Kerala couple escapes being first victims of controversial Church circular

The circular issued on Monday notified that those who don’t abide by the final diktat regarding the offering of the Unified Holy Mass other than the one directed by the synod after July 3, will be considered ousted from the Catholic Church.
Representative image
Representative imagePhoto | Arun Angela

KOCHI: Days of tense anticipation are over for a Cherthala man of the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese of Syro-Malabar Church whose upcoming marriage to a woman from Idukki archdiocese was shrouded in uncertainty following a recent circular issued jointly by Major Archbishop Raphael Thattil and Apostolic Administrator Bosco Puthur.

The circular issued on Monday notified that those who don’t abide by the final diktat regarding the offering of the Unified Holy Mass and continue to offer any type of Mass other than the one directed by the synod after July 3, will be considered as having been ousted from the Catholic Church. It said that rituals like marriage conducted by such barred priests will be considered null and void.

The couple, who would have become the first victim of the move, have been given the go-ahead and they will tie the knot on July 1 at the bridegroom’s home parish. It was a dramatic few days for the man and his family, members of Nedumbrakkad St Thomas Church in Cherthala.

According to sources, the marriage was to be solemnised on July 8. “It was to be held at Cherthala St Mary’s Forane Church. Even the parish hall had been booked for the subsequent reception,” a source said.

The decision to hold the wedding at Forane Church was taken as the bridegroom’s parish church is closed down due to a court case, according to a source.

“On Wednesday, the bridegroom’s father arrived at Forane church and cancelled the booking,” the source said.

The decision was made after the home parish of the bride refused to send the ‘kettukuri’ (marriage certificate) to Forane church, according to those close to the family.

“The Idukki church cited the circular for denying the ‘kettukuri’,” they said. However, after the matter became public, church authorities and the families decided to hold the marriage on July 1.

“The wedding will be held at St Thomas Church Nedumbrakkad,” said the uncle of the bridegroom. Meanwhile, Idukki archdiocese said no directive on the implementation of the circular have been officially issued to parishes. “It is something that is yet to be formally decided upon and announced,” the archdiocese said.

According to Fr Kuriakose Mundadan, member of the Athiroopatha Samrakshana Samithi: “Even if such archaic rules are enforced, they will not prove to be a hindrance as people can simply go to the registrar’s office to get married. In this time and age, when the church needs to be more people-friendly, it is coming up with rules that alienate the laity.”

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