- 6 years ago
- Wedding: July 2013 - UK
Right… so here is my issue. I am a non-Conformist. My family are all non-Conformists of various denominations, and I come from a long line of pastors. FI’s family are uber-Catholic. Fiance said his Mum really wanted us to get married in a Catholic church. I said fine… as long as we are married in church, I couldn’t care less. But then the issue of mass came up. I would have love love loved more than anything for both families to take Communion/Mass together. I think it would have been a wonderful show of shared faith. I also know that lots of priests do allow practising, baptised Christians of any denomination to take mass (despite the fact it is strictly forbidden). I know this because my stepmum’s family is also Catholic, so I know the tricks…
Anyway, Fiance has said before that he can’t stand the idea of non-Catholics receiving Catholic Mass, so I have never done this either without him or with him (which has been a source of considerable sorrow for me, actually… I know I could convert to Catholicism, but there are many reasons I am unwilling to do this… it’s really not for me). I would have also loved to take Mass with him on our wedding day. However, I would not be willing to do this if my family could not take it with me.
Therefore, I suggested to FIs family a while back that we could have an Ecumenical Communion early on the morning of the wedding, or the day before, where we just turn up in jeans and t-shirts and have something informal where everyone takes communion together. That way, people wouldn’t feel bad if we have a Catholic Mass later, and I got dispensation to receive Mass. This shouln’t technically be an issue, as Catholics do not see Ecumenical Communion as valid. So if it is meaningless to them, then what’s the big deal? I suggested this to FIs family. They were horrified. To be fair, I also concluded later that you shouldn’t participate in religious rites which have no meaning for you, so they were right to bin the idea (but for the wrong reasons, IMHO).
OK, now I have a problem. FIs family said that my side could recieve a blessing instead. Only they can’t, because blessings are only for children and the unbaptised in my family’s tradition (we practise adult baptism), so technically it is slighhtly insulting to my most religious of family members. I tried to explain this nicely and was laughed off and dismissed with “that’s ridiculous! Of course it’s not an insult!” etc. This irritated me, actually, although I tried not to show it… I never implied that it was a deliberate slur (which of course it is not, and was never meant to be), just that a little sensitivity towards people’s feelings from everyone involved might be appreciated.
So what now? Well, now I search through the Catechism and Rites books for an answer. And there it is… a Wedding Ceremony without mass. Not ideal, as I wanted everyone to receive Mass rather than nobody, but… it’s a good second best and won’t offend anyone (or so I thought…). HOORAY!!!! PRAISE THE LORD ETC. We could even have a Mass the day before for the Catholic side, and I would be a good girl and take my blessing instead of mass. I even promise to smile beautifically and be super-polite throughout. Scouts honour.
This is apparently even the PREFERRED option for Catholic/non-Catholic marriage, according to the rite book! Even better! Minimum hassle and the Priest will be on my side! Problem solved! Or so I thought… because I happened to mention this to Future Mother-In-Law the other day… I asked if she thought I could add a few more readings (preferably Gospel readings) and prayers to the set order of service to lengthen it and provide more time for reflection, and she was horrified that I didn’t want a mass and said that it wouldn’t be a real wedding. Fortunately, we then changed the topic of conversation…
I felt physically sick. I don’t want to fight with anyone. But I honestly feel that I can’t compromise any more than I have already (especially in a situation where the other party feels that there can be no compromise at all). I feel terrible. I feel terrible for her, as well. I spoke to Fiance and he acted like it was no big deal. He said “well, if that’s the preferred option in the rites book, then why not have it?”. The thing is, her wanting mass is an emotional response which isn’t going to be shifted by reason (although she will doubtless justify it thus), and people don’t like to compromise their religious beliefs, which I understand. It’s just that… when I say “I respect your position, even though I neither understand nor share it” then I mean it… and…
I seriously think that this will be far and away the number one issue of conflict in the whole wedding. Does anyone with strong Catholic convictions have any idea how I can try and placate her? I’ve considered having her read etc (and she doubtless will have a big say on other aspects of the ceremony, as the MOG should do, IMHO), but that’s not a solution for the whole thing. If I say “readings” etc, she’ll just feel like I took her cake away and gave her a breath mint, so to speak. I already quickly brought up the idea of a mass the day before. She was unimpressed.