Click here to advertise on

Friend of the Groom...?

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jun 10, 2003

Our sporadically separated brethren have instituted a Rite for the Celebration of Gay and Lesbian Covenants, now available on the Church Times site. The ceremony is prefaced by some pseudo-legal throat clearing that borders on self-parody:

In order to request this Rite of Blessing each member of the couple must: a) be free to enter into such a covenant. That is, they must not be in an existing covenantal relationship, including marriage. b) Enter the rite with an understanding that the relationship is to be exclusive of any other partners and have the expectation of permanence. c) Satisfy the requirements of any previous relationship. This involves appropriate support of dependants from any previous relationship and the appropriate dissolution and meeting of obligations that arise from the same.

The theatrical solemnity of the nuptial rite wobbles on a kind of high wire. The inherently unstable logic of a gay marriage means the liturgical pastiche by which it is ritualized is in constant danger of tumbling into Monty Pythonesque farce. The double entendres pop irresistibly out of the velveteen prose:

Holy and Eternal One, in the quiet night you have called us each by our own name.
R. In our very heart you have named us beloved.

You surprise us by your grace.
R. We are the fruit of your boundless love.

On our exodus way you nourish and free us.
R. You give us companions for our journey., etc., etc.

One can imagine the concomitant atmospherics all too clearly: imperfectly suppressed giggles from the friends of the spouses and a strained effort at gladness on the part of their parents. Yet what shocked me in reading through the ceremony was less the inversion of the nuptial imagery than the sacrificial language in the Prayer over the Gifts:

Faithful God, with these gifts you offer us communion in your Servant, Jesus Christ. May we who celebrate this sacrament be filled with the same self-offering love made manifest in him. This we ask in Christ's name.

We've all become inured to ritual "camp" -- at least to some extent -- by the manners of ritualists. But to assimilate the action of Calvary to our own society's cowardice in the face of self-indulgence still has the sting of blasphemy.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($27,707 to go):
$150,000.00 $122,292.96
18% 82%
Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on

Recent Catholic Commentary

Another side of Francis: US-Cuba role shows Pope's diplomatic muscle 9 hours ago
Silly season: a Christmas approaches, a scholar questions whether Jesus ever existed 10 hours ago
The intrinsic immorality of torture: still not convinced? 15 hours ago
The Complexity of Reforming Religious Communities December 17
Speaking Softly to Women Religious December 16

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25
Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch sign joint declaration, lament persecution of Christians CWN - December 1
Consistory for new cardinals scheduled for February CWN - December 11
Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment CWN - December 16
Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties CWN - December 17