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A divorcee cannot marry in Church

By Vision Reporter

Added 10th January 2008 03:00 AM

Letter of the day

EDITOR—I have read in The New Vision an opinion attributed to Mr.
Bisereko-Kyomuhendo the Registrar General, which suggests that MP Alice

Letter of the day

EDITOR—I have read in The New Vision an opinion attributed to Mr.
Bisereko-Kyomuhendo the Registrar General, which suggests that MP Alice

Letter of the day

EDITOR—I have read in The New Vision an opinion attributed to Mr.
Bisereko-Kyomuhendo the Registrar General, which suggests that MP Alice

Alaso’s recent marriage to Johnson Ebaju was legal. I beg to differ. Alaso’s wedding was illegal.

The law in Uganda recognises the following marriages: Hindu, Islamic Customary, Christian, Civil. Each of these marriages must be conducted strictly in accordance with the law, tradition and customs relating to that particular marriage. Whereas an Islamic marriage would be legal and valid notwithstanding that the man is already married to someone else, under christian marriage, it would be illegal. A church of Uganda minister cannot solemnise a marriage in which one of the persons is a divorcee. the wedding certificate clearly requires the marital status of the couple to be stipulated. The Church of Uganda canons, the scripture and practice do not permit a church minister of whatever rank to conduct such a marriage. A divorcee is not permitted to re-marry in church not so much because of the scripture but more so because of that person’s own marriage contract and vows to God. When a couple is being married, the church minister is required to ensure that they take marriage vows which is a contract and an oath made in the name of God in the presence of the church. The couple is individually asked, “Will you take this woman/man to be your lawfully wedded wife, forsaking all other women/men from now on until death do you part?” It is this oath that binds a person in marriage. One cannot come back to church and say, “I am sorry I broke my marriage vows, I want to take another wife.” He can only come to repent and be reconciled with his wife. However, one is free to go to a civil court, get a legal divorce and re-marry even if he/she is wedded in church. But the second marriage cannot be in church but may take place at the Civil Registry or under Customary Law and would still be legal.

If the divorce was not his/her fault then he/she may take the new spouse to church for blessings but still would not be allowed to receive Holy Communion (because he/she has been separated from God by breaking his vows to Him and taking a false oath in His name).

Alaso’s marriage in ‘Church’ is therefore illegal. However, she may wish to legalise it by having it registered at the Civil Registry or indeed it may still be valid as a customary marriage if the customary marriage requirements of the couple’s respective ethnic groups complied with it.

But the wedding certificate issued by the Bishop is for sure invalid.

Kenneth Kakuru
Advocate,
Chancellor South Rwenzori Diocese, All Saints Cathedral,
Father's Union

A divorcee cannot marry in Church

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