toward other traditions. Through love, the encounter of the couple and the community helps to overcome a history of prejudice that is most often inherited and not directly experienced by the community itself. In short, an ecumenical couple teaches churches to overcome their biases by being a church that has overcome them.

Ecumenical marriages also work on a social level. The leaders of Christian churches, whether the denominations consider them to be divinely ordained or not, will need to agree to reunion before it happens. This agreement may seem practically impossible to achieve, and it may seem even odder to believe that couples in an ecumenical marriage can move these people to reunion. Yet, church leaders are human, and they usually are concerned with the needs of the people. Hence, they listen and converse, and the influence of the laity can thereby be felt. Ecumenical couples have expressed their dislike for a lack of pastoral sensitivity to their situation and to the other tradition. These couples have asked for more pastoral care and have organized to obtain it. There are national Associations of Interchurch Families in the United States, France, Germany, Canada, England, and Austria, which gather at an international assembly every two years (the last of which was in Swanwick in 2005).These organizations present a powerful force that influences priests and pastors. Moreover, when pastors are aware of the presence of ecumenical families in their congregations, they must be well informed and charitable in how they address ecumenical concerns between the denominations. As Timothy Lull once reflected:
 Imagine a Matthew Marvin who is a member of St. Thomas Lutheran
 Church and his wife Susanna Marvin who is a member of Sacred Heart
 Parish. When Matthew Marvin's pastor speaks about "those
 Catholics," he confronts in Matthew a considerable reality factor.
 His information had better be accurate and current, or Matthew may
 well challenge him. And if pastor, priest, or rector is less than
 charitable and constructive in that which is preached and taught,
 then the continuing presence of Mr. Marvin is a sign not only of a
 person in need or of a sensitive issue, but also of an ecumenical
 reality which every pastor or priest needs to address. (33)


The mere presence of an ecumenical couple pushes the pastor to recognize the dividedness of Christianity in its concreteness and deal with it somehow. In this way, the attendance of ecumenical couples urges an engagement with ecumenism by the leaders of the churches.

The ecumenical couple's contribution to theological reconciliation can be both direct and indirect. If one or both members of the couple are theologians, they can directly address Christian reunion by analytically working at the problems dividing denominations and hand on the advances they make to the scholarly and ecclesial communities. They will be extremely valuable in the field, not only for their intellectual acumen but also because they have experiences to draw from and a love to motivate them.

Even if they are not theologians, couples can make an indirect (but no less serious) contribution to theological reconciliation. Through their experience of trying to live with the differences of Christianity and sympathetically understand each other and each tradition, they grasp a sense of what is truly dividing and what is superficial, what is necessary for a loving union and what is not, and what needs reconciling and what legitimate diversity is. The spouses come to understand each other's tradition and even translate it into terms of their own tradition. These achievements would not be lost even if the couple did not write tomes recording them. Their insights and translations would be handed on to their families, friends, and congregations. They would be handed on to both denominations through these people and thus provide a leaven that could work its way through the church of Christ and bring together the churches we live with today.

Conclusion

In sum, ecumenical marriages have the potential to become leaven in the church. It may appear to some that I describe an idealized form of marriage-and ecumenical marriage especially. This charge, however, misses the thrust of the argument. These descriptions are not necessarily how marriages are but, rather, the potential that such marriages have. They are meant to explore what ecumenical marriages can do for the church. They are interpretations of ecumenical marriages as proleptic glances of the future of the church and as hope for Christian reunion.

It may seem a foolish hope to think that a couple could bring about the conversion and reconciliation of countless Christian denominations. Yet, hope rests with the power of God. When Jesus was arrested, only a handful of his followers were left. Yet, it was through these followers and from a small region of the Roman Empire that the Christian message has spread and inspired people for 2,000 years and across the globe. God works through individuals, and through them to the rest of the world. Hence, spouses in ecumenical marriages can be leaven for the whole church because God works through just such people.

(1) Scholars use a variety of terms for what I am calling "ecumenical marriage": interchurch marriage, interdenominational marriage, interfaith marriage, and, occasionally, mixed marriage. Since this last term carries negative connotations about the Christianity of one of the partners, most contemporary scholars avoid it. I am primarily using the term "ecumenical marriage" because I believe it best indicates the potential of these marriages to bring about unity. I will, however, employ several of the other terms as functional equivalents.

(2) For the early tone of the approach to ecumenical marriages, see the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia under the heading "Marriages, Mixed": "From the very beginning of its existence the Church of Christ has been opposed to such unions. As Christ raised wedlock to the dignity of a Sacrament, a marriage between a Catholic and a non-Catholic was rightly looked upon as degrading the holy character of matrimony, involving as it did a communion in sacred things with those outside the fold. ... [I]t was but natural and logical for the Church to do all in her power to hinder her children from contracting marriage with those outside her pale" (Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 9 [New York: The Gilmary Society, 1913], p. 698).

(3) See Dean R. Hoge and Kathleen M Ferry, Empirical Research on Interfaith Marriage in America (Washington, DC: United States Catholic Conference, 1981); Vaughn Call and Tim Heaton, "Religious Influence on Marital Stability," Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 36 (September, 1997): 382-393; George Kilcourse, Double Belonging: Interchurch Families and Christian Unity (New York: Paulist Press, 1992); and idem, "Unimagined Gifts: Interchurch Families," Ecumenism, no. 109 (March, 1993), pp. 5-8.

(4) Hoge and Ferry, Empirical Research, p. 2.

(5) See Michael G. Lawler, "Interchurch Marriages: Theological and Pastoral Reflections," in his Marriage and the Catholic Church: Disputed Questions (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2002); idem, Ecumenical Marriage and Remarriage: Gifts and Challenges to the Churches (Mystic, CT: Twenty-Third Publications, 1990); John Paul II, "Mixed Marriages," Familiaris consortio, no. 78; Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, "Mixed Marriages," Directory for the Application of Principies and Norms on Ecumenism (Vatican City: Pontificium Consilium ad Christianorum Unitatem Fovendam, 1993), pp. 143-160; Edwin Sunderland, "The Pastoral Care of Ecumenical Marriages: The Episcopal Perspective," J.E.S. 16 (Fall, 1979): 620-622; and Ladislas Orsy, "Interchurch Marriages and Reception of the Eucharist," America 175 (October 12, 1996): 18-19.

(6) See "Interchurch Families and Christian Unity" (paper for the Second World Gathering of Interchurch Families held at the Mondo Migliore Centre near Rome, July 24-28, 2003), accessed June 5, 2007, at http://www.interchurchfamilies.org/confer/rome2003/documents/roma2003_en.pdf; and Peter P. Dora, "Mutual Care and Commitment: A Ministry to Ecumenical Families," J. E.S. 16 (Fall, 1979): 629-642.

(7) George Kilcourse, "A Transforming Ecumenical Initiative: Ministry to Interchurch Engaged Couples," available at http://www.interchurchfamilies.org/im/2004/im02-200409kilcourse.pdf (accessed June 5, 2007; and Thomas Ryan, "Reaching Out to Interchurch Couples," Ecumenism, no. 109 (March, 1993), pp. 9-12.

(8) For a similar assessment of the negative view of ecumenical marriages that this approach implies, see Timothy F. Lull, "Ecumenical Marriages: Pastoral Problem or Opportunity?" Journal of Ecumenical Studies 16 (Fall, 1979): 643-644.

(9) Thomas Ryan, "A Prophetic Sign: Can You Believe It?" Ecumenism, no. 109 (March, 1993), p. 3.

(10) John Paul 11, "Familiaris consortio," no. 78.

(11) Lawler, Ecumenical Marriage, p. 49.

(12) Kilcourse, "Unimagined Gifts," p. 5.

(13) Dora, "Mutual Care and Commitment," p. 633.

(14) Hoge and Ferry, Empirical Research, p. 1.

(15) See John Coleman in Thomas Gannon, ed., Worm Catholicism in Transition (New York: Macmillan, 1998), as cited in Kilcourse, Double Belonging, p. 6.

(16) See David Leege, Participation in Catholic Parish Life (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1985), as cited in Kilcourse, Double Belonging, p. 7.

(17) Ryan, "A Prophetic Sign," p. 3.

(18) John Chrysostom is one of the earliest theologians to apply the term "church" to families. See Carolyn Osiek and David L. Balch, Families in the New Testament World. Households and House Churches (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1997), for a summary of Chrysostom's views. One of the sources for the resurgence of the term was John Paul II's Familiaris consortio, no. 48. Also see Florence Caffrey Bourg's study of the term "domestic churches" in her Where Two or Three Are Gathered. Christian Families as Domestic Churches (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2004).

(19) This perspective on love is echoed in a number of works. See Paul J. Wadell, Becoming Friends: Worship Justice, and the Practice of Christian Friendship (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2002); Bernard Lonergan, "Finality, Love, Marriage," in Frederick Crowe and Robert Doran, eds., Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan (Toronto: University of Toronto Press for Lonergan Research Institute of Regis College, 1988), vol. 4, pp. 17-52; Richard R. Gaillardetz, A Daring Promise (New York: Crossroad, 2002); and Michael G. Lawler, Marriage and Sacrament: A Theology of Christian Marriage (Collegeville, MN: Michael Glazier Books, 1993).

(20) See Pope Paul VI, Humanae vitae, no. 12.

(21) For a perspective that is critical of the assertion that sex is the primary means of marital unity, see David Matzko McCarthy, Sex and Love in the Home (London: SCM Press, 2001).

(22) Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, book 9, chap. 12.

(23) For this perspective as it applies to marriage, see Robert Farrar Capon, Bed and Board. Plain Talk about Marriage (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1965).

(24) See Gaillardetz, Daring Promise, chap. 2, for the importance of communication for marital unity.

(25) For examples of the effects of society on marriage, see Don Browning's Marriage and Modernization (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2003); and at http://www.marriage.rutgers.edu/, the website of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers.

(26) See Julie Rubio, "The Dual Vocation of Christian Parents," Theological Studies 63 (December, 2002): 786-812.

(27) For the importance of children in families and society, see John Wail, "Let the Little Children Come: Child Rearing as Challenge to Contemporary Christian Ethics," Horizons 31 (Spring, 2004): 64-87.

(28) A good example of the social perspective in marriage is Lisa Cahill's Family: A Christian Social Perspective (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 2000).

(29) See Bourg, Where Two or Three, and Lawler, Marriage and Sacrament, for marriage's relationship to theology and the church.

(30) See both "Interchurch Families and Christian Unity" and Lull, "Ecumenical Marriages," p. 647, for love as the impetus for reunion.

(31) As cited in "Interchurch Families and Christian Unity," at the beginning of section C.

(32) Jude D. Weisenbeck, "Opportunities and Challenges of Interchurch Marriages for the Ecumenical Movement," Ecumenical Trends 24 (December, 1995): 13.

(33) Lull, "Ecumenical Marriages," p. 646.

Jason E. King (Roman Catholic) has been an Assistant Professor of Theology at St. Vincent College, Latrobe, PA, since 2005, following three years in the same position at Lourdes College, Sylvania, OH, and two at Marymount University, Arlington, VA. He holds a B.A. from Berea (KY) College; and both an M.A. and a Ph.D. (2001) from the Department of Religion and Religious Education of Catholic University of America He has co-authored two books with Donna Freitas: Save the Date: A Theology of Dating (New York: Crossroad, 2003), and Killing the Imposter God: The Theological Vision of Philip Pullman (Jossey-Bass, forthcoming in 2007). His articles have been published by Living Light, Horizons, the College Theology Society Annual (2005), and the Josephinum Journal of Theology (Winter/Spring 2007), and several reviews have been published in professional journals. He has given numerous academic and popular presentations at conferences or for campus or church groups, frequently in the areas of ethics and sexuality.
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