From: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste

Yuvinalis from Kisii writes: “Hallo, the issue of divorced people receiving Holy Communion is something I have heard for the first time. While I know it is common to have divorced people in the Catholic Church, it has never come to my mind that one day they would be allowed to receive Communion.

So why does Pope Francis want to change the official teaching of the church which has been there for years that divorced people are remarried are not allowed to receive the Communion? Can you officially marry in the Catholic Church and also divorce officially and remarry?”

Maurice from Kisumu writes: “Fr. Beste now that the government has legalized the polygamy do you think Catholic Church can consider polygamous to receive Holy Communion?”

Virginia from Mombasa writes: “Fr Beste I read your article on marriage bill 2014 President Uhuru assented into law. You Father Beste you so genius you know almost everything under this earth. My question is a little bit outside your article. I just wanted to know why marriage banns are read in Catholic Church and not in Protestant Churches. I would also like if you can enlighten me on mix marriage, what are the requirements? Thank you”.

Yuvinalis has raised very important concern. The issue here is that official teaching of the Catholic Church has not changed. These are just proposals to be discussed in a special synod taking place in October. Let us wait until after then.

Concerning your second concern, yes there are some cases where marriage can be null and void. In such a case you can be allowed to remarry and receive Holy Communion. The Church follows Christ’s teaching that marriage is a covenant that cannot be dissolved, so it does not recognize divorce as “dissolving” the previous marriage.

At the same time the Church has a legal process for determining whether the previous marriage was valid—that is, that the couple freely gave themselves to one another in a way that brought about a valid marriage between them. If the Church determines that the previous marriage was not valid, it is said to be annulled. An annulment removes the impediment to marriage.

In order to enter a valid marriage, each person must freely choose to give his or her entire self to the other- and to accept the gift of the other, irrevocably (forever). Church law presumes that the words and actions of the couple during the wedding accurately reflect their intention to do this.

It explains why, in order to ensure that couples fully understand what it means to give oneself in marriage, the Church requires a period of preparation before marriage. Usually, the marriage cannot take place until this happens.

Question by Maurice is equally important. Maurice this law does not affect Christian marriage. It is only under customary, Islam and other laws. For that reason it does not allow polygamous to receive Holy Communion.

First of all thank you very much for this good compliments Virginia. In the Catholic Church the banns of marriage is very important. The purpose of banns is to enable anyone to raise any canonical or civil legal impediment to the marriage, so as to prevent marriages that are invalid. Impediments vary between legal jurisdictions, but would normally include a pre-existing marriage that has been neither dissolved nor annulled, a vow of celibacy, lack of consent, or the couple’s being related within the prohibited degree of kinship.

Your second question concerning mixed marriage is a concern often asked question. The Code of Canon Law states: “A marriage between two persons, one of whom has been baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it, and the other of whom is not baptized, is invalid (CIC 1086) also (CIC 1124).

That is to say the Church does allow bishops to grant permission for such marriages provided the following conditions are met: The Catholic party is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith and is to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power so that all offspring are baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church.

The other party is to be informed at an appropriate time about the promises that the Catholic party is to make, in such a way that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and obligation of the Catholic party.

Both parties are to be instructed about the purposes and essential properties of marriage, which neither of the contracting parties is to exclude (CIC 1125).

What Virginia and the rest of Catholics should know is that marriage in the Catholic Church, also called matrimony, is the “covenant by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring”, and which “has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament between the baptised. So a thorough observation must be made prior to the sacrament.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church further describes marriage as: “The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws.

God himself is the author of marriage. The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes.

The Sacrament has been described by St. Pope John Paul II as “an act of will that signifies and involves a mutual gift, which unites the spouses and binds them to their eventual souls, with whom they make up a sole family – a domestic church.”

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
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