Lagura: Marriage-A A +A
In the service of the Word
Saturday, October 6, 2012
THE marriage of Bong, a scion of a well-known family and a gifted musician to boot, and Yvonne, a beautiful heiress from Bacolod, was hailed as the wedding of the year, if not of the decade. Twenty pairs of well-heeled businessmen, professionals and politicians were present as wedding sponsors. A bishop, with 10 priest concelebrating, solemnized the wedding. With such entourage everybody expected the couple to “live happily ever after,” as the fairytale goes.
However, such was not the case. Less than a year later, the young bride filed for separation, then annulment--but not divorce which is not permitted to Catholics. Her reason: the groom, a talented musician as earlier mentioned, spent most of the night playing the violin leaving his beautiful bride lonely and cold in bed.
The girl’s petition for annulment was granted, and many erroneously thought that the Church allowed divorce in her case. It was not divorce which is defined as the dissolution for some reasons of a valid marriage between husband and wife together with the possibility of the divorced party or parties to remarry. Such was not the case with Bong and Yvonne.
The Church permits or grants annulment of a marriage mainly on the failure or absence of two important provisions for a valid sacrament of marriage, namely
1) the marriage is ratified, that is there were witnesses and documents as proofs thereto
2) the marriage is consummated, that is the husband and wife are really united, in soul and in body.
This was not the case in this otherwise model of a wedding; no real marriage ever took place. In brief, even though there was ratification there was no coming together of the husband “cleaving to his wife” in body and soul.
When the Jews asked the Lord what his teaching was on marriage and, more importantly, whether he--like Moses of old--would allow divorce, Jesus took them back to the ideal of marriage which God had planned, saying, “From the beginning of creation God made them male and female(hence, no “same-sex marriage!) For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife. And they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two but one flesh.”(Mark 10:6 & 7) Divorce is explicitly excluded when Jesus adds, “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”(Mark 10:9)
When the key elements, namely of being ratified, that is the marriage is blessed and acknowledged by God through the ministry of the priest who stands for the Church, the body of Christ, and, equally important, when the husband and wife are united in body as well as in soul, then it is a valid sacrament of marriage. No annulment can ever be granted. Separation of “bed and board” is still possible, as in cases of infidelity of a partner, but with the intention and prayer for repentance and forgiveness. The Church does not allow divorce as Moses did to the hard-hearted Jews.
The month of October is good month for weddings. It is close to blessed season of Christmas. Of note, too, is the devotion we have to Our Blessed Mother, for October is dedicated to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. We, then, pray and entrust to Our Lady Christian marriages that they be made holy and that married couples, as they vow to each other on the day they get married, remain faithful and true for always.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 07, 2012.