Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Exhortation before marriage ...

Don Jim posts the full text of the Exhortation before marriage that was used in the Roman Rite before the reforms. Well, live and learn! I had no idea! It's really beautiful ... why was it dropped, I wonder?

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assiniboine said...

It is indeed splendid. Even better (because couched in plain but literate contemporary English) than the magnificent corresponding introduction in the 1662 Prayer Book. (Which you may not actually know so I quote it below). I do think that contemporary liturgies seriously underrate the capacity of the people in the pews to manage with beautiful, poetic and pregnant-with-meaning language, especially when it is often repeated. (But then one could say the same of Latin for the ordinary of the Mass, eh?) What IS so obscure about "and thereto I plight thee my troth" anyway? One of the items on the agenda for pre-marriage counselling and confirmation classes used to be explaining such things, after all.

DEARLY beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man's innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church; which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence, and first miracle that he wrought, in Cana of Galilee; and is commended of Saint Paul to be honourable among all men: and therefore is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men's carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God; duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.
First, It was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.
Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ's body.
Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity. Into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. Therefore if any man can shew any just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace.

Gashwin said...

Oh lord ... I love the language of the BCP. One of the frequent laments I hear from those who've swum the Tiber is just how much they miss good liturgical language.

What ICEL has served us with is utter balderdash!

Don't get me started.

St. Elizabeth of Cayce said...

I once found myself, the night before my sister's wedding, writing out in longhand on hotel stationary the BCP wedding ceremony (as much as I could recall in a pre-wired world) because the officiant they'd hired had not brought with him anything to say.

We discovered this deficit during the rehearsal--as good a reason to have one as I've ever experienced.

The BCP language is lovely--as is the "old" exhortation to couples. Maybe we'll use something like it for our 25th...

pretty sure I didn't write "betwixt" into the ceremony.