Kerala church to set rules for inter-faith marriages | India News – Times of India


IDUKKI: The Syro Malabar Church will soon issue a set of guidelines instructing bishops to ensure that priests solemnizing the marriage between people of different faiths, called “disparity of cult” marriages, adhere strictly to the canon laws.
The church took the decision after an interfaith marriage solemnized by a bishop a few days ago in Ernakulam kicked up a controversy.
The marriage between a Catholic woman and a Muslim man based in Kochi was held 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 which drew criticism from a section of the faithful.
Cardinal Mar George Alencherry has ordered an inquiry and sought a report from the archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamali diocese Mar Antony Kariyil.
In his letter to Mar Antony Kariyil, Fr Benny Maramparambil, the vicar of the church where the marriage was held, explained that the function was solemnized adhering to the norms of ‘disparity of cult’ marriages. He said he had received a letter from Fr James Athiyunthan, the priest of Kuzhikkattussery church, the bride’s parish, stating there were no ‘impediments’ for the marriage.
Senior priests belonging to Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC), however, accused both the priests of flouting canon laws. “The Catholic church has written rules to be followed during such situations. The bishop of the diocese concerned has to give his approval,” a priest said.
“Besides the probe ordered by Cardinal Alencherry, the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council will also look into the matter. After getting the report from the Ernakulam-Angamali archbishop, we will direct the bishops to issue strict guidelines to the priests on conducting ‘disparity of cult’ marriages, said the priest.

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