The wedding march

The wedding march

Amy Welborn opened a can of worms today. In this post she blogged about a new policy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that says that wedding customs that have been allowed in the past but violate the rubrics, such as the bride walking down the aisle with her father, must be discontinued. I was surprised at the reaction in the combox. There were quite a few self-proclaimed orthodox Catholics, who said they normally abhor any liturgical funny business, but just couldn’t abide by this policy. So we obey only the liturgical rules we agree with now?

Amy responded in another post with her opinion on the wedding (and funeral)-related comments, and then linked to a post by Fr. Rob Johansen who explained what the General Instruction of the Roman Missal says and why it says it.

Melanie and I both have an opinion on this one since we’re getting married in August. Not only will we be obedient to the Church’s rules because they are the Church’s rules whether we agree or not, but we also agree with why the Church does it. For one thing, the dad giving away the bride is another one of those things “we all know” about weddings that really come from what we’ve seen on TV and in movies, just like those wedding vows everyone thinks they’re going to say, but have to be told are really Episcopalian.

  • Whether we need another Inquisition or not, the Holy Inquisition and the Spanish Inquisition were two entirely different entities. One was an office of the Holy See, the other an arm of the Spanish royalty.

    Indeed, the very term “inquisition” was nothing more than for an investigative body—whatever their methods of acheiving their ends.

  • Oh come Holy Inquisition!  The former head of the Office of the Inquisition (recently retitle Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) is now Pope!!!

    2005-04-29 21:03:26
    2005-04-30 01:03:26
    Let’s educate people—that’s my point!!!

    Let me try to make this as simple as possible: When reporters write “the CDF, which used to be the Inquisition” they mean it as an insult. We all need to be aware of this and educate people.

    The point is whether you or I see it as a bad thing. The 99 percent of people who don’t know squat about the Church or history do. This continues to influence people into thinking the Church is a bad thing and to be avoided. It makes the job of evangelizing people harder.

    Forget it, obviously no one else is bothered by liberal reporters sneering out of the sides of their mouths at the Church and printing whatever calumnies they think they can get away with.

  • Dom, maybe you just need to rest in a “comfy chair” for a bit.

    Just kidding. I agree with you and it totally irritates me, too. However, considering how poorly educated most people are regarding even the history of our own country, which has only existed for 220-odd years, and how little the media know about Catholicism, I’m not surprised, and it’s rather easy to put aside my irritation – but I *do* get irritated. “It’s so obvious, people!!!”

  • The point is whether you or I see it as a bad thing. The 99 percent of people who dong out of the sides of their mouths at the Church and printing whatever calumnies they think they can get away with.

    You just STOP that, Domemco! You just stop saying I’m not bothered by what you’re bothered by. It’s not true and you know it.

    Now you’ve got me thinking I’ve got to write something.


  • (I meant “Domenico” by the way and, not that this has anything to do with the subject but if anybody mentions “Tiger” once again I’m going to growl!)

  • Yeah, what’s up with the peevish attitude Dom? Sheesh!

    I personally don’t have a problem with the word Inquisition and the more we act nonplussed about it then maybe more people will realize that it doesn’t push our buttons and that it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be. There are a lot of new books coming out which refutes the old boogeyman notion of the Inquisition (which I’m sure was propogated by the Protestents)

  • I apologize for being peevish. Something non-blog related was bothering me and it was coming out when I was checking comments. Just a little reminder that we’re not just who we are on the blogs, but we’re whole persons with lives outside of this venue and sometimes those lives intrude.

    Once again I apologize for being out of line there.

  • From the Catholic Encylopedia at New

    As the Roman Inquisition (Romana Inquisitio) this congregation is of very ancient origin, dating from Innocent III (1194-1216), although some authorities attribute its establishment to Lucius III (1181-85). In the beginning of the thirteenth century Innocent III established at Rome an inquisitorial tribunal against the Albigenses and other innovators of the south of France. From its first title of Romana Inquisitio was derived the usage of calling this body Congregation of the Holy Roman Universal Inquisition. Sixtus V, in the Bull “Immensa”, calls it Congregatio pro S. inquisitione and also Congregatio sanct inquisitionis hwas JOKING.

  • Sorry to be so late in…uh..whatever we’re weighing in here on.

    Anyway, Dom, I apologize, too. Like you—sheesh—part of me last night was on a non-blog—what’s the word? Tangent? Or maybe not. Blame it on “Tiger.” I mean for crying out loud, I JUST updated and…whoops, there I go again! Sorry!

    Forget Tiger. Blame it on me. I am sorry. (I also apologize to all non-Mac users who must be thinking that I’m trying to speak in tongues.)

    Hey, Joe. Sheesh, and heck to you, you, you, vain keeper, you!

    Actually, the good news is, it’s nobody’s fault when you come right down to it.

    (Except Melanie’s o’ course. Forgetting to log in and out is Going On A Tangent! wink)

  • sorry. profuse apologies. I can’t keep straight whose laptop I’m on anymore. I mean mine is mine and Dom’s is mine… almost. Don’t know where my mind is these days…

  • Yes, Melanie, as I told my husband once we settled in after our honeymoon trip: “See, honey, what’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is mine, too . . .”  ;^)

    I want Tiger myself but I’ll prolly wait until the end of the summer. But then I just got my Mac in January, so I’m still learning Panther. I’m just glad that “Longhorn” is out of my vocabulary, except when talking about my home state of Texas!

  • Bring it on the Fourth Crusade….this time to save Europe, not Jerusalem…at least for now.  If they want the Inquisition let’s give ‘em one!

  • Hey Dom… See how easy it is to start a tangent on this site!

    Melanie:  What happened to the S?

  • Hey calling… no problem.

    I see you are very new to this blog… stick around, it gets better, and sometimes the tangents really take off.

    Kelly and I are really old times… way back in the beginning….  You can tell by her response.. 

    So, FIRE AWAY!!!!

    What was the original posting, anyway????

  • All I can think of reading this posting are two lines

    1.  from Monty Python:

    Nobody, expects the Spanish Inquisition!!

    2.  And Elvis Costello’s line from “Blame it on Cain”:

    “Blame it on CAIN,
    Oh, please don’t blame it on me,
    It’s nobody’s fault,
    but we need somebody to burn…

    It’s nobody’s fault, but it just seems to be his turn.”


  • The Tomas Torquemada Gentlemen’s Society was established (on another website) a few years ago.  I am the TTGC’s Membership Secretary.

    TTGC has a Prosecutor-General, an Engineering Department, (they put the torque in Torquemada) and a Ladies’ Auxiliary (all of whom must wear head coverings at Club gatherings.)

    Further, we have accumulated several full cords of wood to go along with the Engineering Department’s refurbished machinery.  Engineering has made a few changes:  we use some electrical devices now, and have changed out all the old hemp-ropes for wire ropes; most implements are now using stainless steel at, ah, critical points.

    In addition to our earthly preparations, we are also going to initiate the Cause for Beatification of Tomas de Torquemada in the near future.

    New members are welcome through FreeRepublic.

  • Aw c’mon, Dom. If you expect the bride’s father to pay for everything, the least he gets is his moment to shine in the spotlight because it is his day, financially speaking, that is. (You are sending the bill to your father-in-law-to-be? Right? It’s you one chance in life to put the touch on him … don’t be proud, dombud, don’t be proud.)

    Also if this … ItIt is not the father’s moment.  What happens during this SACRAMENT is the bride and groom become one.  This is the first time I’m getting used to the procession.

    For years, as an altar boy, I served over a hundred weddings on Saturday mornings and I never saw the way Dom described it except in Italian movies.  Even today, as a parish priest, I have never seen a bride and groom process down the aile together.  The groom always waits at the altar for the father to give the bride away.

    The only way it will change is if every diocese creats a policy like the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.  On the other hand, the number of weddings in the Church has dropped dramatically in the last few years.  Most young people are just not getting married or are, but at the beach.

    Anyway, Dom, you can always move to North Easton.  I would love to have you here in my parish.  You make the lives of happy priest much happier.  I’m still praying for you and Melanie.

  • “Aw c3 12:51:19
    2005-05-03 16:51:19
    Fr Wilson:

    I would tend to agree about custom as the best interpreter of law. Unfortunately, the excesses of our consumer culture, to which you yourself would concede, would almost dictate a serious re-eveluation of every aspect of the process of marriage in the Catholic church, from pre-Cana to NFP, even the Rite of Marriage itself.

    Let’s face it, most marriage preparation is a joke. Ask any NFP instructor and they’ll tell you, that the bride-to-be usually has to drag the guy there against his will. This indifference may be further made manifest in the “bridal procession,” as the groom’s role is simply to be told what to wear and when to show up. I submit this is a luxury that we may no longer be able to afford.

    Due to cultural expectations, it may take some time for people to make the transformation. But seen as an overall improvement in marriage catechisis, the pre-marital angst can be kept to a minimum.

    You’re right on target about the “schysters,” though. By the way, their main target is the bride, on the premise that it’s “her day.”

  • If the event at the church seems canned to some people, I would suggest that the ultimate in canned ceremonies is the party center reception.  It drives me nuts to even attend one.  You just know that behind door #2 and door #3, 4, 5, 6 and sometimes more, the exact same thing is going on, with more or less people depending on budgets, and some little trifles that are supposed to make it “special” for this particular door.  Heck, sometimes it isn’t even possible right away to know that you’ve entered the wrong party room.  Punch ‘em out like cookies on a sheet week after week, all the while using the “Bride’s special day” litany to convince her she is buying something unique.

    Oh, and the strapless dress makes me crazy too.  In the newspaper photo, sometimes it doesn’t even show, making it look like well-dressed groom grabbing naked woman and running off with her.

    Now Fr. Wilson, aren’t you glad you don’t have to contend with me across the desk in wedding preparations!? smile

  • I understand those who don’t see it as an issue, or as a minor one. And truly it is. The major issue, of which this is merely a symptom, is the overblown romanticism which places so much importance on the wedding itself (while at the sme time is generally ignorant of the theology of the sacrament) and gives so little thought to married life after the sacrament.

    I think rubrics for liturgy might be line metrics in poetry.
    Just as in poetry it is not the meter that is of supreme importance in conveying meaning, the rubric is not of supreme importance in the mass. Yet try to divorce poetry from meter and you get a mess. The meter provides structure that is filled with meaningful words and images. The rubric of the mass provides a structure which is fleshed out with meaningful words and symbolic gestures. Meter without meaning is banging on a drum.
    I’m not sure if the metaphor breaks down a bit, but I’m an English professor, not a theologian. If it helps, then it helps. If not, throw it out.

  • People who attended my father’s funeral actually told me afterwards that they had been to weddings that weren’t as lovely.  What they meant though they couldn’t express it was that it was Christian and appropriate.

  • “Let’s face it, most marriage preparation is a joke. Ask any NFP instructor and they’ll tell you, that the bride-to-be usually has to drag the guy there against his will.”

    I can think of two different women I work with – one of whom was the one wearing the infamous dress described above – who were nervous about how their fiances would react to what the priest would say in their marriage prep class, like they were going to be angry, annoyed, etc. I wonder why this is.

  • Joanne, were the future husbands Catholic?  If not, I can certainly see why a bride would be nervous.

    The only other reason would be the infamous birth control question.

  • That’s a good question. One I have no idea, one I believe went to Catholic schools, but was not Catholic. Either way, I don’t really see why they should be hostile towards the priest.

    I guess when it comes to the degraded state of marriage and family life in general, the wedding “custom” that tells the whole story is the raunchy bachelor party. I suppose the sex industry will always exist – *blech* – since evil will always be with us, but the fact that it’s come to be so closely associated with marriage, the sacred covenant that is the basis of our civilization, seems quite literally to be obscene.

    I was impressed with a man I know from daily Mass, I’d say he’s in his early 40’s, never married himself, who told me that when bachelor parties get raunchy, he leaves. (And yes, I believe him.) That is an example of authentic manliness to me. smile

    Regards –

  • What is it with the new Bride and Groom shower?  The ones I’ve been to have only female guests, but the groom is there for the whole party.  The most recent invitation features a picture of the bride and groom.

    Are there Bride and Groom bachelor parties as well? 

  • I would have been happy to have had my diocese laying down this law last summer when I got married. I would have preferred to proceed as according to the GIRM and even tried to bring it up with my father, a VERY orthodox, JPII-lovin’ Catholic fellow. He could not believe that I wanted to proceed in any manner other than “the normal way”, and he wanted to walk “his little girl” down the aisle. (Oh, Daddy, rip my heart out!) So, of course, my father walked me down the aisle. Though of course there was no idea of him “giving me away” – we know our theology! – I would really have preferred to have done it correctly. OTOH, my father is a very interested, pretty-well catechized layman, and he’d never heard of this before I told him (it was never ever done at weddings we’ve gone to in Dallas, where I used to live, or in New York City or Illinois when I’ve been to other Catholic weddings). We’ve got a bit of an “inculturated” custom outside very specific concentrated Catholic centers, to say the least. It’s definitely more of a real “custom” than standing for the Eucharistic Prayer!

    I hate “bride and groom” showers. Unless it’s one where male and female friends are there and give nice, sensible, household items, and everyone has good fun. I’ve been to some of those. But the ladies-tea-and-cake kind where the groom has to sit around MUST STOP!!! These have become a real problem in the South in the last 10 years, especially with overbearing mothers-in-law.

  • I didn’t have a bachelor party. My brother was the best man, and being like me, was unlikely to throw the sort of event associated with the term. So we had a get-together at my college buddy’s house (also a groomsman), and the guys brought their wives/girlfriends. The bride-to-be had a classic shower with distant kin from my family.

    So, Dom, you get to the bachelor party plans yet?

  • Yep, my brother-in-law, who also happens to be my best friend, is planning it. We’re going deep sea fishing out of Gloucester; then lunch at Woodman’s, the place where they invented fried clams; then Laser Tag; dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant; and then back to his house for cigars and beers on the deck.

    I had no worries of an inappropriate bachelor party, because all of my friends and my brothers are good Catholic guys who would never dishonor me, Melanie, their wives, or themselves by doing that.

    Speaking of which, years ago when one of my high school buddies got married, I bowed out of the bachelor party when they decided to go to a strip club. It was a tough decision to make when you’re 23 and the only one of the crowd not doing it.

    Anyway, I had specified to my best man that I only asked that whatever we do, it should be something that both my dad and my oldest nephew could take part in, or at least the parts they wanted to do.

  • Your bach party sounds like the kind of thing my guy friends would do – also good Catholic guys. I feel blessed to know so many good men.

    “I bowed out of the bachelor party when they decided to go to a strip club. It was a tough decision to make when youetuate the idea of Pope Benedict as a modern-day Torquemada, the Grand Inquisitor, the hardline, archconservative, unbending, unsmiling watchdog of obedience to the letter of the law.

    A continual mentioning of the CDF as the former Holy Office is akin to noting in every news story about the US Department of the Interior that it was once the agency responsible for forcibly relocating Indians to reservations or referring to the US Army’s 1st Cavalry Division as a descendant of the 19th-century cavalry units that were responsible or the “Trail of Tears” atrocities. It’s not a fair linkage.

    So just as with other hints of liberal bias in news reporting, here’s another one to watch for. Unfortunately, as with nicknames like “The Enforcer” and “The Panzerpapst” and so on for our Holy Father, too many of those who actually favor this Pope fall into the rhetorical traps set by those who do not. Let’s try to avoid that ourselves. He is not the ogre he is portrayed as and the CDF is not the Inquisition.


    2005-04-29 10:46:16
    2005-04-29 14:46:16

    2005-04-29 13:35:02
    2005-04-29 17:35:02
    I’ve been saying this for years. We need another Inquisition. Not the torture rooms, mind you (and torture was not anything new in Europe – it was STANDARD practice back then by the nation states). But we need to clean house. Too many heretics teaching bad theology in Catholic universities; too many renegade priests and nuns undermining the Church. Kick them out.

    (Yup, don’t I sound rigid???)