African Archbishop Reflects on Challenges to Marriage and Family
Archbishop John Baptist Odama, Uganda’s delegate to the Synod of Bishops on the Family, discusses the Church in Africa.
by SISTER GRACE CANDIRU 10/10/2014
KAMPALA, Uganda — Archbishop John Baptist Odama, chairman of the Uganda bishops’ conference, is Uganda’s delegate to the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family.
What do you think regarding the debate about the reception of Communion by divorced-and-civilly-remarried Catholics? Is this a significant issue for the Church in Africa?
First of all, I would like to admit that cases of divorce and remarriage are significant pastoral challenges here in Africa. But I would like to say this: The divorced and remarried are not admitted to the sacraments. If a man and woman have divorced, the case for the divorce must be examined by the Church’s marriage tribunal. If the case for the divorce is valid, then the marriage is annulled.
In the case of the remarried, their previous marriage must be examined by the Church’s marriage tribunal, and if their marriage is proved to be invalid, the marriage can be annulled. Before they are admitted to the sacraments, however, their remarriage union must first be convalidated by the Church.