Thursday, December 22, 2011

In a Catholic wedding......

The things the Church could care less about:

1. Whether or not you change your name: Women are not obligated to change their family names in the Catholic Church. In fact, Catholic documents feature the name a woman was born with, regardless of whether or not she changes her name. In Latin American cultures, women actually keep their names and couples pass both on to their children. If you want to change your name, change it, but you don't have to.

2. What color dress you wear: White dresses do not mean the woman is a virgin. In fact, in our society, most women wear them whether or not they are virgins or otherwise committed to chastity. It was a custom made popular by a queen and most Catholics didn't wear white simply because they could not afford it. If you want to wear a white dress, fine, but it isn't mandated by any Catholic tradition. Wear any color dress you want. Just make sure it's modest.

3. Being "given away": Contrary to popular belief, women are NOT given away in Catholic weddings. The bride and groom are ministers of the Sacrament, which means the priest is simply witnessing (he does perform a Sacramental role in consecrating the Eucharist if you have a Mass but during the vows, it's all the bride and groom). While the Church lets fathers escort the bride or parents escort both spouses if that's what they choose, they would actually prefer for the bride and groom to walk together. Marriage should be a free choice made by both spouses so being "given away" runs contrary to our beliefs.

4. Men being "providers": The Church leaves the choice up to the couple. In his encyclical Mulieribus Dignitatem, JP2 praised women who had careers. While a couple needs to be open to having children and we do have teachings regarding abortion and contraception (no on abortion and only NFP as birth control), the choices about how to raise a family are left to the couple. If man working, woman staying at home works for a couple/family, that's fine. If not, that's fine too. You have to do what you're called to do and that choice is going to be different for each couple.

5. If you like sex: Actually, the Church wants you to like sex, so long as it's not illicit sex. You can use natural methods of birth control (they do work, as long as you're using it properly/no cheating, though none is 100% and you have to be very diligent). Outside of that, as long as you're not degrading your spouse or violating commandments (such as adultery-so no threesomes or "open marriages"), do whatever you want. The Song of Songs is in the Bible, right? Besides, if God didn't want us to enjoy sex, why is it the hardest thing to wait till you're actually married to make love to your spouse?

6. Engagement rings: Again, that's a society thing. It may actually be more responsible to not buy an engagement ring, due to vicious mineral conflicts and the state of the economy. I do have an heirloom ring and he also has a ring (a manly Catholic one, too). What, men can't wear engagement rings too? Show me the exact verse in the Bible or Catechism/piece of Canon Law. I don't think any Pope has made an infallible statement.

7. Needing to finance a huge shindig: Like engagement rings, it may actually be more responsible to not have a huge party. Should you be reasonably stable? Yes, that would be prudent. I don't want to be living paycheck to paycheck. I also don't think I should wait till I can afford a designer gown and an open bar (besides, I don't want people getting drunk at my wedding). Also, people get so swept up in luxury and elaborate plans that they forget the actual significance. If you don't have a ton of money, you can still have a beautiful and simple ceremony. In fact, it may be more profound than one swept in luxury.

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