Trichur: Display of wealth and power at weddings and feasts will become a thing of past in Kerala if a prominent Church in the southern Indian state has its way
The Syro Malabar Church has warned its people not to indulge in extravagant celebrations, especially at weddings, saying these should not be an “occasion to display wealth and power.”
The Church’s August 25-28 Major Archiepiscopal Assembly in Kerala also reportedly stressed adopting a dress code for those attending weddings and church services.
The bishops are expected to take up these suggestions at their next meeting and issue directions such as the number of guests that can be invited to weddings and other occasions. They may also decide on a dress code for brides and bridegrooms and set a ceiling on expenses to beautify churches and institutions during celebrations.
The bishops may also dare to ban fireworks at church festivals, in a state known for using pyrotechnic displays for any celebration.
The assembly adopted an 84-page document on ““Response of the Church to the Challenges of Today” that regrets marriage celebrations becoming opportunities to show off status and wealth of families, The Indian Express reported.
“Very lavish wedding dresses, elaborate and expensive jewelry and event management have made weddings a spectacle of waste and extravagance,” it adds.
The assembly also noted that more than 800 tons of gold are bought every year in Kerala where poor girls find it to difficult to get married. “The Commission for the Welfare of Women has recently asked why weddings cannot be conducted with 10 sovereigns (80 grams) of gold. We also have to limit the number of invitees for weddings. Won’t it be more attractive if we have only 200 invitees instead of 1,000 or 1,500,” the document asks.
The assembly also came down heavily on construction of opulent churches. “The huge amount of money spent for enhancing the external beauty of churches is not helpful in preserving the spiritual atmosphere,” it said, adding that the institutions should not “promote glory and prestige” in such a way that it leads to “unhealthy competition.”
Asking bishops and priests to adopt a simple lifestyle, it said: “Pastors have to exemplify in their lives the lifestyle of simplicity. They have to follow simplicity in dress, meals, travels and the gadgets they use… It would be good for pastors to use public transportation at least occasionally.”
Father Jimmy Poochakkatt, spokesperson of the Syro Malabar Church, said the Bishops Synod now underway could come out with instructions. “There is a dress code for baptism and first holy communion. We are thinking we can adopt one for the bride and bridegroom so that expenses can be restricted,” he said.