Close to our Hearts: Personal Reflections on Marriage

23 May 2013
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23 May 2013, Comments: 0

Marriage, as Archbishop Peter Smith pointed out at the launch of the English edition of Close to our Hearts, is a hot topic at the moment.  What is the point of yet another book on marriage? Aldegonde Brenninkmeijer-Werhahn, director of the International Academy for Marital Spirituality (INTAMS) and co-editor of this new publication, both posed and answered the question for those gathered at the Amigo Hall at St George’s Cathedral, Southwark on May 22nd 2013 to celebrate the publication. The younger generation, and society as a whole, is searching desperately, she suggested, for testimonies, practical guidance and points of orientation in order to shape a model for their own lives, to maintain a steady course and if necessary, to undertake course corrections.  

Aldegonde & Hubert Brenninkmeijer-Werhahn welcome Archbishop Peter Smith

The 22 articles in Close to Our Hearts reflect the web of collaborative relationships developed by INTAMS since its foundation in Brussels in 1989. Organised into four sections, Theological Focus Points, Anthropology of Marriage, Paths to Maturity in Marriage and Biographical Perspectives, featured authors include Godfried Cardinal Daneels and Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini. The launch of the English edition provided a platform for the English contributors, Adrian Thatcher, Enda McDonagh, Annette Barker, Jack Dominian and Elizabeth Davies to join Aldegonde Brenninkmeijer and Thomas Knieps-Porte Le Roi in briefly describing the focus of each of their articles for those attending the launch.

Launch of Close to our Hearts in the Amigo Hall

These included Mark Molden, CEO and Bridie Collins, Director of Relationship Support and Education at Marriage Care, Charles Perryman, Chair of Marriage Care’s Board of Directors and his wife Jane, Rosemary Keenan, Director of the Catholic Children’s Society, Westminster, Fr Christopher Jamison, Director of the National Office for Vocation, Fr Tom Creagh-Fuller and Lisette Blanchet Ball from the Archdiocese of Southwark’s marriage and family ministry team, Fr Jim Christie from the Garnet Hill Centre in Glasgow, and Rex Chester from the charity Explore.

Aldegonde Brenninkmeijer-Werhahn

INTAMS was founded as an international and interdisciplinary group of independently thinking married laypersons and celibates devoted to the study of marriage. “We understood our academic work not only as providing help in the social, political and cultural sphere, but above all as a service of the Church,” writes Brenninkmeijer-Werhahn in her preface. “The Church owes married couples a service of this kind, if it truly intends to share in responsibility for marriage and married life.” “Thank you so much,” replied Archbishop Smith. “Well done, and may your book have many sales!”   

Guests at the launch

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Learn more about the work of INTAMS
View more photos of the launch

Download the launch leaflet describing Close to our Hearts

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