Being Faithful: welcoming the challenges of Catholic-Muslim marriages

Date and time

19th November, 10.30am – 4.00pm, Loyola Hall, Heythrop College, University of London, Kensington Square, London W8 5HN

Marriage between Muslims and Catholics in particular (and Christians more broadly) is becoming increasingly common. The issues raised are complex and little appreciated. Marriage has quite different meaning for Catholics and Muslims. Both religions have their own religious law governing marriage.

There is also usually a cultural gap which needs to be bridged if any relationship is to work. Bringing together the expertise of theologians, canon lawyers, providers of marriage preparation and pastors, the study day seeks to examine and deepen reflection on the issues with a view to improving the preparation offered to couples in which each wants to be faithful to their religious tradition whilst at the same time respecting the religious identity of their partner.

Aims of the event

  • To start a discussion about how the Church needs to respond to the growing phenomenon of Catholic-Muslim marriage
  • To respond to and develop the initiative of the Christian-Muslim Forum, When Two Faiths Meet
  • To take the first step in drafting a document to be issued by the Dialogue and Unity department of the Bishops’ Conference offering guidance to clergy, marriage care providers and couples themselves on the many issues raised by Catholic-Muslim marriage
  • Whilst focussing on a specifically set of Catholic issues, we hope that bringing other Christian voices into the debate will be of mutual help
  • To build up a network of contacts to further the project

This event is in association with: Marriage Care, the Heythrop Centre for Christianity and Interreligious Dialogue, Christian Muslim Forum.

Registration: £10 (payable at the door), does not include lunch, please bring your own or use the canteen

Please register by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


10.30am Arrivals and Coffee

11.00am Welcome and Introduction (Dr Martin Ganeri OP and Bishop Paul TBC)

11.15am Theological Reflections on Catholic-Muslim Marriage

Professor Michael Barnes SJ 

Dr Ahmed Achtar 

(Chair: Damian Howard SJ)

How do Catholics and Muslims understand marriage

How do they understand marriage to a religious believer of another community?

How do/might a Catholic or a Muslim make religious sense of marrying into another religious family/culture/world?

11.45pm Juridical Aspects of a Catholic-Muslim Marriage

A Catholic Canon Lawyer

Three Muslim jurists (covering the diversity of opinion in the Muslim world, incl. Shi’i perspective)

Amra Bone (Shari'ah Tribunal, Birmingham Central Mosque), Shaykh Michael Mumisa (University of Cambridge)

(Chair: Julian Bond)

What is the precise juridical status of a marriage between a Catholic and a Muslim according to your religious law?

What is the relationship between your religious marriage and civil marriage in the UK?

What are the juridical requirements with regard to the ceremony in a Catholic-Muslim marriage? (e.g. who can say what and in what order?)

12.45pm Initial small group discussions on the input so far with a view to preparing questions to the panel.

1.00pm Lunch (bring your own or use the canteen)

1.45pm Input on Contribution of Christian-Muslim Forum (Julian Bond)

1.55pm Panel: Q&A

2.25pm Experiences of Catholic-Muslim Marriages

Two couples to share their experiences

(Chairs: Elizabeth Davies and Stelios Christodolou)

How did you go about getting married?

What are the main issues for which you would have appreciated preparation and on-going support for your marriage?

What have been the joys and struggles?

How have you made religious sense of your marriage?

3.15pm Small Group Work: working with flip chart paper

(Chair: Heather al-Yousuf)

“What would good practice look like for marriage preparation for a Catholic-Muslims couple?”

“What other issues have surfaced which we think need to be addressed?

3.50pm Thanks and looking forward

4.00pm End.



Event Properties

Event date: 19/11/2014 10:30 am
Event End Date: 19/11/2014 4:00 pm
Individual Price £10.00
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