Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I'm with the bride on this one....

At the Deacon's Bench blog the author writes about a bride who did not want to be married by a deacon so she asked a priest from another parish come to the church for the wedding. The deacon was a bit miffed that the bride didn't want him.  I wish she'd been more mannerly about it but  to be honest, I wouldn't want a deacon either.
Engaged couples have to jump through a lot of hoops. They are required to spend money on Pre-Cana or Engagement Encounter weekends. Depending on their diocese they may be forced to take a Natural Family Planning class. In the Arizona diocese couples must wait nine months before marrying. Since Catholics get divorced at the same rate as everybody else all this doesn't appear to be doing any good and I wonder how many couples just say nuts to all this and choose a civil arrangement instead. And don't forget, unless it's a multiple couple wedding with a reception put on by the parish (mostly a Latino option) or a wedding during a regular Mass (rarely done) the use of a church for a wedding is not free. I've heard of parishes that charge over $1000. If I were a young bride who'd been through all this I'd be pretty sad if I were told that I wasn't even getting a priest.  Deacons have their place but they are not an alter Christus. They are not intended to be a substitute for the priesthood. 

Yes, yes, yes, I know that the Church allows permanent deacons to preside at weddings, baptisms and funeral home services but most people look at the diaconate and  just see nice old men  who do all the scut work so that the priest has more time to devote to the sacraments. Other people are quite frank about their distaste for what they see is as laymen playing priest. Deacons who find these perceptions offensive should either shrug their shoulders and carry on or lobby for their pastor to launch a  teaching project telling  the folks in the pews what deacons have permission to do.

And finally, the guy who writes Deacon's Bench really doesn't seem to like weddings or group baptisms anyway. I get the impression that he'd be happier with an Amish style affair.