Church rejects ‘personal vows’ in wedding rites

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Archbishop Socrates Villegas (CBCPNews photo)

MANILA, Jan. 4, 2016— The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has clarified that couples cannot write their own Catholic wedding vows.

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP President, said the Rite of Marriage does not provide an option for couples to publicly express their love in their own words.

Responding to queries from some couples preparing for their weddings, he said that personal spiritual expressions “should not be mixed with the liturgies of the Church.

“Mixing personal pious devotions with the liturgy could confuse, remove or diminish the focus of the action of Christ Himself in the liturgical action. The liturgy is not ours to change at whim,” Archbishop Villegas said.

He stressed that the regulation of the “sacred liturgy” depends solely on the Vatican and in limited cases, to the bishops’ conferences.

“Hence, no other person, not even a priest may add, remove or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority,” he said, citing a provision from Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.

“Based on these norms, the idea of pronouncing personal vows inserted within the wedding liturgy must not be allowed,” Archbishop Villegas added.

Some couples like to write their own vows to express their love for one another more personally.

According to the prelate, one option for couple who want to publicly express their love in their own word would be to read it at the wedding reception.

“Let us not compromise the sacred character of the wedding rites on the altar of romanticism,” Archbishop Villegas said. (R. Lagarde/CBCPNews)

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