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No More Sunday Weddings in Albania

A wedding shouldn’t be an excuse for Catholics not to attend Mass, the Albanian archbishop behind the ban argues.

9 August 2017

Last Thursday, Angelo Massafra, one of the country’s two Catholic archbishops, announced a ban on Sunday weddings, sparking a debate among the country’s relatively small Catholic minority.

 

The number of Sunday weddings is the greatest in summer, and some 15 to 20 couples keep the Shkodra Catholic Cathedral occupied every Sunday, while the exchange of vows prevents their friends and family from attending the liturgy, priest Artur Jaku told Balkan Insight. Jaku also said that Catholic weddings in Albania used to take place on Mondays until the 1990s before it became fashionable to tie the knot on Sundays. 

 

Some of the believers who support the move agreed that attending Sunday ceremonies should be the priority.

 

“The wedding can be organized on another day. In the Bible, it does not say that it has to be on Sunday, but it says that that is a day to be dedicated only to God,” Klevis Paloka, one churchgoer, told Balkan Insight.

 

“Although there is no general ban on church weddings on Sundays, some dioceses and parishes have long had an informal practice of discouraging them, in part because of the conflict with regularly scheduled Masses and other parish activities,” CRUX, a Catholic news site, reports. It was unclear whether the site, which is based in Colorado, was referring to the situation in the United States or worldwide.

 

An Albanian couple on their wedding day. Image via albinfo/Wikimedia Commons.

 

The ban will come into effect on 1 January 2018.

 

 

  • Massafra is the archbishop of Shkoder-Pult, located in Shkoder, northwestern Albania.

 

  • Last October, Albania got its second-ever royal wedding – a ceremony that the organizers had promised would be filled with royal pageantry, and which saw Albanian Prince Leka II marrying his long-time fiancée, the Albanian actress Elia Zaharia.

 

  • Albania is a Muslim-majority country, with 60 percent of the population following Islam, while Catholics represent roughly 10-15 percent, according to CRUX.

 

  • The Shkoder area differs from the rest of the country in that 47 percent of the population consists of Catholic believers, while Muslims make up 45 percent, according to Balkan Insight. 

Compiled by Crystal Tai

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