A three-member inquiry committee constituted by the Syro Malabar Church has declared that an interfaith marriage solemnised by the church between a Catholic woman and a Muslim man in Kerala as invalid, reports Times of India.
According to the reports, the committee has ruled that they found violations in the marriage and concluded that the marriage is ‘invalid’ as it did not follow canon law. The committee also said that there were serious lapses by two senior priests, who have now been censured.
The interfaith marriage between the Catholic woman from Irinjalakkuda in Thrissur district and a Kochi-based Muslim man had taken place on 9th November. However, Archbishop Mar George Alencherry had ordered a probe after a section raised questions about the clergy “encouraging” mixed marriages.
“The commission collected details from the priests and bishops of Irinjalakkuda and Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese and submitted a report to the major archbishop. It stated that the marriage did not follow Canon law and was hence invalid”, a senior Syro Malabar Church priest has been quoted as saying.
The Canon Law of the Catholic Church is a set of laws and legal principles developed by the hierarchical authorities of the Catholic Church to regulate the external organization of the Church and government. It defines the set of rules and activities of the Catholics towards the mission of the Church.
Syro-Malabar church sets rules to inter-faith marriages: Has to follow Canon Law
Earlier, the Syro-Malabar church had courted controversy after they had taken upon themselves to set rules to ensure that interfaith marriages in the Christian community are held in adherence to strict canon laws. The church had said that a set of protocols will be prepared and sent to Bishops to make sure that the marriage of people between two faiths is solemnised in the Catholic way.
The Syro Malabar Church, which is one of the 22 Eastern (Oriental) Catholic Churches in full communion with Rome, had directed its bishops to hold interfaith marriages in adherence to strict canon laws.
The church had also asked the bishops to treat inter-faith marriages as “disparity of cult marriages” but conduct them in the proper Catholic way. According to the guidelines issued by the Syro-Malabar church, the church will not mix wedding ceremonies with practices of other communities and religion for such interfaith marriages.
Non-Christians will have to express willingness to be part of the Christian ceremonies for such marriages, as per canon laws.
The controversy had erupted after a Catholic woman married a Muslim man at Kadavanthra St Joseph Church in Kochi in the presence of a Bishop. The couple’s photograph with Vaniyakizhakkel was published in a newspaper that had irked the faithful section of the Catholics in Kerala.
It is also important to note that the dangerous phenomenon of ‘Love Jihad’ – the desperate act of Muslims to trap and convert non-Muslim men/women into their religion, was first raised by Christian clergy in Kerala after a large number of Christian girls were lured by Muslim men.