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Marriage in churches, now that is something with strong cultural differences. In some regions, everyone marries in a church, whatever their level, type or even existence of religiousity. Elsewhere there is both church and state wedding. At other places it is an either-or.

When I was a child on holiday at my grandparents, because my (atheist) parents wanted us to keep up a pretense, I had to go to church (Catholic, in a village of mostly assimilated Swabians [Germans immigrating c. 3 centuries ago]). In the one sermon I remember, in the first or second summer after the first free elections, the old priest was grumbling about couples or parents who come to him as if he'd ran some commercial service, wanting a wedding or baptism without any serious religious commitment. I could understand him.

This behavior has apperently become a permanent sore point for the priests. During the last two church weddings (and one of the funerals) I attended, half the priest's sermon was about the need of real religious commitment, which came across as patronising, furiously annoying holyrollerisms, but it was their church and their customs, so they had every right to insist.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Jan 31st, 2006 at 08:20:21 AM EST
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I had similar experiences of friends and relatives considering completely natural to have a church wedding not because of their religious beliefs, but because it was more celebrating an exceptional day by staging it in an exceptional place and "it is much more beautiful to have the pictures taken in a church" (!)
Some were genuinely surprised to learn that they needed a baptism certificate to be able to get married by a priest and accused the Church of being "obstructive".
In such a context, church wedding is often a commercial service, and even if it is not my case, I find it disrespectful for people who go to church out of genuine belief.

When through hell, just keep going. W. Churchill
by Agnes a Paris on Tue Jan 31st, 2006 at 08:51:13 AM EST
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