Monday, March 12, 2012

Catholic Marriages

Doing a good thing for the wrong reasons is very common. A Korean secular paper thought it newsworthy to discuss the reasons for the popularity of Catholic Church weddings. According to the article, the desire of many to have their marriage ceremony in a Catholic Church motivates them to be baptized, not the best of reasons for becoming a Catholic.

Old churches with a colorful history and beautiful exteriors are especially attractive to those planning marriage, and entice a few to join the Church before marriage. There are so many marriages planned that in some churches, on special days, there is a drawing of lots. This past November, 200 showed up to determine the order of marriages in the Cathedral parish in Seoul, and in some parishes dates are booked to the end of the year.

We are told that a reason for this is that many entertainers have added to this popularity by having their own marriages celebrated in these churches. When a famous movie star picks one of the churches, there are many fans of the star who will do the same. The popularity of church weddings has even prompted the business world to have 'chapel halls,' which try to imitate the atmosphere of the churches.

Problems connected with the recent financial depression have added to the popularity of church weddings. Churches are cheaper than the marriage halls, and the meals are cheaper compared to the meals at a hotel. However, the article goes on to give another important reason for their popularity.

Catholic marriages require that instructions be given to the couple, with an interview before the wedding. To have time to prepare for the marriage and be concerned not only with externals is another plus, giving the participants a feeling of being cared for. In many of the marriage halls, however, there is often a marriage every half hour, which gives the couple a feeling of being rushed and their welfare of not much importance.

Another strong point: in churches, the bride and groom are center stage and not the officiator; the congregation is there to pray for the couple and to congratulate them. There are, however, certain limitations when one has a church wedding: it is not as boisterous as the marriage hall, nor as free to do what the couple and their guests want, and photographers have certain rules to follow. But it is clear that these are minor considerations that are not preventing many to seek the more significant church wedding as the couple begins their life together. It is hoped that though the motivation for having a church wedding may not have been the best, the blessings received may be sufficient to inspire them in the days to come with a love for the Church.