The Singapore Archdiocese announced on May 6 that it will not solemnize weddings online, or via video link, even as the government allowed it under a new legislation.
The archdiocese said that while it is aware of the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, “we also wish to affirm the importance of the physical interaction of the persons celebrating our sacraments.”
“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 solemnize marriages via video link,” it added.
Under a new legislation passed by Singapore’s parliament on May 6, citizens or permanent residents can have their marriages solemnized via a video link.
Masagos Zulkifli, minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, told parliament that the Office of the Mufti has confirmed that marriages conducted through video link are equally valid under Islamic law as long as all requirements for a marriage contract are satisfied.
Catholics, however, who want to have their marriages solemnized by the Church will need to wait to do it in person.
“We aim to help our couples celebrate this sacrament in person, while observing all health directives and social distancing measures implemented by our health authorities,” read a notice to the faithful issued by the diocese.
It said that during the wedding, “essential persons” — the couple, two witnesses and the priest — have to be present for the marriage to be valid as a Sacrament.
“The internet becomes a useful means of reaching out to extended families and friends who wish to join in this celebration in real time,” read the notice.
“In this way, the requirements of a canonical marriage can be fulfilled, giving spiritual meaning to the couple on their wedding day while also allowing families and friends of the couple to witness this happy occasion, observing always safety and health requirements,” it added.
There are an estimated 300,000 Catholics in Singapore.
As of May 7, there have been 20,198 reported COVID-9 cases in Singapore and 20 deaths in the city state caused by the virus.