Marriage/Weddings

Since the topic came up in the Lord's Supper thread, maybe it is time to move on to another topic. Marriage

Is it a sacrament or is it just a social contract?

Why do some denominations consider it a sacrament? What makes it a sacrament?

Mine does not say it is necessarily a sacrament, though it does have sacramental features. But Luther argued that it is primarily a rite that belongs in the civil realm. I think it was because in the thick of the Reformation the Roman Catholic Church was refusing to marry people that did not pledge full allegiance to Roman Doctrine.

Besides all cultures have marriage rites, as well as all religions.

How does your denomination view the act?

Comments

  • MarthaMartha Shipmate
    Marriage in the UK is complicated because it's all tied up with the Church of England as the established church. You can get married in other churches, of course, but iirc you have to have an external registrar, or have someone in your church trained as a registrar.

    In terms of a sacrament, I don't think Baptists regard it as one officially, but the idea of "promises before God and the congregation" would be similar to baptismal promises. I got married abroad, and my minister wasn't too happy because he felt that the community aspect was important. (We came back and had a blessing at the church some months later.)
  • Martha wrote: »
    Marriage in the UK is complicated because it's all tied up with the Church of England as the established church.

    Marriage in England is (and arguably Wales, in spite of disestablishment) but the CofE hath no jurisdiction in this realm of Scotland.
  • MarthaMartha Shipmate
    Oops, sorry. Typical Englishwoman.
  • Quakers have an exemption - which really ought to be given to other religious communities.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    It’s also different for Jewish weddings.

    The way marriage law is framed, in the Church of England ordination also makes a person a de facto deputy registrar for marriages they conduct in licensed Church of England churches ‘according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England’.

    The Law Commission is currently reviewing the law on getting married and if the government finds legislative time for it I think we’ll see changes in the law fairly soon. (Possibly this parliament or the next.)

    The Marriage Act 1949 is the main statute governing the law, and it was a consolidating statute, i.e. mostly bringing together a number of existing statutes. The overall shape of marriage law in England and Wales has not changed much since the latter part of the nineteenth century.

    At that time, I suspect, the arrangements put in place were seen as providing a mechanism for recognising marriages in addition to the provision already available in England and Wales for the recognition of Quaker, Jewish and Church of England weddings.
  • Martha wrote: »
    Marriage in the UK is complicated because it's all tied up with the Church of England as the established church. You can get married in other churches, of course, but iirc you have to have an external registrar, or have someone in your church trained as a registrar.

    In terms of a sacrament, I don't think Baptists regard it as one officially, but the idea of "promises before God and the congregation" would be similar to baptismal promises. I got married abroad, and my minister wasn't too happy because he felt that the community aspect was important. (We came back and had a blessing at the church some months later.)
    I'd go along with that - although I've not come across the last bit. And I've often felt that the baptismal promises sound like wedding vows.

    There are Baptist ministers who refuse to do "legal weddings" as they don't want to be agents of the State (although in fact it may not be they who are the Registrar in their churches) and will only do a non-legal church service of blessing.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Going back to the OP, how much difference does it really make, or should it make, whether your particular ecclesiastic household categorises marriage as a sacrament or not-a-sacrament?

    It isn't a Dominical Sacrament in the CofE sense because Jesus neither provided it nor commanded it, but as far as I know, every ecclesiastic household on earth regards it as 'an honourable estate' even if they don't use that phrase, one which Jesus signifies that he blesses by performing his first miracle/sign at Cana. I'm almost prepared to bet that your marriage liturgy includes a reference to that event. I'm sure also that everybody's teaching regards it as, for Christians, some sort of sacred bond, something we enter into before God and which he recognises rather than 'just a social contract'.

  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    RCs do count it as a sacrament. But it took a long while to bring it into a church where monasticism and virginity were prized as being more holy and marriage was seen as a civil matter. It was declared a sacrament in 1184 as a reaction to the Cathars who believed that marriage and procreation were evil and not a part of God's order.
    Theologically it is seen as being intended by God, a means of grace for the couple and a reflection of the union between Christ and the church. The couple are the ministers of the sacrament, both at the wedding and ongoing. The cleric is just the church's witness.
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    I should probably leave this to @mousethief, but his wife @josephine used to be a regular participant in the old Ship and presented an Orthodox theological view of marriage that stuck with me. In that view, marriage is a podvig, a Russian word meaning "spiritual struggle." The idea is that we rebel against the love of our spouse in the same way that we rebel against the love of God. In working through that spousal rebellion, we also work through our own salvation. @josephine said it much better, but that was the gist of the point and I think it's a powerful one. It certainly resonates with me in my marriage. And it contains a few very useful antidotes to the usual pap about marriage -- it isn't focused on the ceremony, but on the couple's life together; it doesn't have the common Christian pornographic obsession with sex at its core; and it doesn't even have a bias toward heterosexuality lurking within it.
  • Enoch wrote: »
    It isn't a Dominical Sacrament in the CofE sense because Jesus neither provided it nor commanded it, but as far as I know, every ecclesiastic household on earth regards it as 'an honourable estate' even if they don't use that phrase, one which Jesus signifies that he blesses by performing his first miracle/sign at Cana. I'm almost prepared to bet that your marriage liturgy includes a reference to that event. I'm sure also that everybody's teaching regards it as, for Christians, some sort of sacred bond, something we enter into before God and which he recognises rather than 'just a social contract'.
    Marriage isn’t considered a sacrament among Presbyterians because, as you’ve noted, Jesus didn’t command it and because it’s not common to all—i.e., some marry and some do not. Traditionally, at least in my tribe of Presbyterians, it, like confirmation and ordination, would have been termed an “ordinance,” but I don’t hear that as much these days.

    But as to your last point, Presbyterians regularly describe marriage as a “covenant,” and the idea that the parties to the marriage have “made a covenant” or “entered into the covenant of marriage” is frequently heard in our wedding liturgies. As I noted somewhere else on the Ship recently, the idea of “covenant” is a major theme for us; it’s part of our understanding of the sacraments as well.

  • TurquoiseTasticTurquoiseTastic Shipmate
    edited February 20
    A monastic Catholic friend once asserted to me that if one was not married one really ought to become a priest, monk or nun, so that it was spiritually questionable for an older singleton not to be either a "religious" and/or ordained. "I suppose it's possible that they might not yet have met the right person" he conceded.

    Never before or since have I heard this line defended, not even by IngoB of blessed memory, but he was very well-up on official RC doctrine and practice so I have never been able to entirely dismiss it from my thoughts. What do y'all make of it?
  • A monastic Catholic friend once asserted to me that if one was not married one really ought to become a priest, monk or nun, so that it was spiritually questionable for an older singleton not to be either a "religious" and/or ordained. "I suppose it's possible that they might not yet have met the right person" he conceded.

    Never before or since have I heard this line defended, not even by IngoB of blessed memory, but he was very well-up on official RC doctrine and practice so I have never been able to entirely dismiss it from my thoughts. What do y'all make of it?

    I suppose if one believes that everyone is called to a particular state, whether that be marriage or celibacy, then there must be a question mark over those who have not committed themselves to either. Being not wholly convinced by the premise I can't endorse the conclusion. Though I would note also the existence of Consecrated Virgins, who are not ordained and need not be religious (in the sense of being nuns).
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    A monastic Catholic friend once asserted to me that if one was not married one really ought to become a priest, monk or nun, so that it was spiritually questionable for an older singleton not to be either a "religious" and/or ordained. "I suppose it's possible that they might not yet have met the right person" he conceded.

    Never before or since have I heard this line defended, not even by IngoB of blessed memory, but he was very well-up on official RC doctrine and practice so I have never been able to entirely dismiss it from my thoughts. What do y'all make of it?
    @TurquoiseTastic perhaps he thought that any good Catholic should have recognised that if you are not called to a role that obliges you to be celibate, you should recognise that you're obliged to marry somebody, anybody, whosoever, whether the 'right person' or not, and procreate as many good little Catholics as possible without using anything that inhibits conception.

  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    A monastic Catholic friend once asserted to me that if one was not married one really ought to become a priest, monk or nun, so that it was spiritually questionable for an older singleton not to be either a "religious" and/or ordained. "I suppose it's possible that they might not yet have met the right person" he conceded.

    Never before or since have I heard this line defended, not even by IngoB of blessed memory, but he was very well-up on official RC doctrine and practice so I have never been able to entirely dismiss it from my thoughts. What do y'all make of it?

    Thats a strange and very personal view. Some people realise they are not cut out for marriage - I rather suspect they would not be cut out for community life as a religious either. Did it not occur to him that they might be gay? I assume this conversation was before gay weddings were legalised.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    A monastic Catholic friend once asserted to me that if one was not married one really ought to become a priest, monk or nun, so that it was spiritually questionable for an older singleton not to be either a "religious" and/or ordained. "I suppose it's possible that they might not yet have met the right person" he conceded.

    Never before or since have I heard this line defended, not even by IngoB of blessed memory, but he was very well-up on official RC doctrine and practice so I have never been able to entirely dismiss it from my thoughts. What do y'all make of it?

    I suppose if one believes that everyone is called to a particular state, whether that be marriage or celibacy, then there must be a question mark over those who have not committed themselves to either. Being not wholly convinced by the premise I can't endorse the conclusion. Though I would note also the existence of Consecrated Virgins, who are not ordained and need not be religious (in the sense of being nuns).
    We have one of those in our parish. A woman in her 70s who went off to the cathedral to be consecrated. She is referred to as the parish virgin (by me at least.) I have never been so bold as to enquire whether/how her intact state was tested, if at all.

  • Alan29 wrote: »
    A monastic Catholic friend once asserted to me that if one was not married one really ought to become a priest, monk or nun, so that it was spiritually questionable for an older singleton not to be either a "religious" and/or ordained. "I suppose it's possible that they might not yet have met the right person" he conceded.

    Never before or since have I heard this line defended, not even by IngoB of blessed memory, but he was very well-up on official RC doctrine and practice so I have never been able to entirely dismiss it from my thoughts. What do y'all make of it?

    I suppose if one believes that everyone is called to a particular state, whether that be marriage or celibacy, then there must be a question mark over those who have not committed themselves to either. Being not wholly convinced by the premise I can't endorse the conclusion. Though I would note also the existence of Consecrated Virgins, who are not ordained and need not be religious (in the sense of being nuns).
    We have one of those in our parish. A woman in her 70s who went off to the cathedral to be consecrated. She is referred to as the parish virgin (by me at least.) I have never been so bold as to enquire whether/how her intact state was tested, if at all.

    Pfft. Simple. You wouldn't doubt the word of a consecrated virgin, would you?
  • I have never heard of anyone saying with any authority within the Catholic Church that if one is not married then one should be ordained or enter religious life.
    The Catholic catechism says the following of 'single' people
    'we must remember the great number of single persons who... are especially close to Jesus' heart and who deserve the special affection and active solicitude of the Church. Many live their lives in the spirit of the Beatitudes ,serving God and neighbour in exemplary fashion... the Church is a home and a family for everyone.'

    Would this monastic Catholic friend have advised widows or widowers to embrace the religious life as soon as their spouse died ?
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    Many years ago when I was attending Catholic services and thinking of converting, I told the priest I didn't see myself ever getting married, and his immediate reply was that perhaps I was called to be a nun. This wasn't the reason I didn't become a Catholic, but it certainly didn't help.
  • Enoch wrote: »
    A monastic Catholic friend once asserted to me that if one was not married one really ought to become a priest, monk or nun, so that it was spiritually questionable for an older singleton not to be either a "religious" and/or ordained. "I suppose it's possible that they might not yet have met the right person" he conceded.

    Never before or since have I heard this line defended, not even by IngoB of blessed memory, but he was very well-up on official RC doctrine and practice so I have never been able to entirely dismiss it from my thoughts. What do y'all make of it?
    @TurquoiseTastic perhaps he thought that any good Catholic should have recognised that if you are not called to a role that obliges you to be celibate, you should recognise that you're obliged to marry somebody, anybody, whosoever, whether the 'right person' or not, and procreate as many good little Catholics as possible without using anything that inhibits conception.

    I'm pretty sure he saw it the other way round, in the way that @Arethosemyfeet suggests - that if you were not called to marriage that was a prima facie indication of a vocation to the priesthood or a religious order.

    I think the idea was that some sort of community is essential and that "it is not good for the man (or woman) to be alone". So if you don't have the podvig of a spouse, you need the podvig of the others in your order (or perhaps of your congregation if you are a secular priest). But that is my own recollection of how I attempted to make sense of what he was saying.

    It is interesting that @Forthview has never come across this but @Ruth has! I don't think I ever asked my friend about what it implied for widows and widowers. He was perhaps going through a rather extreme phase at the time having come under the influence of Gerry Matatics.
  • There are lots of people who are not married ,either because they never found the right person or because external circumstances made it impossible to marry. Then there are others who have no wish whatsoever to marry. These are the people that one might wonder, within a Catholic context, that they could have a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. It would not be surprising ,again within a Catholic context, especially if they were regularly attending church to ask them to ask themselves if they thought that they had a vocation to priesthood or religious life.

    All of us, within a Catholic context, have a vocation in life, but there are more options for that vocation to flourish than in the married state or the priesthood or religious life.
    Service to god and service to neighbour can be done in so many ways.

    I,m sure it is the same in all religious groupings that single, unattached people often give immense service to their church.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    Forthview wrote: »
    There are lots of people who are not married ,either because they never found the right person or because external circumstances made it impossible to marry. Then there are others who have no wish whatsoever to marry. These are the people that one might wonder, within a Catholic context, that they could have a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. It would not be surprising ,again within a Catholic context, especially if they were regularly attending church to ask them to ask themselves if they thought that they had a vocation to priesthood or religious life.

    As a person who was clearly not Catholic, and in the context of learning about Catholicism to see if it was the way I wanted to live my life, I was quite taken aback by the suggestion that the alternative to marriage was religious orders. He didn't suggest any other possibility. To me it said that this guy had a very narrow view of the world.
  • Narrow indeed. Somewhat like the folks IRL who suggest to me that with my theological proclivities, I "ought to" go to seminary and become a deaconess so they can have a nice neat slot to put me in. Never mind the fact that my church body underemploys, undervalues and limits the role of deaconesses. They're uncomfortable with me continuing as a laywoman, hanging about and making theological material used by the church at large. God knows what I might do next. Bring her under control.
  • Ruth , when you told the priest that you were- presumably- interested in Catholicism and when you told him - at the same time- that you didn't see yourself ever being married, did he say that 'perhaps' you might be called to join a religious order (that is what you wrote) or did he say you absolutely must join a religious order if you don't get married ?
    Was he ready to facilitate your entry directly into a religious order ( against canon law,I;m sure) or did he merely suggest that if you did wish to join this religious body and you were sure that you would never marry then it might be 'perhaps' an idea to consider the religious life ? - once you had accustomed yourself to the Catholic way of life.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    It was 30 years ago - I don't recall the details of how he phrased it. What I remember was that his response was so quick and that he didn't have anything else to say on the subject.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    'Pigeonholing' of single women in the church is something that doesn't seem to change very much. I'm still reeling from comments made some years ago by a cheerful parish priest who said he'd noticed I read some 'heavy' theology and might like to think about teaching catechism to the 'little ones'.

    "You're single aren't you?" he said. "I've often wondered if you might be a failed nun."

    I presumed he was referring to women who entered and left religious orders; the odd thing was that although he was active in many international Catholic conferences and workshops on the role of women in the church, he had no idea at all he was being offensive. He was mortified when I pointed out why I objected to what he was saying. For him it was like 'locker-room ' talk among priests and deacons as shorthand for the anomaly of single women who didn't want to get married, weren't satisfied by any of the limited options of service for women in parish circles and weren't safely embedded in a convent.
  • MarthaMartha Shipmate
    @tclune Yes, Josephine's comments about marriage being a podvig stuck with me as well, though I had forgotten the exact word. Thanks for mentioning it.

    Some countries have very strict separation between legal ceremonies and religious ones, don't they? So you have to get married in a state ceremony but then you can have whatever religious ceremony you want, or not, as the case may be. Is that more useful for separating the legal and spiritual aspects, or should they not be separated?
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    When my wife and I renewed our wedding vows a couple of yeas ago, I had occasion to think about the meaning of my marriage. We both gave our "testimonies" as to what our life together has meant. Here's mine:
    In Christian terms, love is unmerited favor. While there’s a lot I can do to screw it up, there’s really no way that I can make Nancy love me. It is a free gift. And that is worrisome to me. I’m the sort who wanted to know what I had to do to get an A. I may not have done it, but my fate was in my hands. But love is not a matter of works. And that is just plain scary. I don’t feel worthy of Nancy’s love. And love that comes unbidden can go the same way. What if she decided that I wasn’t really husband material after all? Or that I wasn’t the parent that I should be? Once the kids were grown, what if she decided it was time to stop pretending and get on with her life? Or, once I retired, that there was really no economic upside to staying with someone as irritating as me? It’s reaching a point that I’m running out of excuses for her, though. At some point, it is more than even I can muster to believe that she’s faking it. I don’t understand her questionable judgment, but I am starting to believe in it. Maybe that’s what assurance is all about – running out of reasons to doubt the love that I’ve been given.

    There is another theological notion that has taken on meaning in my married life: “imputed righteousness.” In Christian theology, this is the idea that Christ “loans” us some of His goodness to allow us to become upstanding. That idea has never really resonated with me. But I have found value in something like it as a parent – Emily and James have given a meaning to my life that I have not been able to find in my life itself. And now Diego and Diana have multiplied that sense of my having made way for good things that would not have happened without Nancy and myself. If our line goes on long enough, I may end up being justified after all.

    Nancy and I met in the Boston area. I was from Detroit and she was from the New York area. We were strangers in a strange land and found each other by what to our minds was accident. There are many ways that I have experienced the Lord’s hidden hand, but none more important than this unscripted encounter. It feels that my part in the divine drama has just been to say, “Let it be with me according to your word.” Out of that has flowed bounty beyond my ability to have imagined. And so I come here to acknowledge all that has been given me and to give thanks, both to Nancy and to the Lord.
    FWIW
  • FWIW it is worth a lot ,your testimony. Thanks to you and thanks to Ruth for replying to my question in such a considerate way.
    When many people have unhappy experiences of marriage it is wonderful to read such a good experience as that described by @tclune and there are many, many more which are not recorded here.
    All of us who are Christians have a religious vocation in life - to love God and our neighbour - for many people marriage is one of the most fulfilling ways of doing that.
    For others that is not the case.
    In spite of the fact that there are other religious vocations as well as or instead of marriage I have never, ever heard it said that the only vocations for Catholics are either marriage OR the priesthood OR Religious Life. Also the priesthood and the Religious Life (in the Catholic sense of that expression) are two different things.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Forthview wrote: »
    FWIW it is worth a lot ,your testimony. Thanks to you and thanks to Ruth for replying to my question in such a considerate way.

    In spite of the fact that there are other religious vocations as well as or instead of marriage I have never, ever heard it said that the only vocations for Catholics are either marriage OR the priesthood OR Religious Life. Also the priesthood and the Religious Life (in the Catholic sense of that expression) are two different things.

    I've been thinking about this, @Forthview and I'm someone who did consider entering a contemplative order when I was in my 20s. I have tremendous admiration for two women friends who became enclosed Carmelites.

    At the same time, one reason I posted here was because what @Ruth may have experienced 30 years ago is still quite prevalent in Catholic communities I know well, a certain unsubtle pressure and expectation placed on young single women to 'resolve' their 'singleness' by either marrying or entering religious life. I don't know that young men are pressured in the same way to enter the priesthood, even though the idea of vocations are very much of the hierarchy's mind. The unmarried status of men isn't as troubling as it seems to be for young women. One reason is obviously that many women do express a longing to become priests in a church where only men can enter the sacramental ministry. In my experience too, much of parish life revolves around the family and single people are often excluded. Although women may persist and find a niche or a teaching role, it isn't easy and alternatives aren't presented whatever the official standpoint on vocations might be.
  • 'the unmarried status of men isn't as troubling as it seems to be for young women' one might say this for society in general as well as for those who are inside the Catholic community.
    I appreciate what MaryLouise has to say about the pressures put on young women by the Church to 'resolve' their 'singleness'. Surely, however, this would refer to those who show a real interest in religious life (as opposed to the Religious Life) I am thinking of the vast majority of people within the Catholic community who would count themselves as Catholics but not as particularly religious It is for these people that I have never heard of this idea that one has to be either married or in some sort of ordered religious life.

    For anyone, either male or female, who shows a more than average interest in Church life,it would be natural ,I think, for clergy to put forward to them the idea of thinking of the priesthood or the Religious Life.

    In everyday parish life I think ,as well as the families, of the many single people who do so much to support parish life. In a way it is natural that the Church would seem to give priority to families as the whole Church community is that of the family where people work together for the good of all.

    I agree with MaryLouise that the Church has to move forward with its vision for the role of women within the community of the Church.
  • Forthview wrote: »
    For anyone, either male or female, who shows a more than average interest in Church life,it would be natural ,I think, for clergy to put forward to them the idea of thinking of the priesthood or the Religious Life.

    Perhaps I ought to consider joining my RC friends on a more permanent basis. Here in Methodism, such Enthusiasm is likely to result in being asked to Join A Committee.
  • My daughter is getting married twice next year. The first wedding in our parish church in March, the second wedding probably in June. We are involved in organising the first, our future in-laws the second.

    Therefore marriage and weddings are much on my mind just now. My daughter and son-in-law to be are navigating their way through two different cultures. To a lesser extent, so are we - future son-in-laws family seem to regard the wedding as the joining of two families rather than the joining of two people. Previously, my knowledge of Christian / Hindu marriages was based solely on Alan and Usha in "The Archers."

    When they were dating at university, the fact that they came from different cultures seemed irrelevant - they were just two geeky science students, both born in Britain. Culture only came to fore when they started thinking about getting married.

    We are Presbyterians, and so marriage is not a sacrament for us. I don't even know how to frame the question "Is marriage a sacrament for you, future son-in-law?"
  • Forthview wrote: »
    For anyone, either male or female, who shows a more than average interest in Church life,it would be natural ,I think, for clergy to put forward to them the idea of thinking of the priesthood or the Religious Life.

    Perhaps I ought to consider joining my RC friends on a more permanent basis. Here in Methodism, such Enthusiasm is likely to result in being asked to Join A Committee.

    See, that's 'cause Methodists are nice. Anglicans and Presbyterians don't ask, they tell. ;)
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    Forthview wrote: »
    For anyone, either male or female, who shows a more than average interest in Church life,it would be natural ,I think, for clergy to put forward to them the idea of thinking of the priesthood or the Religious Life.

    Perhaps I ought to consider joining my RC friends on a more permanent basis. Here in Methodism, such Enthusiasm is likely to result in being asked to Join A Committee.

    The only enthusiasm needed for any Methodist church I've ever attended is a pulse -- and in a pinch, that requirement may be waived.
  • I should have mentioned for@ Mark in Manchester that Enthusiasm, within a Catholic context, would have to be linked with a state of being 'unattached' and looking that things would probably remain like that for the single religious life to be encouraged. For the vast majority of Catholics the major calling in life is to find a partner and I would say that much more value has been placed in recent decades on the vocation of marriage.
  • We are Presbyterians, and so marriage is not a sacrament for us. I don't even know how to frame the question "Is marriage a sacrament for you, future son-in-law?"

    Best wishes to your daughter, NEQ.

    I'm not sure "do you think marriage is a sacrament" is a terribly interesting question, at least, not for people who are actually getting married. It's of some interest as regards how we think about God, but I don't think asking whether or not marriage is sacramental affects how the couple concerned interact with each other in any way.
  • MaryLouise wrote: »
    'Pigeonholing' of single women in the church is something that doesn't seem to change very much. I'm still reeling from comments made some years ago by a cheerful parish priest who said he'd noticed I read some 'heavy' theology and might like to think about teaching catechism to the 'little ones'.

    "You're single aren't you?" he said. "I've often wondered if you might be a failed nun."

    I presumed he was referring to women who entered and left religious orders; the odd thing was that although he was active in many international Catholic conferences and workshops on the role of women in the church, he had no idea at all he was being offensive. He was mortified when I pointed out why I objected to what he was saying. For him it was like 'locker-room ' talk among priests and deacons as shorthand for the anomaly of single women who didn't want to get married, weren't satisfied by any of the limited options of service for women in parish circles and weren't safely embedded in a convent.

    In my mid-twenties I was directed by my Director of Ordinands to take up a certain OSB Friar as spiritual director to explore potential vocation to ordained ministry. During the course of our first meeting, he told me he could see me very clearly as a nun. I roared my leg off. Probably not the response he expected.
  • With all these advisors apparently pushing the religious life as hard as they can, how come there aren't more monks and nuns?
  • With all these advisors apparently pushing the religious life as hard as they can, how come there aren't more monks and nuns?

    Because they're not very persuasive?
  • I ve long considered that if the nuns and monks Themselves were to be given a higher profile, matters might change

    Someone Else...talking about what it s like to be a monk or a nun doesn’t quite cut it
  • TukaiTukai Shipmate
    My daughter is getting married twice next year. The first wedding in our parish church in March, the second wedding probably in June. We are involved in organising the first, our future in-laws the second.

    [snip]
    When they were dating at university, the fact that they came from different cultures seemed irrelevant - they were just two geeky science students, both born in Britain. Culture only came to fore when they started thinking about getting married.

    We are Presbyterians, and so marriage is not a sacrament for us. I don't even know how to frame the question "Is marriage a sacrament for you, future son-in-law?"

    Clearly at most one of those "wedding" ceremonies can be a legal marriage. (It may be that the couple have a separate registry office wedding for legal purposes.)
  • North East QuineNorth East Quine Shipmate
    edited February 23
    The first, in our parish church, will result in a legal marriage certificate. I don't think the second will have any legal implication, it will be purely cultural.
  • I took a Christian/Hindu wedding exactly a year ago. Since the couple had been together for years and the whole village (including me when I baptised their kids) thought they were married it was really celebrating what already was in many ways. It was lovely, cheerful and colourful: and the last wedding without restrictions that I did. I don't know if they had another Hindu ceremony later - lockdown may have put paid to that. I do know that when the kids were baptised they later also had Hindu naming ceremonies. I expect God chuckled.
  • We were at a Hindu / Roman Catholic wedding many years ago. A small white fence separated the bride (RC) from the groom during part of the ceremony; I think the bride received communion at that point. The bride and groom were from different countries and had met at university, so two very different cultures. It was a fantastic wedding.

    Fortunately no need for wee white fences at a C of S wedding!





  • No indeed! What weirdness does that proclaim when you are making the two one?
  • Do you know what the 'wee white fence' was, NEQ ?
    Was it something which was placed there during the wedding ceremony or did you have the impression that it was always there (wherever 'there' was) ?
    Do you know if it was something which was insisted upon by the Catholic authorities or was it something insisted upon by the Hindu authorities. ?

    The only thing I can think of, if the wedding took place many years ago, would have been the Communion rail. Since the Council of Trent rood screens which separated the nave of a church from the sanctuary were generally removed in Catholic churches and replaced with a small fence which might be made of marble or of wood or indeed painted wood, even white painted wood. Before Vatican 2 generally speaking lay people did not go into the sanctuary beyond this 'fence'.

    A wedding would usually take place in the nave of the church - on the 'lay' side of the fence.
    If there was also a Mass at the wedding it is possible that the bride was invited through the central gate in the 'fence' to receive Communion, while her husband, if he was not a believer in Christianity would remain in the nave of the church.

    This 'fence' ,if it was the Communion rail, has been removed in most RC churches since the mid 1960s.

    Apart from this I cannot think what the 'wee white fence' might have been.
  • It was over a decade ago, Forthview, so my recollection is hazy. It was in St Mary's Cathedral, Aberdeen. The Roman Catholic bride was "inside" the fence and the groom "outside." I thought that it separated them while the bride took communion. The bride was European, and so I don't even know if this was something Scottish, or part of her own church tradition.
  • Thank you for your answer NEQ. Leaving aside the 'fence' I would assume that if the bridegroom were Hindu and not Christian he would not have wanted to take part in the Communion without any belief in Jesus Christ, so there would have been a separation at the time of Communion for the bride and unless one of them converted to the other's religion there would be some sort of separation in religion just as there would be in general history and culture,not only on the wedding day but on into the future. This would be something that the couple would hopefully work at in the course of their married life.

    I think that the fence you mention may have been some sort of altar rail. However the cathedral in Aberdeen was 'cleared out' of Victorian furnishings as early as 1960 even before the Vatican council by a reforming Bishop Walsh.

    At weddings in Catholic churches the bride and groom will sometime sit on seats at the front of the nave, occasionally with a prie-dieu (little prayer desk )in front of them. These items of furniture will sometimes be covered in white- as it is a colour which is non-liturgically often used at weddings. It may be that the Catholic bride was invited forward at the appropriate moment to receive Communion. Depending on where you were sitting and depending on your unfamiliarity with the rite you may have seen this payer deskas a 'wee white fence'

    In the really olden days when virtually every RC church would have had a Communion rail, at a Nuptial Mass the bride and groom would sometimes be invited right up to the altar to receive Communion. I remember this happening often in Austria.

    You tell me that the bride was European. I'm not sure if that means European as opposed to Indian or if it means Continental European as opposed to Scottish European. If it means that the bride was from another European country, possibly with a strong Catholic background, again it is possible why she went forward to receive Communion.

    Mass is streamed every day at 6pm from St Mary's cathedral in Aberdeen so I'll have a look in the next few days but I am fairly sure that there is no communion rail in the building.

    We have to try to seek what is common but there will always be some sort of gulf in religious belief and practice between those who are Christian and those who belong to some other religion. All gulfs can be overcome but the 'wee white fence' should not be something which separated them.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    Anselmina wrote: »
    In my mid-twenties I was directed by my Director of Ordinands to take up a certain OSB Friar as spiritual director to explore potential vocation to ordained ministry. During the course of our first meeting, he told me he could see me very clearly as a nun. I roared my leg off. Probably not the response he expected.

    A former Dean of the Cathedral here got the same response when he asked me if I had ever considered becoming a nun. To be fair to him I felt it was more an open question, rather than him thing I should.
Sign In or Register to comment.