Busted Halo
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April 19th, 2009

Why Can’t We Get Married On The Beach?

The Princess, The Priest and the War for the Perfect Wedding Episode 3

by and Dr. Christine B. Whelan & Fr. Eric Andrews CSP


Episode #3 Why Can’t We Get Married On The Beach?”
(Please note: due to some technical issues encountered while recording,
portions of Fr. Eric’s video and audio are slightly distorted.) 

Dr. Christine B. Whelan, is an Iowa-based social historian, professor, journalist and author. She is the author of Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to True Love, and Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women.

Fr. Eric Andrews CSP is the pastor of Blessed John XXIII parish, which serves as the Catholic campus ministry for the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Prior to entering the priesthood, he worked for Jim Henson and the Muppets on a variety of television productions.

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  • Cynthia

    What an awesome series. Great job producers.

  • Rev. Scott

    Hey – what happened to my comment?

  • Stuart Wilson-Smith

    I absolutely think it’s the Holy nature of the ceremony Courtney and I think it comes down to what sacraments are all about. If a sacrament is the visible, physical manifestation of an invisible reality so too is the Church the physical presence of a united body of believers, who through their Baptism and sharing in the Eucharistic sacrifice form the Body of Christ. In our reception of the Body and Blood of our Lord in the Eucharist we are brought most intimately too Him, and henceforth live out that otherwise ‘invisible’ unity in the most profound way possible. In the ‘one flesh’ union of sacramental marriage the unity of the spouses is likewise proclaimed, lived, and sealed. Of course we could go deeper but as I think Father Andrews and many others have tried to explain, it is difficult at times to integrate that focus and appreciation of the sacred meaning of the marital covenant into the marriage preparation process amidst the many other tasks on the checklist. I suppose that’s why an honest discussion of these issues is so appropriate for all those with lingering questions about Catholic marriage. I’m certainly no expert, but I sure love talking about it!

  • Courtney D.

    I’m really enjoying this series. I think the above commentator makes an interesting point too about God ‘setting apart’ certain places and you can really get that sense from several parts of the Bible. Going over again the verses my husband and I chose for our wedding day it is interesting to see them in that light. I used to feel like marriage was some kind of ‘lesser’ vocation but I guess part of the whole reason why we celebrate it in a Church is because it is so Holy and so important to God.

  • Stuart Wilson-Smith

    Excellent third episode. Great to see such an open and honest discussion about something so frequently talked about!

    In respect to the question of why we can’t just be married anywhere, I think also of the special respect and reverence God holds in scripture for His house, as in Isaiah 56: 7-8 and repeated also by the words and actions of Christ in Matthew 21:13. As Matthew is not the only gospel author to record this incident where Christ becomes enraged over the illicit activities in the Temple, it seems evident that the writers felt it important to convey that Jesus believed in the ‘setting apart’ of the house of worship for those things which pertain in a very special way to God and to the community of believers.

    I sincerely don’t believe the norm of celebrating the sacrament of marriage in a church is in any way to degrade the beauty and sacredness of the rest of the world, or even for that matter to say that God is indeed not everywhere, rather the ceremony realizes in a very special way that just as the grounds of the church are holy, marriage too is something ‘set apart’ by God, and our communal gathering as a Catholic family to witness that sacrament in a place of honor and exaltation reminds us of that ultimate reality to which marital union is such a profound symbol.

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