A Catholic priest in Indonesia and two Catholic women came under a social media backlash after allegedly arranging a “wedding ceremony” for dogs. Source: UCA News.
The trio were also criticised for wasting money with the reported 200-million-rupiah ($A19,7000) wedding for the two Alaskan Malamutes at a mall in Jakarta on July 14.
They were also accused of insulting the culture by using Javanese dress for the dogs.
The uproar on social media forced Capuchin Fr Lorenzo Heli, who is said to have blessed the dogs during the ceremony, to issue a statement of clarification on July 20.
The priest from the St Francis of Assisi Tebet Parish in South Jakarta said what he did during the ceremony was just a “pet blessing.” He refuted rumours that officiated an “animal wedding”.
He said that pet blessing is a practice that “is very much in line with the spirituality of the Franciscan Order as taught and always lived by St Francis of Assisi”.
The priest also said he “used a special prayer formula that Franciscan priests usually say when giving a pet blessing” and blessed not only the two dogs but also 10 other dogs present at the ceremony.
During the blessing ceremony, the male dog Jojo wore a tuxedo and the female dog Luna a white dress. However, during the reception program, the dogs wore traditional Javanese clothes specially designed for dogs. The two owners also wore green Javanese uniforms.
The criticism prompted the two dog owners to apologise publicly at a press conference on July 19.
“We are very sorry and apologise profusely to activists of Javanese culture and all Indonesian people who are hurt by this event,” said Indira Ratnasari, the owner of the female dog.
Valentina Chandra, the male dog’s owner, also apologised to the Archdiocese of Jakarta and Catholics “for the misinterpreted news of the blessing of animals”.