Monday, May 04, 2009

Here Comes Everybody, Wedding Edition

Before anything else, a humble word to any brides-to-be out there: please, please, don't shoot the messenger or -- better still -- just scroll past this post.

See, experience tells us that this one's an, er, especially sensitive point -- put bluntly, a spring's worth of stole fees in one major US diocese once vanished over it, just like that, Ritual be damned.

The whole episode even took on names: "Daddygate" to some, "Attack of the Killer Brides" to others -- and the latter almost wasn't a joke.

Sure, in the end, the diocese was forced to (quickly) back down, but in said context, with Wedding Season well upon us and its full-tilt marriage initiative about to enter its third year, the Mothership's rolled out its Top 10 Nuptial Mass Pointers, including the perennial non-favorite of betrotheds everywhere it's come up:
Having both bride and groom escorted down the aisle by their parents expresses equality of the man and woman. That’s also the suggestion of the Catholic Rite of Marriage....

“The bride and the groom enter freely and equally into marriage, and the entrance procession should reflect that.”
Bottom line: it gets boiled down to "No Daddy-Daughter Walk" real quick... then all the rest -- again, fairly or not, Ritual be damned... all regardless of the immemorial custom's origin -- namely, that the bride is a piece of property being given from one "owner" to another.

Just please don't shoot the messenger. Please.

Speaking of the 'Ship, after months of quietly experimenting with new media, earlier today the USCCB communications shop went ahead with the public rollout of, among other goodies, an in-house blog and Twitter feed. Click 'em up.

SVILUPPO: As expected, reaction's running split in the inbox... but heavy all around -- and especially from the folks among us with the most wedding stories: the clerics who preside over 'em.

For a taste, here's one note from the group-processional side of the aisle...
The couples actually get this! For 20 years now I've been doing variations of this entrance... bride and groom together or groom with parents, then bride with parents... all meet halfway down the aisle, parents go to their seats and the "couple" finishes the walk together. The couples are surprised at first and then get into it.
...and another, this time from the "Bride & Dad" school:
I have been ordained 35 years and in all that time only one bride thought it was a good idea to come in with the groom. And, in that case, the mother of the bride lobbied right up to 20 minutes before the ceremony for the bride with dad march. In the 1970s I read a study that said the mothers' of new born girls fantasized within 24 hours about the wedding (Dad and Daughter down the aisle). I asked in the 1970s of a bunch of women in the parish if this was their experience. Very sheepishly, the majority said yes.
For the record, it can't be underscored enough that the USCCB note signals no change of anything -- it's simply a mention of the entrance protocol as it's optimally envisioned in the Rite.

Especially for pastoral reasons -- e.g. if a couple's going to get married outside the church unless the bride gets to do it (...and, indeed, this has happened) -- the father-daughter walk down the aisle remains acceptable as an "immemorial custom," unless the competent authority of a place determines otherwise. And good luck to anyone who, even with the best of intentions, seeks to pick that fight.