|Rev. Fr. Boniface Maasoayele|
Reverend Father Boniface Maasoayele of the OLA Roman Catholic Cathedral Parish in Tamale has expressed serious concern over increasing number of Catholics marrying non-Catholics and doubt whether there will be a “Catholic Church” in the future.
He emphasised that, the Church is not against Catholics marrying non-Catholics per se, but noted that in the situation whereby a Catholic is marrying for instance a Muslim, it becomes a source for concern. “….the Church agrees to mixed marriages. But when it becomes that all the marriages we’re having in our Church are mixed marriages, that is a worry for us. Tomorrow what is the Catholic family?
Speaking to Savannahnews last Sunday in an interview after a sermon he delivered, Rev. Fr. Maasoayele said, “…..when you come to a Catholic marrying let’s say a Muslim….the insistence that we don’t know is that everyone is fighting for a right..…. Islam insists on you as a Christian having your children converted when you marry a Muslim. That’s their right. The Catholic also teaches that the one marrying outside of the Church should have his children converted. Who wins in this case? He asked.
“And then they become the norm today that all our marriages are becoming mixed marriages, and nobody is bothered about that. This one is going this way and this one is going that way. That is the tradition I am worried about.
“We have statistics in our parish here …they’ve just printed out the next set of marriages within the second quarter of the year and all of them, not a single completely baptized Catholic is among the list. Some of them are catechumen and so we assume that they are on their way to becoming full Catholics. But a catechumen is already marrying a Muslim, what is the strength of your faith that you will be able to live with another faith that you don’t know? You see… so this is the crux of the matter” he explained.
|Archbishop of Tamale, Most Rev. Philip Naameh|
Rev. Fr. Maasoayele further emphasised: “It’s not a sin and neither is it wrong for a Catholic to marry a non-Catholic. The Church allows it and that is supposed to be on exceptional cases. But my worry is that what is supposed to become abnormal is becoming the norm. It is rather difficult to get a Catholic marrying a Catholic. That’s my problem. Why is it that we cannot get a Catholic marrying a Catholic?” he queried again.
He however, attributed the phenomenon to perhaps the desire by people to run after something that is more comfortable, adding that it is also because “we’re not actually faith-based society any more….we’re worldly……well, in some case you could see that it’s purely love and that is the exception that the Church gives. But it doesn’t become exception again, it becomes the norm and that’s my worry”, he bemoaned.
He also noted that, it is not as if the Church is not emphasizing on the importance or benefits of members marrying non-Catholics, but that is because it is not frequent, adding that the Church preaches on the word of God and not themes, and a priest only chips in some of the life experiences when it comes coincidentally.
He indicated that, leadership at the diocesan, parish, laity and youth councils among others will look at it and if the issues are genuine as he sees it, they will be discussed thoroughly and solutions prescribed for them.