OCM 43-44: Final Notes On Adaptations

The praenotanda (introduction) to the new marriage rites concludes with some general observations on non-Christian traditions for weddings. Let’s read a thought on celebrating in mission territory:

43. In the usages and ways of celebrating Marriage prevailing among peoples now receiving the Gospel for the first time, whatever is honorable and not indissolubly connected with superstition and errors should be sympathetically considered and, if possible, preserved intact, and in fact even admitted into the Liturgy itself as long as it harmonizes with a true and authentic liturgical spirit.(cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 37)

That harmonization might depend on the preaching or catechesis of a sensitive, creative, and observant pastor. It has happened in other places in the Church’s liturgy–the date for celebrating Jesus’ nativity, for example.

44. Among peoples for whom the Marriage ceremonies customarily take place in homes, even over a period of several days, these ceremonies should be adapted to the Christian spirit and to the Liturgy. In this case the Conference of Bishops, in accordance with the pastoral needs of the people, may determine that the rite of the Sacrament itself can be celebrated in homes.

I perceive a potential floodgate of requests if parishes began to permit weddings on beaches and in forests and such. But other sacraments are celebrated in more “secular” environments–bedrooms, hospitals, sports arenas, hotel ballrooms, and the like. Funeral vigils were once celebrated in homes. I don’t see a theological or liturgical difficulty with a wedding in a home.

Your comments?

The text cited in blue is from the English translation of The Order of Celebrating Matrimony © 2013, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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