There goes the bride

There goes the bride August 20, 2011

Every priest or deacon can tell you a wedding story — and the protagonist is usually the bride.  Here’s mine.

File this under “Things They Don’t Tell You About in Deacon School” …

The background:  I inherited a wedding in my parish from a foreign priest who was called back to his home diocese in the Czech Republic.  The wedding, on paper, was fairly straightforward: a ceremony, with no mass (the groom and his family aren’t Catholic).

When the original priest left for his new assignment, my pastor told the bride that someone else would be handling the wedding.  I called her to touch base and let her know I was the guy who’d be doing it.

This news did not fill her with joy.  She told me she thought the pastor was going to preside.  She was especially upset, she told me, because she’d already had the programs printed with his name.  I told her that if there’s a problem, she should take it up with the pastor.  She did.

When she called him, he explained  that no one else was available on the wedding date.  He added, if you’re not happy about this and can find a priest of your own to do it, go right ahead.

Long story short: the bride enlisted the services of another priest from outside the parish to come in and do the wedding.  A few days before the wedding, she called me to let me know.  But she said there’s a problem.  “He can’t be there for the rehearsal,” she said.  “Can you still do it?”   Sure, I said.

After I hung up the phone, it all came into focus.

She didn’t have a problem with a strange name on the program. She didn’t have a problem with someone else doing the wedding.    She had a problem because that someone else wasn’t a priest.  The plain truth was, she just didn’t want to be married by a deacon.

Well, okay.

There were a couple other bumps in the aisle — like the bride’s mother insisting that her daughter receive communion during the service, an issue that ultimately had to be swatted down by my pastor — but otherwise, the wedding went smoothly.   (The morning of the event, my pastor wondered why they hadn’t called to demand a bishop for the service…)  When I finally met the visiting priest to walk him through the ceremony, he said he was shocked to learn that the parish had a deacon who could have done it.  “At my parish,” he explained later in the sacristy, “if it’s a service and they don’t want the deacon, and there’s no one else available, we just don’t do it.”  It later emerged that when they called him and said they needed a priest, he just thought he was helping them out in a pinch.  “I’m the only priest at my parish,” he told me, “and it’s not like I don’t have a lot of other things to do today…”

Coming just a couple weeks after my experience with another bride, who wondered if her chihuahua could be in the wedding, I’m becoming convinced that the crisis in Catholic marriage starts with bad Catholic weddings.  The other day, I was talking with a priest in my office about the challenges of doing weddings these days, and he agreed.  A religious order priest, he doesn’t do very many of them, and he doesn’t like to do them for people outside his family.   “It’s not a sacrament any more,” he said wearily.  “It’s the Greatest Show on Earth.”

Indeed.  Send in the clowns.

RELATED: Sacred transformation:  another wedding story

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42 responses to “There goes the bride”

  1. “I’m becoming convinced that the crisis in Catholic marriage starts with bad Catholic weddings.”


  2. The problems start when we see marriage as a verb rather than a noun. When marriage is understood to be a thing, an institution that people can join, it’s natural that they join on the institution’s terms. When it’s something that two people do, however, well, then why can’t they do it on their own terms, and with whomever they want?

  3. Having seen some strange things at weddings – including a “best dog”, if I were getting married today, I would insist (and I hope my fiancee would agree) on a simple church wedding with a small reception afterwards. The wedding day is about the beginning of our lives together, not the day of the $18,000 bash or – as Deacon Greg’s priest friend put it – the Greatest Show on Earth.

    A friend – who is a Southern Baptist – and his current wife had their reception as a cake and dessert event in the church basement. Later, the newlywed couple and their friends (my wife and I included) went out for dinner at a very nice restaurant. That was probably the simplest, but most stress-free wedding – I’ve ever attended. It was about love and friendship, and the reaffirmation of both great virtues. That’s what wedding should be – because that’s what marriages are supposed to be.

  4. Weddings in the Eastern Catholic Churches in accordance with Canon Law and the Particular Law of a Sui Iuris is to be celebrated only by a Priest or higher rank. A deacon can’t validly celebrate this Mystery (AKA. Sacrament.)

    If this woman, like me, is an Eastern Catholic, then she was brought up to believe this. That marriage unites a man and a woman in a Covenant through Our Lord Jesus Christ where the priest is acting in Persona Christi.

    Deacons have a special role to play, but this isn’t one of them.

    An example where a Deacon participates: only a Full Deacon, Priest, or higher rank can give out the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ to the faithful during communion — in the Eastern Catholic Churches.

    [Good point, but the bride and her family were all Latin Rite Catholics; the bride was baptized at my parish. Dcn. G.]

  5. By e-mail several days before he actually posted it, Deacon Greg gave me a “heads-up” that this blog-stream was coming. He and I and most of the other deacons involved in Marriage work know these horror stories happen. But they are extraordinarily rare.

    My legendary nightmare was the case of the “Medieval Re-enactors.” While the bride-to-be was Catholic, both she and her groom-to-be were from out of our area. (We do permit folks outside of the parish to celebrate their wedding ceremony in our church). What they were really looking for was not a religious setting so much as a place where they could use all the fluffy costumes and perform the “Sword Ceremony” as part of the wedding ritual. After a few meetings with me — including one which was held AFTER I consulted with the “arch of sabres ” experts at the Military Ordinariate — they decided that they did not want to follow the path I was recommending and they left to go elsewhere. I understand they did have that ceremony in a nearby outdoor venue; all the wedding party and guests were in costumes appropriate (as they believed) of a bygone age; and they had the arch of swords they so desperately wanted.

  6. I have handed over only one of my weddings to the deacons here at the parish (the diaconate is rather new here). I was accosted by a grandmother-of-the-bride about it. She was rather upset that I was too ‘busy’ to witness the vows. I told her that they will be just as married, whether I or the deacon witnesses the marriage. “That’s what you think,” she retorted.

    Um, no, that’s what the Church thinks… But I just walked away.

  7. I received a call from a groom asking about his dog walking down the aisle. When I told him that it is not allowed he protested,”But he will be wearing a tux!”

  8. Following-up on Joann #8.

    Not quite a year ago, I attended the lecture component of the Wedding Ceremonies class for our second year diaconal candidates. I had been asked to supervise the practicum component for some of that group and I wanted to see what our “guru” said about it all — besides I needed some continuing education hours anyway.

    The presenter was the senior liturgist in our diocese and that is where I heard about this whole “dog” issue for the very first time. It apparently did happen somewhere in our diocese but the celebrant did not know about it in advance. During the ceremony, he totally ignored the distraction — as if the dog wasn’t really there at all — but he also made sure folks at the diocese had an “after-action” report on that whole scene. Now, in every class of priestly seminarians and diaconal candidates which covers wedding celebrations, the issue of animals in the ceremony is discussed in some detail.

  9. Oh my… First of all, the sacramental understanding of a marriage as the one sacrament that people confer upon each other, with an ordained priest or deacon to witness is surely lost on so many.

    This sounds awful and so insulting… and crass. I am sorry to read of it.

    However, you are correct – the challenge to Catholic marriage may very well be Catholic marriage itself, when treated as a consumer demand. No sacrament is a consumer demand, but in these circumstances, you wouldn’t know that.

  10. I’ve also had my share of the bridezilla experience. My fave moment re dogs: our associate had to face a couple who had bought an outfit for ‘the most important person (dog) in our relationship’. The somewhat flustered associate suggested they have the specially dressed dog featured at the reception instead. They were aghast. “Who brings a dog to a wedding reception?”

  11. Mike K,
    I think you make a great point. Small weddings and simple wedding receptions should be encouraged. Your Baptist friends are hopefully part of a trend.

    What I usually say (not that I’m famous for my sage advice) is that a wedding shouldn’t put you in debt. There are things that might require accruing a bit of debt–a degree, a house, etc. But I don’t think a wedding should be on that list. Thus, what constitutes a lavish wedding will be relative to the material means of the people getting married.

    Deacon Norb: “Now, in every class of priestly seminarians and diaconal candidates which covers wedding celebrations, the issue of animals in the ceremony is discussed in some detail.”
    Wow. It reminds me of those signs you see on the subway platform that read, “No Skylarking or Surfing.” You see the signs and think, “You mean people have *tried* that?” 🙂

  12. My wife and I (married 14 weeks as of yesterday!) were able to have a traditional Latin nuptial high Mass at her parish, but otherwise we had a fairly simple but elegant wedding. Thanks to our own saving and, especially, to our families’ generosity, we were able to incur no debt for the wedding.

    I think a great deal of the problem is rooted in the “it’s *my day*” syndrome, and the notion that the couple (or, more specifically, the bride) have a *right* to whatever they want, both of which are unfortunately encouraged by what I have heard described as the “wedding-industrial complex” Well, having a sacramental Catholic wedding, and having the wedding in a Catholic church, isn’t a “right” if you aren’t willing to abide by the conditions/restrictions. More pastors and bishops need to be willing to tell couples “no”, and be willing to incur the anger, and loss of stipends, that will result.

    Of course, a good place to address these issues is the pre-Cana classes. Unfortunately, our pre-Cana class was neither very Catholic nor very practical (some attention to issues such as how to talk budgeting would have been nice), but that’s a separate issue.

  13. After I finished laughing at the comments I decided that my decision to stop playing the organ for the bridezillas was a good decision!

    Dave Barry once wrote a colomn about weddings. He commented that he was surprised that anyone was there to view because there was so many attendants and people involved in the wedding.

  14. How about this one? No bridezilla issues here, but one of our priests talked about marriage. He mentioned that he’s seen some couples try for the “longest” kiss in history. Correct me if I’m wrong since I’ve never been married, but isn’t the “kiss” supposed to be a quick kiss on the lips?
    As far as the type of weddings, I agree with the simple ceremonies along with the mass. Enough with the “queen for a day” mentality ladies.

  15. Yeah, but how long will those marriages last? We can only hope that once the weddings are over and real life begins, that they will be faithful Catholics. One of my Emmaus sisters stated that she really started praying after beginning her marriage. Lol. I do envy those lucky gals, no one and I mean no one has been put in my path other than Mr. Too Busy.

  16. Once after a particularly trying “bridezilla” affair, the organist and I decided that if we had to do it all over again, he would have played “Bow to the Lord High Executioner” from “Mikado” at bridezilla’s entrance.
    Or, if there is a dog in the wedding, why not play the Triumphal March from “Aida” as the wedding party enters?

  17. Welcome aboard Fr. Tom!!!!!

    Didn’t know you used “The Deacon’s Bench” as a part of your personal Continuing Education program!

  18. In my time as organist at our(very liberal) parish, I’ve seen many strange things. One bride, a vet, insisted that her dog Calvin be ring-bearer at her wedding. Calvin, a beautiful golden retriever, was quite elegant, and by far the best-behaved member of the congregation. The groom at that wedding was not even baptized, IIRC, yet there was a Nuptial Mass with everyone receiving Holy Communion, and our pastor presided with his usual beaming smile. Another wedding featured a groom (ex-priest) marrying a divorcee with 4 kids after having lived together for over a year – and this was extravagant verging on tacky. The bride wore white and was walked down the aisle by her 12-year-old son. Our choir sang the hymns and I resented having to play because I was one of the few people who spoke out about how wrong this whole thing was. Interestingly enough, our pastor celebrated the wedding Mass, but the deacon in attendance, a friend of the groom, actually performed the wedding ceremony, witnessing the vows. IIRC, there was a bit of personal animosity between the groom, a very vocal and active liturgist, and our pastor, who’d known the guy as a priest. Things like that are why I no longer play at that church.

  19. In 1975, I was married at a “good Catholic wedding”:simple but beautiful Mass presided over by the pastor of my parish (who was a good friend of my parents), a high school counselor/priest friend of mine, and the older brother of my groom (who was/is a Salesian priest) followed by a simple buffet luncheon reception–with cake, punch/spiked punch and no hard liquor (or dance).
    That 31year old marriage produced 2 kind, beautiful, intelligent children who were sent to Catholic grade school/highschool and taken to Mass every Sunday…My son is now happily married (to a wonderful young Catholic woman) and has 4 children. My daughter is engaged to be married in a (hopefully) beautiful, solemn Catholic Church service (no Mass/communion as the groom is Presbyterian) next April.
    Unfortunately, regretfully, sorrowfully, despite all of this seemingly good news, I also need to confess that my marriage ended in divorce (our own personal crisis in Catholic marriage) in 2006. This “There goes the bride” article makes me sad and tired…it’s explanation as to why a marriage fails is entirely too simplistic and encourages a judgmental attitude towards those who grieve the loss of the dream(not the reality) of a sacramental marriage.
    Ask my children, my spiritual advisor-counselor (or I) what happened in my marriage, and you will get responses that do not include Bridezillas, pushy Moms, people that don’t understand the Deaconate, and dogs in Church but come closer to the truth than this article…
    I do read your posts daily and usually love everything you have posted…just not this post…

  20. Thank you for sharing your experience, Mary. It’s another valuable point of view, and one people really do need to hear.

    The reasons any marriage fails are many and varied. Marriage is hard. (Believe me, I know!) But couples today don’t make it any easier when they enter into it with a superficial understanding of what it entails, and treat the celebration of the sacrament as a show. And the pressures and values they live with are radically different than when you were married. Today, an overwhelming number of couples planning for a Catholic wedding live together before marriage; many of those are already practicing artificial contraception; few of them regularly attend mass; a growing number are mixed marriages. When it comes to the wedding itself, most are videotaped (adding to the show business atmosphere, with lights and lapel microphones and roving videographers), and couples think nothing of spending $50,000 or more to have the wedding of their dreams. I even know of instances where wedding planners have called the parish to try and do all the paperwork (including the Prenuptial Investigation) so that the bride won’t have to.

    I’m sure some of these marriages that start this way become happy and fulfilling. But the statistics are stacked against them, as they are stacked against all marriages. Marriage needs all the help it can get. The right attitude and the right intention at the outset doesn’t always help. But it can’t hurt.

    Dcn. G.

  21. Please tell me when the pastors, assistants, deacons or someone will tell the bride not to wear a strapless wedding dress.

    When that became the fashion, I certainly thought that such was for “them” but would not be permitted in a Catholic Church. Now, it seems too late, but please tell me it isn’t too late to insist on modest wedding gowns.

  22. Tess, I’m with you — but if we were the ones who started this it would be an ugly couple of years, because as far as I can tell it is impossible to buy an acceptably modest dress. Maybe Princess Kate’s lovely — and modest — dress will start a new trend.

    I’m just glad that I got married 2 decades ago. If nothing else because of vanity — I don’t have the body to carry off strapless!

    (My sister-in-law plays at many weddings, and tells the story of what would have been an elegant formal wedding if it were not for the bride’s strapless dress and tattoo of barbed wire around her upper arm.)

  23. Tess, strapless wedding gowns can be modest, and in fact, most strapless wedding gowns tend to be more modest than dresses with straps because unlike the alternative (v-neck), strapless dresses are cut straight across. Strapless dresses emphasize the face and the shoulders and minimize attention to the other areas. The other kinds of dresses, Kate’s beautiful dress included, all pretty much emphasize the chest area because of how they are cut. Really, a lot of times it’s not so much what you wear, but how you wear it (yes, if you are a heavy set women, then a strapless dress might look very fleshy on you, but on a thin woman, it could very well be conservative looking) and, then of course, THERE’S WHO YOU ARE ON THE INSIDE. IF YOU ARE PURE, THEN YOU ARE PURE NO MATTER WHAT YOU WEAR. If you are impure, then you are impure no matter what you wear, no amount of clothing you pile on is going to take away YOUR impurity. I tend to find that women with sinful pasts are the biggest advocates for “modest” dressing, wedding dresses or otherwise, same with polygamists…probably because they have a lot to hide about themselves.

  24. Regarding the deacon’s post, I can easily see why the bride did not want him to peform the sacrament. It is clear that he has some power issues. Did he become a deacon because he loves Jesus or because he loves power? This girl insulted his ego, and now he has to humiliate her by writing an article about it. Well, he’s in the wrong. She has a right to be upset, very upset. I would only want the holiest of holies to marry me. It’s not about the “show.” It’s about knowing that the person marrying me and my spouse takes the sacrament just as seriously as we do, and I wouldn’t want just any priest to perform our sacrament. For instance, a gay priest would be out of the question. It just would not feel right to be married by a gay priest, regardless of it being permitted by the Church. I have the same feelings about being married by a Deacon, just not holy enough for my sacrament. It’s too serious for me. Let the clowns have their deacons.

  25. “It just would not feel right to be married by a gay priest, regardless of it being permitted by the Church. I have the same feelings about being married by a Deacon, just not holy enough for my sacrament.”

    If ever there was a need for catechesis… .

    Where does one start?

    1. Folks, not even priests “marry” the bride and groom. In Catholicism the couple, themselves, marry each other. They are the ministers of the Sacrament of Matrimony. “The spouses, as ministers of Christ’s grace, mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church” [Catechism, #1623]. What clergy do is they witness the sacrament. If couples want to have the Church witness and bless their marriage, well then, submit to the Church’s authority. Don’t bark at clergy when they tell you that whatever kookiness you are planning to impose is something the Church cannot witness nor bless. If a “church” wedding is what you desire, then desire also to learn and practice the Faith.
    2. The holiness of the witnessing clergyman is not germane to the issue. The validity of a sacrament does not depend on the holiness of the priest since the One Who consecrates the bread and wine (which become the Body and Blood of Christ), for example, is Christ Himself acting through His priest. A priest’s power to celebrate Mass, for example, does not originate with himself but with Christ Who acted through a bishop to ordain that priest. Given the Catholic Church’s Apostolic understanding of the nature of the sacrament of matrimony, a deacon can witness a wedding just as well as a priest or bishop. If the bride knew the Faith, then she would have no problem with a deacon witnessing the ceremony.
    3. To equate the diaconate or the role of the deacon with a sinful form of behaviour is ludicrous. Furthermore, the phrase “regardless of it being permitted by the Church” smacks of dissent. That attitude will not get anyone far, especially if one approaches the throne of God with such defiance.
    4. Since when is any sacrament “mine”? Sacraments are visible signs of invisible grace given(!) by Christ, as noted above, through the Church. We receive(!) the Sacraments. W don’t snatch them up them like some insolent child.

    I’ll happily defer to any clergy who can augment and/or correct what I’ve tried to convey based on my limited layman’s grasp of Church teaching.

  26. KC…

    Thank you for your comment, wrongheaded as it is.

    Warren addresses many of your objections, but I’ll just add that you don’t know enough about this situation, or me, to make that kind of judgment about my character. Frankly, I was just as happy not to do the wedding, because — like that priest — I have a busy life and this was one less thing to worry about. This family was not from our parish — that’s another long story — and didn’t know me or any of the other clergy involved. (The priest didn’t see the bride until she came down the aisle.) There aren’t enough clergy to go around, and this kind of folly just adds more stress to the system.

    Dcn. G.

  27. Tess, I’m with you — but if we were the ones who started this it would be an ugly couple of years, because as far as I can tell it is impossible to buy an acceptably modest dress. Maybe Princess Kate’s lovely — and modest — dress will start a new trend.

    My wife ordered her dress online, and she actually had to order what was advertised as a bridesmaid’s dress, because all the featured bridal gowns were too immodest for her taste (and for our FSSP parish).

  28. There will always be people like this bride. People who don’t want an Afican priest (or other ethnic), people who want only the pastor, and people who want secular music. There are still people who jump out of the pews and run down the aisle so they will receive communion from a Priest and not a Eucharistic minister or a Deacon.

    Perhaps a small amount of time can be spent in the pre-cana sessions so people understand what could happen not only because there are fewer Priests but the Church is changing.
    A few months back I made a comment not unlike KC’s and regret it.

  29. Well, I’ll jump in on the bride’s side: while I understand that the deacon’s participation is valid, etc. , the bride had the understanding that someone else was conducitng her wedding ceremony. Then he leaves and it has to be someone she doesn’t know, but she does understand that it will be the pastor. Oh, but wait, it’s not, it’s the deacon–well, Deacon Greg, she doesn’t know you, and she may not understand your vocation–not all that many parishes have deacons, and she may never have encountered one before (I have personnel experience with maybe 2, in 40+ years in a Boston parish) and at this point she may be feeling sandbagged. It’s not necessarily her fault that she doesn’t understand that deacons can conduct wedding ceremeonies–I have never been to one that was. And at what appears to have a been realtively late in the planning, it’s not unreasonable that she was unwilling to be flexible.

  30. I was pastor of a “wedding church” that had been completed
    in 1905 with all the windows, pipe organ etc. I also had
    a small chapel distinct from the church next door but
    connected to the church. After hearing many of the
    horror stories like those above I simply let it be known that
    if there were any tasteless last minute additions (animals, immodest dresses, costumes) or clear inebriation on the part
    of the attendants the couple and their
    two witnesses would be ushered by me into the chapel where the 5 of us would do the vows afterwhich they would be escorted through a back door which emptied onto the street in front of the church. It was amazing how all the weddings
    went according to plan.

  31. Excellent plan, Fr. Nicholas.

    When my brother-in-law got married some years back, the priest alerted everyone at the rehearsal: no inebriation will be tolerated. If anyone shows up for the wedding even slightly intoxicated, the wedding would be called off. Period. End of discussion.

    The reason? At one of his weddings, the bride showed up drunk. While walking down the aisle, she threw up.

    Dcn. G.

  32. “…the crisis in Catholic marriage starts with bad Catholic weddings.”

    As someone who has very recently been married in the church, I have to agree. I felt pressure on all sides to make the wedding bigger and more complicated than it needed to be. You have everyone involved’s feelings and opinions to contend with. Our society makes it seem as if weddings have to be these huge productions with the bride, of course, the center of attention. We’re losing any sense of sacramentality or sacredness.

    Also, I wonder if the bride in your story was 1) under pressure from her mother and 2) under the misunderstanding that a priest must do a wedding.

    God bless!

    [Bethanie…I suspect the answer to your last two questions is yes. At the very least, someone somewhere thought it would be better to have a priest take part. Meantime: congratulations and God bless you and your new husband! Dcn. G.]

  33. Re: Bethanie and Deacon Greg: #39

    Why did you have to remind me of the “Mother-in-law-from-Hell”?

    Out of 54 weddings I have participated in, I have had two “Mothers-in-law-from-Hell.” I still remember how ugly those scenes were!

  34. re: 29
    Hello Warren, and thank you for your reply, but I think you missed the point of my argument, or rather, wanted to avoid it all together by getting caught up in semantics.

    As to #1 and #4, I was using plain English when I said that I wanted to be “married” by a priest and not a deacon. If you say the proper verbiage, per canon law is “witnessed” then I will take your word for it: I want a priest, and not a deacon, to be the one to “witness” my sacrament. Actually, pardon me, it’s not “my” sacrament, after all. It is the sacrament I am “receiving” – semantics again.

    In response to #2, I never said that the holiness or lack thereof of a clergyman has an impact on the validity of the sacrament. A saintly priest can witness the sacrament, and it will be just as much a sacrament as if he had been an un-saintly priest. But this doesn’t change the fact that it’s appropriate for people to want the person closest to God to be the one to “marry” them, and the person closest to God is going to be the person that is married to Him, and that’s the priest.

    If all the priests are missing in action, then this would be time for the deacons to shine. They are the alternative for emergency situations, real emergencies, like war, famine and the plague. Otherwise, if there’s a priest next door when your priest is out of town, you have every right to seek a suitable replacement, be it a priest or a deacon.

    Regarding #3, no, I was not using the example of gay priests to “equate” them with deacons. Deacons, generally speaking, are holy, of course. I was using the example to get the point across that just because something is permitted by the church, does not mean it is the ideal thing to do in the eyes of the church. The church is compassionate. It permits a lot of things that are not ideal, gay priests is just one example. Annulments is another. Deacons marrying couples is yet another example, albeit, not as extreme.

    As Christians, we should be striving for the ideal, whenever possible. Period.

    Lastly, why did you have quotes around the word “church” when you stated church wedding? Are you suggesting that because I want a priest and not a deacon to witness the sacrament of my marriage, that I am too “insolent” and “defiant” (as you put it) to deserve to be married in a church? I am pretty much only person I know, not including my fiancé and members of my family, who can honestly wear white on my wedding day. If anybody deserves to be married in a church, it’s me. I only hope that you, and your bride (if any) can say the same.

    Re: #31
    “Warren addresses many of your objections, but I’ll just add that you don’t know enough about this situation, or me, to make that kind of judgment about my character. Frankly, I was just as happy not to do the wedding, because — like that priest — I have a busy life and this was one less thing to worry about.” – Deacon Greg

    If I did not know enough about your character before, then I certainly have a lot more to work with now. You just proved by point, in one sentence. I’m speechless, and a little amused, I must say.

    One final note, it was wrong of you to make a public mockery of this poor innocent bride. You should be a man and confront the girl, confess to her face, then apologize, sincerely. I only say this because you are supposed to be a man of God, now go live up to your title.

  35. Thanks, KC. I’ll just add that there’s a lot more about this particular situation that you don’t know — and a lot about Holy Orders and the sacraments that you don’t know. I’d recommend seeking out a priest whom you trust and getting his input.

    But I hope you one day get the wedding of your dreams. Good luck and God bless, Dcn. G.

  36. I have been reading this blog for at least a year and find this it enlightening; I appreciate the Deacon’s view on many of the issues facing Catholics these days within the Church and in our culture.. This is one of the few places/blogs that gives more than just the ‘party line’, yet can be counted on to be stay within the boundaries of orthodoxy.

    I guess I am just at a loss WHY people are so hard on this bride; she simply wanted a Priest to officiate at her wedding; her manners may not have been stellar, but I wouldn’t mention her in the same breath as a bride who wanted a chihuahua at her wedding (plus all the bridezilla stories and charges of ignorance that followed in comments.)

    The fact that she may or may not have understood the nuances of catholic theology about who are the ‘ministers’ of the marriage, but does know it IS a Sacrament does not make her “insulting… and crass”; and speculation of her looking down her nose and wanting someone more “holy” is just that- speculation.
    I appreciate the Deacon’s
    In regard to the wedding problems-I am sorry if the Deacon felt slighted, or wasn’t given the respect due his office.

    I think this SAYS MORE about the confusion about church, authority, the priesthood, sacraments, and liturgy THAN it does about ‘catholic’ marriage/weddings..

    Any given Sunday, in any parish when you can’t tell who the players are at the altar;is the Eucharist pre-blessed and is being served by a deacon/and assisted servers by male, female, all ages/garb;that you have no idea if the host is going to be handed to you (as you stand there looking silly with your mouth open, tongue out-or vice-versa);kneeling or standing…it’s always a crap shoot what is ‘proper’.

    Everything coming out of ‘official’ sources is all on a single theme and is repeated like a broken record: Authority/Priesthood/Sacrament/Authority/Priesthood/Sacrament…you have to go deep or hang around a bit beyond the ‘obligation’ days to get to anything beyond the basics or something like the Diaconate.

    Between church closings/mergers…and I know many people (especially the elderly) who still think that the Restoration of the Diaconate is still being debated; or if they have had contact with deacons, they still are not clear on what they can and cannot do.

    Weddings may be a hassle, but that is nothing compared to the fear some elderly people(and their families) harbor that when they are near death-there won’t be a priest available….and you can talk ‘Diaconate’ to them till you are blue in the face…all they want to know is ‘Father’ here yet?