What’s Wrong with the World

The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.


What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Royal Wedding

Say this for the British. They are getting a very old (and long repudiated by most Britons) lecture in the Christian idea of marriage. A cutaway to Elton John and his lover in the midst of a phrase from the Book of Common Prayer about marriage being purposed toward “the increase of mankind” leaves something hanging in the air, as it were. A Pauline declaration about those children of increasing mankind being raised in the “fear and admonition of the Lord” cannot but make many viewers uncomfortable, if reflected upon. It clashes emphatically with the trivial pop-culture enthusiasms from the TV anchors.

The Anglican Church abandoned the first proposition 80 years ago; and Western Civilization has hurried to abandon to latter ever since; the revolt is now nearly complete, as witnessed by the lawless impudence of Western youth.

But even in great decline the old formalism of the English Monarchy has a power, and even a Christian power, which is very easy to underrate.

Comments (9)

Well, once I heard that she was cutting "obey," I started to wonder what-all of the 1662 marriage service they are keeping. I really don't know. Perhaps that's the only change. If so, that combined with the other bit of gossip to the effect that W. is giving K. a wedding ring but not vice versa is rather amusing and shows that the young couple is more than a bit clueless about liturgy. The whole asymmetry whereby the man says, "With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow" but the woman does not say all this to him, is part and parcel of a distinction between the sexes represented by her promising to obey him but not vice versa. But I suppose one can't expect them to know that.

"Obey" was dropped.

The first two admonitions were toned down - the first slightly, the second substantially.

1662: "First, It was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name."

2011: "First, It was ordained for the increase of mankind, according to the will of god, and that children might be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name."

1662: "Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ's body."

2011: "Secondly, it was ordained in order that the natural instincts and affections implanted by God should be hallowed and directed aright, that those who are called by God to this holy estate should continue therein in pureness of living."


Also this:

1662: "With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."

2011: "With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee honor, and all my worldly goods with thee I share: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."

Thanks, Keith R. Those are rather strange down-tonings. The concepts appear to be the same, though not exactly. For example, the reference to fornication as "sin" is eliminated, though the general notion seems to re-emerge in the phrase "directed aright." Altogether an odd set of liturgical innovations--almost pointless, except to make things in some very vague sense sound less "harsh."

The dropping of "obey," of course, is substantive.

Aha. Sharing his worldly good instead of endowing them. Very interesting.

You know, I have a guess, based (of all things) on a passage in Sayers's _Busman's Honeymoon_. I think that these changes come from a text of the marriage service proposed and rejected by Parliament in the late 1920's or early 1930's in Britain. When Peter and Harriet are going to get married (set in 1935), Peter's tactless sister-in-law, the Duchess, presents them with a new form of the marriage service, which they make jokes about and of course do not use. It seems to have these very same differences. For example, Lord Peter jokes that he wouldn't have the gift of continence as a gift and doesn't care who knows it. In the end we are told that Peter agreed to be obeyed (Peter had showed a bit of Sayers's feminism about the inclusion of "obey" in the bride's vow) on condition that he might "endow" and not "share" his worldly goods, which Peter's mother calls, with humor, a triumph of sentiment over principle.

Before pronouncing them man and wife, the Archbishop of Canterbury joined their right hands together and said: Those whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder.

With 'senior' members of the royal family, Charles, Andrew, and Anne (all divorced) sitting in reserved seats nearest to the altar, those solemn words seemed a little surreal.

To be fair, isn't the British liturgy unique in it's inclusion of "to obey" amongst the vows?

I've just stumbled across this site and I'm not sure if I'm amused or appalled. The vows this posting refers to are just the ideas of a few Calvinist reformers of the 1500s--they made them up, they didn't get them in a prophetic vision. And only the English even bother with elaborate vows. They are a remnant of the old Sarum liturgy that included vows for the couple in the vernacular, largely unheard of outside England until recently.

The old pre-Vatican 2 Catholic vows were barely a sentence. Orthodox Christians never had vows of any sort at all--the priest effected the marriage, and the couple just stood there as it happened. (You will hear vows at modern Orthodox weddings, but that is just a nod to American practice.) So any interpretation of this or that vow as being more or less Christian than previous generations is simply absurd.

The bit about having (two rings) is also utterly absurd. All Western European weddings call for one ring only, and as the liturgies clearly state. Jewelers in the United States started pitching the idea of the "double-ring ceremony" in the late 19th century, in order to make more money. I'm old enough to remember when newspaper announcements actually included the phrase "double-ring ceremony", because it was not a universal practice. My grandmother and her sister thought the second ring was commercial nonsense at its worst, since they, of course, had not been married that way. Double-rings are found all over the place now, but I'd have a low opinion of Christianity if I thought that a commercial advertising campaign of the 1890s was a cornerstone of my beliefs.

By way of comparison, Orthodox Christians exchange rings as part of the betrothal; the symbolic bits of jewelry in the actual wedding are the crowns.

It's very easy to see the end of the world in every little detail of life that doesn't go exactly the way you want it to. But the royal wedding seems like a sad place indeed to look for the end civilization.

Well, you're not very good at reading, because nobody in this thread thought that not having two rings is or was a bad thing. At all. In fact, my own point in bringing up one ring vs. two is that it actually marks an asymmetry between the sexes in the 1662 liturgy, though the elimination of "obey" in the 1928 revision is an attempt to tone down the asymmetry between the sexes.

Nobody was seeing anything as the end of civilization, either, or the end of the world. The main post is largely positive. Other comments were largely chatty. The only really substantive change discussed was the dropping of "obey," obviously an early feminist move, borrowed from the 1928 liturgy. This historical dropping of "obey" from the marriage liturgy is a mildly bad thing simply because of the cultural factors it indicates and because feminism is wrong (and because lex orandi, lex credendi), but nobody was getting really worked up about it in the royal wedding, even so.

As for having vows at all, the Roman Catholic view (which I as a Protestant am inclined to concur with) is that the man and woman being married are the actual ministers of the Sacrament of marriage. That is a substantive theological view which means that the priest does _not_ "make" the marriage. A couple on a desert island can, in principle, get married with no one else around. This would seem to be rather consonant with there being _some_ kind of vow or promise or commitment involved, but of course the exact form that takes will be highly culturally variable, and I doubt anyone involved in this thread ever thought vows needed to be "elaborate."

In short, nobody was saying what you thought anyone was saying, so you could save yourself the trouble of wondering whether to be amused or appalled.

Post a comment

Bold Italic Underline Quote

Note: In order to limit duplicate comments, please submit a comment only once. A comment may take a few minutes to appear beneath the article.

Although this site does not actively hold comments for moderation, some comments are automatically held by the blog system. For best results, limit the number of links (including links in your signature line to your own website) to under 3 per comment as all comments with a large number of links will be automatically held. If your comment is held for any reason, please be patient and an author or administrator will approve it. Do not resubmit the same comment as subsequent submissions of the same comment will be held as well.