Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Have you received your invitation to "The Wedding"?

A question I am being constantly asked by the good folk of Marquette. I have no idea what coverage "The Wedding" is receiving in the UK but it is getting lots here. One parishioner said she will definitely be up at 4am on April 29th so she can see the dress. I said that I would save my early rise for the following Sunday for "The Beatification".

Am I just typical of those who are showing a remarkable lack of interest in "The Wedding"? It has been pointed out (see Catholic Commentary) that Catholic bloggers are perhaps demonstrating a certain disconnectedness - even disenfranchisement - from British national life. After all, this event is an historic event. Prince William is our future King and so Kate/Catherine will be our Queen. Prince William will also be head of the Church of England - and perhaps that has something to do with some of the lack of interest.

Do we know much about Prince William's faith? Is he a convinced Anglican?

Caroline Farrow has a great analysis of the situation. She particularly refers to the small matter of the fact that William and Kate have been co-habiting.

William and Kate reflected today’s society in which cohabitation is a fact of life, a try-before-you-buy policy and certainly in their case the balance of power seemed to be one way, with Kate potentially having a lot more to lose had things not worked out. I am able to speak from the fairly unusual position of having cohabited before a marriage, as in the case of my annulled marriage, and also of having remained chaste before marriage and I can testify to the effectiveness of the latter in optimising one’s chances of a successful union. Though the blame for the breakdown of my first marriage cannot be solely attributed to cohabitation, it doubtless did not help us to make the transition from simply living together and sharing a house, to the permanency of marriage. Marriage entailed a lavish and expensive day, but the day after, neither of us felt any different, nothing had really changed, and as we both languished on the sofa the day after the wedding, nursing our hangovers, we even debated whether or not it would be worthwhile to cancel the honeymoon, given neither of us had any energy. Once the excitement of the wedding was over, there was nothing different, nothing new to look forward to.

When I properly entered into the sacrament of marriage, things could not have been more different. Everything was a novelty to the pair of us and highlighted the new status of our relationship. Even doing things like sharing the washing-up together, and sorting out various household tasks, reinforced the new intimacy between us. It was no longer his vicarage, but our family home, and even now, a few years later, having spent a few years dating before marriage, just the act of sharing the same bed to sleep in, still hasn’t quite lost that sparkle. There was a definite demarcation between simply going out and actually being married, there was a positive decision on behalf of the pair of both of us, a saying “yes”, a leap of faith, “this isn’t going to be easy, we won’t always feel as we do now, but I love you, I trust you and I am going to do my best to be the husband/wife that God is calling me to be”. It’s decidedly different from “well I’ve lived with you for x years, we share everything, why not, I think I can risk it and if it doesn’t work out there’s always a get-out clause”. The problem with cohabitation is, as far as I can discern it, is that there is always that get-out clause and its easy to carry that forward into a marriage as well as slide almost unthinkingly into matrimony.

I suppose that, in my own case, I remember as if it was yesterday the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Di. It was so fairytale that I somehow sensed at the time that it was not going to work. Furthermore - and sadly, all except one of the marriages of Her Majesty's children have failed. So Royal Weddings have perhaps lost their currency somewhat.

Having said that, I shall pray for the couple on their wedding day. It's Easter Friday. It's also the feast of St Catherine of Sienna, who know something of a higher form of marriage - the Mystical Marriage with Christ.

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