No secular poems in English Catholic marriage liturgies

Bishops in England and Wales are discouraging the reading of secular poems or non-biblical texts during marriage liturgies.

A new translation of the Order of Celebrating Matrimony will be used in England and Wales from Easter Sunday, 2016.

A new translation of the Order of Confirmation will also be introduced on that date.

In their the summary of the new translation of the Order of Celebrating Matrimony, the England and Wales bishops have included a section entitled: “Can I have my favourite poem?”

The document answers: “Every wedding liturgy is unique . . . It is also a celebration of the Church which means that the structure, texts and how the liturgy is celebrated are laid down.

“Any reading in the Liturgy of the Word should be taken from Scripture (the Bible) and cannot be replaced by another text.

“In a similar way any music played or sung should normally be taken from the Church’s long and living tradition of music.

“Texts should be expressive of the faith of Church.”

It concludes: “It is important to remember that the Marriage liturgy is one of a sequence of events that make up the whole of the Wedding Celebration.

“It is not therefore necessary that a favourite poem or song is included within the liturgy; it may be better placed within the wedding reception.”

Among the changes introduced for nuptial celebrations, the Catholic Herald reported, is the requirement that at least one of the readings must explicitly mention marriage, such as the account of the Wedding at Cana in John’s Gospel.

When marriage is celebrated within Mass, a Gloria will now be said or sung to mark the festivity of the occasion.

Under the new translation of the Order of Celebrating Matrimony is also a blessing for engaged couples and a blessing for married couples on their anniversary.


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