Church set to check interfaith weddings

The action plan is being formulated after the Catholic authorities found that there is a significant fall in the number of members in the community.

Thrissur: Stung by the rising interfaith marriages, the Thrissur Archdiocese is set to bring in an action plan to check the practice among the members of different Catholic sects in the state.

The action plan is being formulated after the Catholic authorities found that there is a significant fall in the number of members in the community.

According to an unofficial survey conducted by the Archdiocese, everyday one of their members is marrying someone of a different faith, which tends to diminish the strength of the religious community. On an average, around 200 cases, mostly women, marrying spouses of different faith, are being reported each year.

Fr Geo Kadavil, official spokesperson of the Archdiocese, said that those who are married to people from other faith don’t attend services regularly. Besides, the Church found that interfaith couples were less satisfied than same-faith couples, which forced the Church to take a lead on this matter, he said.

A committee headed by Auxiliary Bishop Mar Raphael Thattil has been formed to look into the issue and he had headed to Rome to meet the Pope to discuss the issue. As part of the action plan, the Roman Catholic authorities will first hold talks with their counterparts in other sects such as Latin, Syrian, Orthodox, Jacobites, especially those outside the state, as an attempt to provide a space for the devout to continue their faith in their limits and rope them in to Church activities, which they expected to prevent the devout being attracted to spouses in other religions.

The Church has decided to sensitise the parents and younger generations on the need to marry someone from the same faith.

The catechism teaching at Roman Catholic churches will also be strengthened as part of wooing the younger generation to the religious activities and churches. The final roadmap on this subject is yet to be formulated, said Fr Geo Kadavil.

Fr Raphael Akkamattathil, chancellor of Thrissur Archdiocese, said the interfaith marriages have to be regulated. It is not the case with Christians alone, but Hindus, Muslims and other sects are also grappling with the same issue, he said.

Writer and activist Sarah Joseph said it was very sad that the Church is again taking recourse to regressive and retrograde measures. “Earlier, there were strong opposition against inter-faith marriages in Christian community. The opposition subsided in the long run. But the recent developments indicate that nothing has changed and it has emerged stronger than ever,” she said.

Joshy K P, a government employee who is waiting to get divorced from his wife from the same faith, said every relation has its own pros and cons and imposing religious dictates on devout cannot be agreed.

Source: New Indian Express

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