All posts tagged: Rite of Marriage

Marriage and Music: Singing God’s Love

In his recent essay on the Sacrament of Marriage, Timothy O’Malley observed that a deeply consumerist culture has grown up around the nuptial liturgy and the reception. Having assisted engaged couples with choosing the liturgical music for their wedding ceremonies, I can attest that this consumerist culture is not simply relegated to externals like flowers and clothing; rather, it has seeped into many couples’ perceptions of the nuptial liturgy itself. In some respects, this is only natural; for example, the couple chooses Scripture readings that carry special meaning for them or that present an important teaching of the Church that they wish to be reminded of on their wedding day. It is commendable that such choices are made with care and consideration—it allows the wedding ceremony itself to reflect the particularity of the couple being joined together in Matrimony; however, a problem arises when this mindset toward personalization becomes the sole motivation behind decisions that shape the liturgical celebration and the couple loses sight of its place in the Church as a whole. Unfortunately, many couples have …

The Sacrament of Marriage and the Healing of Desire

Within Catholicism, there is a significant vocation crisis, and it relates to the sacrament of marriage. In 1970, there were 426,309 sacramental celebrations of marriage in the United States with a Catholic population of 51 million.[1] In 2015, there were 148,134 marriages with a Catholic population of 81 million. While quantitative data does not tell a narrative, it remains the case that sacramental marriage among those baptized into the Church risks becoming a marginally practiced rite in the next two generations, as Americans’ views of marriage—especially among emerging adults—continue to change.[2] Of course, while an Irish American Catholic would love to simply leave the reader with this bad news as an act of dramatic performance, my obligation is to address one reason for this decline: the incapacity to make a permanent commitment to another person. This problem with commitment is especially evident among emerging adults (18–29-year-olds), who struggle with the demands placed upon them by career, financial expectations, and a malformed understanding of what constitutes the “perfect” relationship.[3] If the Church seeks to renew marriage, …