07 September 2006


I recently participated in a discussion about the theology surrounding the Roman Catholic marriage rite, somewhat in comparison to the Eastern rite and their understanding of what happens therein. I find that my education on the subject of the Roman Catholic ceremony is somewhat lacking!

Questions that came up included:
1. If the couple are the ministers of the sacrament, how does the priestfit in? Is he just a witness on behalf of the Church, or is there more to his role?

2. In the pre-Vatican II rite, the priest said, Ego conjugo vos in matrimonium, in Nomine Patris,etc. In the post-V2 version, the priest says, Hunc vestrum consénsum, quem coram Ecclésia manifestástis, Dóminus benígne confírmet et benedictiónem suam in vobis implére dignétur. Quod Deus coniúngit, homo non séparet. or Hunc vestrum. consénsum, quem coram Ecclésia manifestástis, Deus Abraham, Deus Isaac, Deus Iacob, Deus qui protoplástos coniúnxit in paradíso, in Christo, confírmet ac benedícat, ut quod ipse coniúngit, homo non séparet. So, the priest speaks in the first person in the old version, and in the new version he does not. Does this represent an alteration in theology, since the first would seem to imply that the priest (in persona Christi?) has some role in joining the couple, yet that is not the Western understanding as outlined in the present Catechism, or are the new words better at not muddling the theology of the sacrament?

3. Finally, has anyone written a decent essay or book on the theology of the marriage ceremony? There's so much out there on marriage, but I've hardly seen anything about the liturgy with which all Catholic marriages commence.

I've not had too much luck with queries here in the past, and if I don't get many responses, I'll ask someone with a more popular blog to post it as well.

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