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Our readers asked:

Can I have a Buddhist prayer said in my Catholic wedding?

Rev. Leo A. Walsh, S.T.D. Answers:

I’m sorry to tell you that this is not allowed. Catholic prayers are said at Catholic weddings; Buddhist prayers are said at Buddhist weddings.

The principle here is that one should always avoid the practice of “syncretism”; that is, the combination of the rites and prayers of various religious traditions into an amalgam which is truly expressive of none of them. Granted, there are some quite beautiful prayers in other religious traditions. At first glance it may seem like a good idea to try to include one in your ceremony. But experience has shown that it just doesn’t work. Trust me on this one. I’ve seen it tried.

Instead, use the very beautiful prayers that are already included in the Rite of Christian Marriage. There are many options for the various prayers which are said during the rite. Spend a lot of time going over them with the priest or deacon who will be performing the ceremony. You will be glad you did.

The Author : Rev. Leo A. Walsh, S.T.D.
The Rev. Leo A. Walsh, S.T.D., formerly the Interreligious Affairs specialist at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is now pastor of St. Benedict's Parish in Anchorage, Alaska. Photo Credit: Bob Roller, Catholic News Service (CNS).
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Julie Hagan Bloch

    That’s cool, Charles. It makes sense, too. To my mind, the less people insist on arbitrary rules and fuss about piddly differences, the more they’re in tune with Spirit.

  • Charles Regal,

    Jesus and Buddah are probably the best of friends with not territorial egos to prevent either one from allowing the Holy Spirit to blow as the wind where it pleases. Maybe you can’t say a Buddhist prayer in an man-made religion, but you can sure do so in a wedding conducted by the White Robed Monks of St. Benedict. Christ never denied anyone a sacrament, neither do they. Nor does Christ have a human ego. In my book, Christ and Buddah are both brothers and Sons of God, the Father.

  • Julie Hagan Bloch

    That’s not a very good answer.
    I’m asking about the rationale behind it.

  • SimplySadie

    Because it’s not a Christian prayer.

  • Julie Hagan Bloch

    Why not?

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