By Maria Immaculate Owechi
The Catholic Church has come out to clarify what Archbishop Cyprian Lwanga said during a mass, about when a couple can dissolve a marriage.
In a story, we ran recently, we stated that the Catholic Church can grant divorce, basing on a statement made by Lwanga. In the story, we said that Lwanga revealed during mass that it is possible to obtain a divorce in the Catholic church under one special circumstance – if one was forced into the marriage and it can be proved.
However, the Catholic Church through Father Joseph Mukasa Nkeera, from the Social Communications department of the Archdiocese wrote a letter to clear the misinterpretation of the Archbishop’s statement.
The letter read, “On Sunday 4, the Archbishop Cyprian Lwanga while preaching at mass to mark the Golden Jubilee of St Balikuddembe Kisenyi parish, while emphasizing the indissolubility of catholic marriage, had explained that however a marriage can be declared null if it fell short of at least one of the requirements for a binding union.”
This, he clarifies, means that the marriage was never legal in the first place thus making it null. It in no way suggests that it is a divorce.
In a video clip shared online, the sermon was conducted in the local language, Luganda, which explains the wrong translation, in which it was assumed he stated divorce is possible.
Father Mukasa emphasizes that as the Archbishop explained, the annulment of marriage is only declared by the church tribunal (a Catholic Church court) if the spouses were forced into marriage without their consent.
He adds that the free consent between the spouses has to be in the presence of two witnesses and a properly authorised Church minister.
“So, for the church tribunal to declare a marriage null, one or more of the above-mentioned impediments must be proved LACKING through a court process,” Father Mukasa explains.
He emphasizes that Archbishop would like to affirm that the Catholic church’s teaching concerning the sacrament of marriage, that it is a permanent union which is irrevocable. Hence, there is no way the church accepts divorce.