In September 2019, 3,000 people, both men and women, were gathered by a section of seven dioceses under the Catholic Church in Kerala, in a stadium in Kozhikode. The aim was to help these men and women find their life partners, before it was too late.
To the organisers’ surprise, the women were outnumbered by men by an astonishing margin of 2,800!
Only 200 women came to the gathering.
So what was the reason behind the massive gap?
Talking to The Logical Indian, Father Paul Madassery, secretary of the Malabar zone of Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) Family Commission, says, “We learnt that most of the women who had gathered were highly qualified, as opposed to the men, many of who have not even passed their plus-two. Most of these women were not ready to spend their lives with men who are not as educated as them.”
A few months after the gathering, a dedicated portal was opened by the Church for widows. Prolifemarry.com gives hope to hundreds of widows from the Catholic Church to get remarried. These women are aged between 35 and 40.
Besides addressing the massive size of the widow population, the site, managed by the Malabar zone of KCBC, also simultaneously aims to erase the huge rate of unwed men.
“A survey that we conducted in Kottayam and the northern part of Kerala (Kozhikode, Kannur, Thalassery, Thamarassery, Mananthavady and Sulthan Bathery) has revealed that as many as 15,000 Christian men have not been able to find their life partners,” Fr. Paul says.
“The uneven gender ratio is one reason, while on the other hand, women do not want to marry men who are not well-qualified,” he adds.
This website happens to be the matrimony arm of the Widow Forum of the Catholic Church.
“We want to empower widows who are emotionally, socially, financially, physically and mentally affected after the death of their spouse. No matter how much we have developed as a nation, widows still face societal pressure. They are told what and what not to wear, where to go and where not. Orthodox practices often do not allow them to be part of various events. They find it hard to remarry for so many reasons,” Fr. Paul says.
The Catholic Church is a congregation of Latin, Malankara and Syro Malabar sections. The church is now planning to extend the service to the remaining four zones: Kottayam, Ernakulam, Kollam and Thrissur.