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Solemn and Sacred Transformations (A Catholic Wedding)
GKUPSIDEDOWN ^ | August 13, 2011 | Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Posted on 08/21/2011 3:34:58 PM PDT by NYer

Some months ago I was down to take a wedding on a Saturday. The couple had been prepared by the deacon. The groom was from a nominally Catholic family, the girl was unbaptized.

So the wedding party turned up for the rehearsal on the Friday and, as usual, people were in high spirits, but in this case there was some rolling of eyes and poor behavior from some of the non Catholics. I was told by one of the assistants that they were mocking the Catholic Church and making light of what was going on.

So, as I conducted the rehearsal I explained about the Catholic view of marriage and discussed God's love and our human loves and what the different elements of the ceremony actually meant. Then, the next day, as the wedding began I welcomed everyone and explained that we call this ceremony the "solemnization of marriage" and that, while it is a joyful event, it is also a solemn religious ritual. I explained that God is present here and I invited them to join in with the prayers and treat the ceremony as solemnly as possible so that it would be as beautiful and meaningful as possible for the bride and groom.

The marriage went on, and I noticed that everyone actually responded. People who had been casual and slouchy were standing erect and tall and silent. They had put their cameras away. They knelt reverently and listened carefully to the readings and homily. They were caught up in the ceremony--and this was especially noticeable amongst the non-Catholics.

Then when it came to the blessing of the rings the ten year old boy stepped forward with the rings pinned to a pillow and he was weeping freely. I looked across and saw that one of the beefy groomsmen was also wiping away a tear. The matron of honor was weeping and so was another bridesmaid. Now I know people always cry at weddings, but this was quite extraordinary and I sensed that what was making them weep was a real and tangible presence of God--and that their awareness of his presence was empowered by the fact that they took my words about the solemnity of the ritual seriously.

How beautiful it is, and how necessary, therefore for all of our sacraments to be celebrated with sacred solemnity. You see, what happens is that sacred solemnity and the formality of ritual touches places deep within the human heart that cannot be touched in any other way. Ritual--with it's symbolic actions and solemn words--helps us connect with the places that are too deep for ordinary words and actions. When a person attends Mass this is why he should dress better and carry himself better and listen to the words and recite the words with suitable solemnity and dignity--because all of this connects his conscious mind with a better person than he knew he was--a sacred solemn person--a person who is usually buried within the hurly burly and shallowness of everyday life.

This is why our liturgy should be beautiful, because beauty is the language of worship. This is why our music should be sacred and solemn. This is why we should spend money on building beautiful churches. This is why we should train our altar servers and lectors and eucharistic ministers to serve with dignity and solemnity and a sacred manner.

But we have forgotten all of this. Our grandparents and great grandparents understood it, but we have been caught up in the tyranny of utilitarianism. Our churches are mere auditoria. Our music all has to be 'meaningful' and that usually means sentimental and trite. Our religion (because we have forgotten the supernatural) has become a mere fellowship and a method to 'make the world a better place.' All of this driven by the need for everything to be useful and cost effective and efficient. "Oh, the vulnerability of beauty in a world of useful things!"

I will always remember the tears of that ten year old ring bearer and the tears of the congregation at that wedding. It took non Catholics responding naturally and openly to the liturgy to remind me what it is all about, and to give me the reminder that through the sacred and the solemn we are transformed at a deeper level than we can imagine.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Ministry/Outreach
KEYWORDS: catholicwedding; ceremony; covenant; frlongenecker; marriage; ritual; sacraments; wedding

1 posted on 08/21/2011 3:35:03 PM PDT by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...

Ping


2 posted on 08/21/2011 3:36:34 PM PDT by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: NYer

I have a question. I have been on a FB page. We have been talking about the old Dick and Jane readers. I was trying to find an old one for someone on that page. I went to a site and it had them for sale but they also had Catholic versions. Can you tell me why?


3 posted on 08/21/2011 3:37:56 PM PDT by MamaB
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To: MamaB

I can try to answer, even though your question wasn’t addressed to me.

I cannot speak historically since I’m 34, but as a parent I try to purchase catholic readers for my daughter. I like the values they pass along & it avoids my having to filter out secular BS I’d rather not expose her to.

Hope that helps.


4 posted on 08/21/2011 3:45:23 PM PDT by surroundedbyblue (Live the message of Fatima - pray & do penance!)
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To: NYer

A non-baptized person took place in a Catholic wedding?


5 posted on 08/21/2011 3:54:53 PM PDT by kitkat (Obama, rope and chains)
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To: NYer

Lovely. Thank you for posting.


6 posted on 08/21/2011 4:04:36 PM PDT by GOP Poet (Obama is an OLYMPIC failure.)
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To: surroundedbyblue

His books were written in 1962 so I doubt if any of that were going on way back in the 40’s and 50’s. I graduated in 1962 and I do not remember anything odd about them. In fact, I ordered 2 of the 50’s books to see if what I remembered was correct. Thanks for your insight, though.


7 posted on 08/21/2011 4:08:28 PM PDT by MamaB
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To: kitkat
A non-baptized person took place in a Catholic wedding?

Wondered about that too. My only explanation is that they started the process that way.

8 posted on 08/21/2011 4:25:40 PM PDT by Last Dakotan
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To: NYer

With all due respect to Fr. Longenecker, it is hard to understand how an unbaptized bride can participate in a Catholic wedding ceremony.


9 posted on 08/21/2011 4:27:38 PM PDT by browniexyz
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To: NYer
What a BEAUTIFUL story!

The Gospel about the wedding guests who wouldn't come, so the Master of the house sent out his servants to collect everyone they saw to come to the wedding, but one man wasn't dressed in wedding clothes, so the Master wouldn't let him in. I think it was because when you put on WEDDING clothes, you know your life is about to be changed...THAT"S why it's important....your actions, the clothes, the solemnity.....YOUR LIFE IS CHANGING and will NEVER BE THE SAME!!!

10 posted on 08/21/2011 4:39:02 PM PDT by Ann Archy (Abortion is the Human Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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To: Last Dakotan

***Wondered about that too. My only explanation is that they started the process that way.***

Perhaps you’re right. She could have been baptized sometime before the wedding.


11 posted on 08/21/2011 4:40:33 PM PDT by kitkat (Obama, rope and chains)
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To: browniexyz

Geesh, my husband’s JEWISH and we got married in the Church.


12 posted on 08/21/2011 4:40:36 PM PDT by Ann Archy (Abortion is the Human Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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To: Ann Archy

Exactly.

She would probably have agreed to raise any children Catholic. And if they married in the Church then everything that needed to be done was.


13 posted on 08/21/2011 4:45:46 PM PDT by Not gonna take it anymore
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To: Ann Archy

Just a guess: he’s not baptized.

ROTFL. ;-)


14 posted on 08/21/2011 4:47:01 PM PDT by Not gonna take it anymore
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To: Ann Archy

My husband wasn’t Catholic when we married either; and our service was held in the Church (minus Communion). When our baptized Catholic daughter married last Fall, her ceremony also took place in the Church, but even though s-i-l isn’t Catholic, we had Communion (which he did not participate in).

Just thought I would share my experiences.


15 posted on 08/21/2011 4:58:33 PM PDT by PennsylvaniaMom ( Barry, eat your own damn peas.)
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To: kitkat

A Catholic can validly marry a non-Christian with a dispensation. See:

http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=28095


16 posted on 08/21/2011 6:21:13 PM PDT by iowamark
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To: kitkat
A non-baptized person took place(sic) in a Catholic wedding?

Catholics may marry non-Catholics with a dispensation.

Also you know that there's a difference between a nuptial Mass and a Catholic wedding, don't you?

Can. 1059 The marriage of catholics, even if only one party is baptised, is governed not only by divine law but also by canon law, without prejudice to the competence of the civil authority in respect of the merely civil effects of the marriage.

Can. 1086 §1 A marriage is invalid when one of the two persons was baptised in the catholic Church or received into it and has not by a formal act defected from it, and the other was not baptised.

§2 This impediment is not to be dispensed unless the conditions mentioned in cann. 1125 and 1126 have been fulfilled.

Can. 1118 §1 A marriage between catholics, or between a catholic party and a baptised non-catholic, is to be celebrated in the parish church. By permission of the local Ordinary or of the parish priest, it may be celebrated in another church or oratory.

§2 The local Ordinary can allow a marriage to be celebrated in another suitable place.

§3 A marriage between a catholic party and an unbaptised party may be celebrated in a church or in another suitable place.

CHAPTER VI : MIXED MARRIAGES

Can. 1124 Without the express permission of the competent authority, marriage is prohibited between two baptised persons, one of whom was baptised in the catholic Church or received into it after baptism and has not defected from it by a formal act, the other of whom belongs to a Church or ecclesial community not in full communion with the catholic Church.

Can. 1125 The local Ordinary can grant this permission if there is a just and reasonable cause. He is not to grant it unless the following conditions are fulfilled:

1° the catholic party is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith, and is to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power in order that all the children be baptised and brought up in the catholic Church;

2° the other party is to be informed in good time of these promises to be made by the catholic party, so that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and of the obligation of the catholic party

3° both parties are to be instructed about the purposes and essential properties of marriage, which are not to be excluded by either contractant.

Can. 1126 It is for the Episcopal Conference to prescribe the manner in which these declarations and promises, which are always required, are to be made, and to determine how they are to be established in the external forum, and how the non-catholic party is to be informed of them.

17 posted on 08/21/2011 8:50:00 PM PDT by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
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To: NYer

wonderful. This emphasizes that marriage is not a contract but a union with God, woman and man — God is involved. The entire “gay marriage” advocates forget this...


18 posted on 08/21/2011 10:35:48 PM PDT by Cronos ( W Szczebrzeszynie chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie I Szczebrzeszyn z tego slynie.)
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To: kitkat; Last Dakotan
A non-baptized person can get married to a baptised person in a Church wedding. It is technically a one-sided marriage :) as in the Christian is bound by their oaths before God

I have known of an unbaptised person later coming to Christ (from athiesm) and then having a renewed wedding ceremony.

19 posted on 08/21/2011 10:37:48 PM PDT by Cronos ( W Szczebrzeszynie chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie I Szczebrzeszyn z tego slynie.)
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To: kitkat; Last Dakotan; browniexyz
Normally, as I understand it, a mass is not said during this ceremony unless both bride and groom are baptised. But a mass may be held

the ceremony itself requires that at least one should be baptised.

20 posted on 08/21/2011 10:39:12 PM PDT by Cronos ( W Szczebrzeszynie chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie I Szczebrzeszyn z tego slynie.)
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To: Cronos; STARWISE

Thank you both for your explanations of Baptism and the Catholic Church.


21 posted on 08/21/2011 11:35:58 PM PDT by kitkat (Obama, rope and chains)
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To: kitkat; STARWISE
oh, no worries -- we all learn from one another. I thank you for asking this question in a nice, civilised manner -- that is something we can all learn from on this forum to make sharing of information and experience nicer.

The little knowledge I have on this particular subject is because my wife's relative is soon marrying a Japanese agnostic :), so we had the run-around on what can be done or not.

In this modern day and age, of course people from different faiths marry -- I personally have cousins who have been married for decades to those from not only various Christian denominations but also one to a Hindu. In all of these cases, the pre-marital course helped -- it also helped my wife and me and I strongly recommend it even to non-Catholics

It's simple -- just a bunch of questions to the couple so they both know what each wants.

22 posted on 08/22/2011 12:45:00 AM PDT by Cronos ( W Szczebrzeszynie chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie I Szczebrzeszyn z tego slynie.)
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To: browniexyz
With all due respect to Fr. Longenecker, it is hard to understand how an unbaptized bride can participate in a Catholic wedding ceremony

From the catechism: 1635 According to the law in force in the Latin Church, a mixed marriage needs for liceity the express permission of ecclesiastical authority.137 In case of disparity of cult an express dispensation from this impediment is required for the validity of the marriage.138 This permission or dispensation presupposes that both parties know and do not exclude the essential ends and properties of marriage; and furthermore that the Catholic party confirms the obligations, which have been made known to the non-Catholic party, of preserving his or her own faith and ensuring the baptism and education of the children in the Catholic Church.139

My wife was unbaptized when we married (She was received into the church via RCIA and baptized at the same time as our first daughter), there could be no nuptial Mass but there was a wedding ceremony officiated by a priest.

23 posted on 08/22/2011 8:04:32 AM PDT by conservonator (Shakes head, walks away.)
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To: Cronos

Thanks, Kit .. ;)


24 posted on 08/22/2011 5:56:00 PM PDT by STARWISE (The overlords are in place .. we are a nation under siege .. pray, go Galt & hunker down)
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To: NYer; onyx

What a touching and tenderly beautiful explanation.
Thanks for posting.


25 posted on 08/22/2011 5:58:09 PM PDT by STARWISE (The overlords are in place .. we are a nation under siege .. pray, go Galt & hunker down)
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