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Indonesian diocese probes into priest cancelling wedding

A video gone viral showing the bride crying has sparked outrage among Catholics in East Nusa Tenggara province
A bride bursts into tears after the priest who was to preside over her wedding canceled it and left the venue in the Christian-majority area of East Nusa Tenggara province of Indonesia.

A bride bursts into tears after the priest who was to preside over her wedding canceled it and left the venue in the Christian-majority area of East Nusa Tenggara province of Indonesia. (Photo: Facebook)

Published: August 16, 2022 10:35 AM GMT
Updated: August 16, 2022 12:14 PM GMT

Church officials from Atambua Diocese have begun an inquiry into the cancellation of a wedding that sparked outrage among Catholics in Indonesia’s Christian-dominated East Nusa Tenggara province.

Social media posts expressed outrage over the priest canceling the marriage reportedly because the bride and groom were focusing on the celebrations rather than spiritually preparing themselves for the Sacrament.

Bishop Dominic Saku of Atambua said a team was sent on Aug. 15 to find out what really happened at the Saint Theodore Parish in Weluli.

“Information [currently circulating] varies and therefore a team from the diocese went to the parish to gather information,” he said in a statement.

The wedding was scheduled for the afternoon of Aug. 12 but got canceled at the last minute.

A video, which has been circulating on social media since the weekend, showed the bride crying hysterically surrounded by her relatives and friends inside the chapel after the parish priest had reportedly left.

Father Agustinus Kau Lake, the parish priest, told UCA News that he was forced to postpone the wedding because the couple was more focused on preparing for the thanksgiving ceremony than the wedding.

"Until the time of the blessing mass arrived, the couple and their families had not yet appeared at the chapel to make final preparations, including confession. They were busy in the tent for the thanksgiving ceremony," he said.

Father Lake said he take it as their lack of inner preparedness for the wedding such as making a confession.

He said he had asked them to complete the preparations at the tent faster and make spiritual readiness for the marriage blessing.

The couple though claimed they were fully prepared and had done everything as laid down by the canon law. They instead accused the priest of making excuses.

Bishop Saku said the diocese would take a decision after gathering firsthand all the information rather than going by what is circulating on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Tiktok.

Maximlianus Kefi, a local Catholic, put the blame on the parish priest, saying they (priests) preach the love of God from the pulpit while their actions are completely the opposite.

"The Lord Jesus forgives sinners, then you who are ordinary people like me, make yourself like God," he said.

The priest's decision was without careful consideration, said Paulus Deda, another Catholic.

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