A Monster of a Discussion

Bridezillas, make way for blogzillas.

I don’t know that I would have predicted that the Left-Right Blow-up in the Blogosphere would have happened over the way people got married. Friend Dale blogs here and here about Vox Nova blogging here and here. The topic? Not Notre Dame, for a refreshing change, but how to conduct a wedding liturgy.

Needless to say, this blog has already covered this territory. I recommend the Busted Halo production, even if it doesn’t quite ramp up the temperature to Iafrate-Price levels.

I don’t have much extra to comment on this matter. I will say that the so-called guidelines about the couple processing together at the beginning of the wedding liturgy, is a Roman preference. Like many clergy and musicians, I don’t choose to make the prevailing culture a matter of liturgical life and death when planning. I also don’t credit the Church to the notion of the father giving away the bride.

The Church sees the bride and groom as concelebrants of the wedding liturgy–this is why they enter last in the liturgical procession. Rome, unlike many traditional-leaning Catholics, is sensible in its pastoral approach to liturgical inculturation. If the bride and groom choose to separate and enter their own way, it doesn’t affect the sacramental fact of who marries whom.

Speaking from my own experience, my wife and I greeted parishioners and guests at the Church entrance, then proceeded down the main church aisle at the beginning of a parish weekend Mass. But I’m sure my regular readers would not be surprised that considerations of the primacy of the Sunday Eucharist and the placement of the wedding festivities within parish life were of utmost concern to me and my wife.

That said, I have been pastorally supportive of couples who have chosen otherwise. It’s my job and ministry to make sure whatever they choose comes off as well as it can. So unity candles, unveiling the bride, pre-marriage superstitions, flowers to the BVM, mothers, grandmothers, and even the occasional secular song: the point is to celebrate a marriage, which, while being a sacrament, is also a cultural event. Christ’s presence is not lessened by such as these. Open battles among believers … another story.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in Rite of Marriage, The Blogosphere. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Monster of a Discussion

  1. Deacon Eric says:

    Todd, you’re right that you need to support the couple in their decisions so long as those decisions fall within the mainstream. At the same time, I have noticed that the couple is rarely even presented with the option of processing in together. Parish marriage coordinators and pastors do not even try to catechize them on this point, they just assume they will want the father to “give away” the bride.

    The approach should be neither to force them to process in together nor to assume they don’t care to hear about such an option, but to present it in a sensitive manner and ask them to reflect upon it. Then do as the couple decides.

  2. Liam says:

    And, we should consider those families where the American custom itself raises tensions – like families where the parents are divorced, and not yet reconciled. Offering people in these situations with variations on what the Church prefers can be a wonderful solution to those tensions.

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