Friday, March 3, 2017


The evil prince absconds with a fair maiden from the village and forces her, against her will to marry him.  Is this a valid and licit marriage in the Catholic Church?


Marriage is true when the couple, knowing what they are getting themselves into, freely chooses to do it just the same.  So at their first meeting with me, I ask them if they are here freely and without reservation.  At their last meeting with me I am required to read to them a statement that asks much the same question, invite them to discuss it, and then have them sign it.  THEN, just before they exchange their vows, they are asked once again, publicly, “Have you come here to enter into Marriage without coercion, freely and wholeheartedly?” to which they must answer, “I have,” before we can move on to the binding stuff.

This is another section that has been slightly rewritten.  “Have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in holy matrimony?”  It seems there has been an emphasis on the free will aspect in the new question.

The next pre-vow question has been re-written also.  The original way really ticked off my sister.  She did not approve of the way it was stated.  Here we go:  “Will you love each other as man and wife for the rest of your lives?”  She though “man” should be “husband.”  That is no longer an issue.  “Are you prepared, as you follow the path of Marriage, to love and honor each other for as long as you both shall live?”  Notice the little change of clause?  This was re-written by lawyers.  (Joking)  The first part makes no mention of being married whilst loving each other as “man and wife.”  I guess we want to be very clear.

The last pre-vow question is changed the least.

“Will you accept children loving from God and bring them up according the law of Christ and His Church?” vs. “Are you prepared to accept children lovingly from God and bring them up according to the law of Chris and His Church?”  The first is kind of theoretical.  “Sure.  I suppose.  One day I’d be willing.”  The second is slightly more pressing.  “Are you prepared?  Because that is part of what Christian marriage is and it may happen more quickly than you anticipated.”

1 comment:

Chris P. said...

I'm always quick to defend Church History when people take things the Church did in 682 or something - that seem indefensible today - out of the context of the time and place they were dealing with. When the Church said that a Germanic tribesman couldn't bury an axe or something in the skull of a Christian, but he was free to whack em in the torso - it seems ridiculous and arbitrary now, but at the time it was preposterous that a Church would tell a Germanic barbarian where he could put his axe at all....

Which leads me to...

When it comes to a change in... say emphasis or intonation - like the increased emphasis towards the free will aspect of marriage... Is that a USCCB thing? An English language thing?

A Church-wide-down-from-Rome thing? The emphasis makes a ton of sense when you think of the world, and the Church standing strong for the rights of all to self-determine these things.

If it's a USCCB thing, chalk up another strike to how oblivious I am to what happens around me every day, and how little I do to combat it.