Dominican bishops warn of risks of law on religious associations

Dominican bishops warn of risks of law on religious associations


The Bishops’ Conference of the Dominican Republic warned this week that the passage of a law on religious associations would generate serious problems, including the celebration of marriages by unqualified ministers and the creation of “make-your-own churches.”

According to the Fides news agency, the Bishops' Commission on Legal Affairs presented the Justice Commission of the House of Representatives with a copy of its observations on the draft bill.  “The draft bill does not go against the nation's Constitution, however, its approval would imply a series of risks, of various kinds, for the people of the Dominican Republic,” the commission said.

One of these risks, the bishop’s indicated, is “the possibility of celebrating marriages presided by ministers without sufficient preparation and experience, which would become a serious problem without the presences of a legal structure on which to rest such affairs, such as in the case of matrimonial law which is almost non-existent among religious denominations.”

All this would be a grave difficulty for the country, in “the registration and control of religious marriages and the processes that would be created in the thousands of churches and places of worship that now exist and that will come to exist in the future of our country,” they said.

“The law opens the doors to persons who invent a church/religion simply as a means for personal economic gain,” the commission also warned.