The Marriage Ritual of the Roman Catholic Church - No Mention of Obedience - The Ritual of the Ring

In the translation from the Latin of the Marriage Service, taken by permission from a version privately printed by the late Marquis of Bute, the writer of the preface takes exception to the expression "marriage vows," preferring the term "marriage contract."

"Of all the seven sacraments matrimony is the only one in which not the priest, but the contracting parties themselves, are the sacred ministers." The questions put to bride and bridegroom in the Romish Church are as follows: "N. Wilt thou take N. here present for thy lawful wife, according to the rite of our Holy Mother the Church? ' The bridegroom having replied, "I will," the same question is put to the bride, who answers in similar words. The woman is then given away by her father or friend. The man "receives her to keep in God's faith and his own," and, holding her right hand in his, plights her his troth as follows:

"I, N., take thee, N., to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death us do part, if holy Church will it permit; and thereat I plight thee my troth."

It will be noticed that the troth plight is similar to that of the Established Church, but for the interpolation of the sentence italicised above and the omission of the promise " to love and to cherish."

No Mention of Obedience

The Roman Catholic Church, like the Salvation Army, reserves to itself the power of separating husband and wife should higher interests seem to demand it. The wife's troth plight is exactly similar to the husband's. There is no mention of the word "obey."

The priest then says to the couple, who stand with hands joined:

' I join you together in marriage, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."

He then sprinkles them with holy water. The bridegroom next puts on the book or on a salver gold and silver, which are presently to be delivered to the bride, and the ring which the priest blesses, saying some verses of supplication in Latin, followed by the prayer:

"Bless, O Lord, this ring which we bless in Thy name, that she who shall wear it may ever keep true faith unto her husband, and so, abiding in Thy peace and in obedience to Thy will, may ever live with him in love unchanging."

The Ritual of the Ring

The priest then sprinkles the ring with holy water in the form of a cross, and the bridegroom, receiving the ring at the priest's hands, gives the gold and silver to the bride, saying:

"With this ring I thee wed: this gold and silver I thee give: with my body I thee worship: and with all my worldly goods I thee endow."

He then places the ring on the thumb of the bride's left hand, saying:

"In the name of the Father (then on the second finger, saying): And of the son: (then on the third finger, saying): And of the Holy Ghost. (Lastly' on the fourth finger, saying): Amen."

The priest then prays:" Confirm that, O God, which Thou hast wrought in us." Following this with supplicatory sentences, some from the Lord's Prayer. A short prayer concludes the service, no nuptial blessing being given unless a Mass is said for the newly-married couple.

This Mass may be that given ordinarily on Sundays or great church festivals, with a Commemoration of the Mass for the bride and bridegroom and with the other prayers and the Blessing. But on other days the Votive Mass is said specially for the married couple. It is of great length. The prayer for the bride includes the following petitions:

"Let the yoke of love and of peace be upon her. Let her be lovely in the eyes of her husband, even as was Rachel; let her be wise, as was Rebecca; let her live long and be faithful, as was Sarah. Let the author of mischief have no part in any of her doings."

After the Communion the priest pronounces the nuptial blessing, and gives solemn exhortation to the married pair, sprinkling them with holy water.