Singapore (Agenzia Fides) - The Archdiocese of Singapore has refused the possibility of celebrating and therefore validating a marriage by connecting to an online platform. The solution, in times of Covid-19, is provided for by the new law entitled "Temporary measures for the celebration and registration of marriages", approved in Parliament on May 5, for civil weddings. According to the law, the celebration of civil marriages, during the Covid-9 pandemic, can take place virtually via a live video connection of the spouses, civil officers and witnesses. The procedure also applies to official wedding registrations, in a civil venue. The new law should enter into force as early as the second half of May, as announced by the Ministry of social and family development.
In light of the new law, the archdiocese of Singapore has expressed its position for the celebration of the rite of religious marriage. The note of the archdiocese, sent to Fides, underlines "the importance of the physical interaction of the people who celebrated the sacrament of marriage and other sacraments". Quoting Pope Francis, in his homily on April 17, 2020, recalls that "the Church, the Sacraments, the People of God are concrete".
As such, while the Church appreciates the efforts by the authorities in making marriage more accessible to couples in this difficult time, the Catholic Church in Singapore will not be able to solemnise marriages via video link, the statement pointed out.
"Our aim is to help our couples celebrate the milestone in person, while observing all health directives and social distancing measures implemented by the authorities", it says. The presence of the couple, the priest, the witnesses must be real. The Internet can, however, become a useful means of reaching out to extended families and friends who wish to join in this celebration in real time. In this way, the Church notes, both the needs and the profound meaning of canonical marriage in the Catholic religious rite can be respected, while also letting friends and families witness the occasion without going against safety and health requirements.
The population in Singapore is 5.7 million, of whom approximately 383,000 are Catholic (9% of the population). (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 11/5/2020)