Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A reminder that there's more to marriage than just a fancy ceremony. . .

In The Irish Catholic of last weekend, issue dated Thursday 15th February, the front page story had the headline IRISH "WEDDING TOURISTS" COULD FACE CROATIA BAN.

The paper actually hits the streets late Wednesday, so this story got coverage in Thursday's edition of the Irish Examiner. And thus got a far wider audience.

The bulk of the story is here from

The story is that the Irish Bishops' Conference got a letter from the Diocese of Dubrovnik about the issue of Irish couples wanting to get married in Dubrovnik, mainly because it's a nice place to take photos, and the weather is generally much nicer than it is in Ireland. Not because either bride or groom has any real connection with the place. In other words, to them, the marriage is a social event first, not a sacrament.

The letter says that "wedding candidates put our parish priests under a lot of pressure arranging wedding ceremonies and booking place tickets and hotels before getting all the necessary papers. . . We think that it would be very useful, for pastoral reasons, to discourage those who want to get married outside their parishes, dioceses and country".

The letter goes on to ask: ". . . we will insist also, that they bring a priest with them to perform the wedding ceremony and be a witness at the ceremony".

What I especially like is that they are not afraid to raise the key issues of receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation before the Sacrament of Marriage; "it seems that a number of them do not go to Confession at all, including invited guests and still go to receive Holy Communion"; and dress code, especially for ladies.

This is really a by-product of the Celtic Tiger; also, a good number of Irish people have basically forgotten that marriage is a sacrament (or maybe they were never taught that in the first place) and it's not just a social event.

Though I have heard stories that if you're getting married here, you have to book the church and/or reception up to a year in advance. And it must also be said that getting married in Ireland can be very expensive, depending on how many guests you have at the reception.

But I've never been invited to a wedding in Dubrovnik. Maybe if I got invited to one, with all expenses paid, I might feel differently!

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