Bishop John Ryan has urged parents and guardians to support children’s education as one way of fighting early marriages, with nearly one in two girls marrying before reaching her 18th birthday.
The head of the Catholic Diocese of Mzuzu was speaking during Epiphany mass at St Peter’s Cathedral in Mzuzu on Sunday.
Ryan said the majority of children end up marrying young due to lack of adequate parental support and guidance.
He reiterated the Catholic Church’s stand against child marriages, saying boys and girls are safe in school.
Marrying girls below the age of 18 is illegal.
The bishop said children have to be given chance to pursue education and meet their potential.
“We need to promote proper marriages among our children. Let them grow up first. Let them finish school. Let them be independent before marrying. We should not rush them into marriages,” Ryan said.
Diocesan Pontifical Missionary Societies director Father Tony Mfune said forced marriages violate children’s rights to including access to education and health. n