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Kerala Church to Establish Rules for Interreligious Marriages | India News


IDUKKI: Syro Malabar Church will soon issue a set of guidelines instructing bishops to ensure that priests who solemnize marriage between people of different faiths, called “cult disparity” marriages, strictly adhere to canon law.
The church made the decision after an interreligious marriage solemnized by a bishop a few days ago in Ernakulam sparked controversy.
The marriage between a Catholic woman and a Kochi-based Muslim took place at Kadavanthra St Joseph Church on November 9.
Mar Mathew Vaniyakizhakkel, former bishop of Satna, attended the ceremony. The photograph of the couple with the bishop was published in a newspaper that generated criticism from a sector of the faithful.
Cardinal Mar George Alencherry ordered an investigation and requested a report from the Archbishop of the Diocese of Ernakulam-Angamali, Mar Antony Kariyil.
In his letter to Mar Antony Kariyil, Fr. Benny Maramparambil, vicar of the church where the marriage was celebrated, explained that the function was solemnized by adhering to the norms of marriages of ‘religious disparity’. He said he had received a letter from Father James Athiyunthan, the priest at Kuzhikkattussery Church, the bride’s parish, saying there were no “impediments” to the marriage.
However, the chief priests belonging to the Kerala Council of Catholic Bishops (KCBC) accused both priests of disobeying canon law. “The Catholic Church has written rules that must be followed in such situations. The bishop of the diocese in question has to give his approval,” said a priest.
In addition to the investigation ordered by Cardinal Alencherry, the Kerala Council of Catholic Bishops will also look into the matter. After receiving the report from the Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamali, we will direct the bishops to issue strict guidelines for priests on the conduct of the ‘disparity of marriages of worship,’ said the priest.

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