New guy here. See my hello post in the water cooler!
I am looking for advice regarding marriage between a catholic (me) and a presbyterian (my girlfriend). We have been together nearly 2 years, are very much in love, and have been discussing marriage in the near future. I am practising, but my g/f is not.
She has no problem with my Catholicism, but when discussing marriage - what kind of service we would have etc - I sometimes think she is under pressure through having to deal with her family and friends (mostly CoS) on one hand, and me on the other.
I think some issues are arising due to the fact that Catholicism and the CoS haven't enjoyed the most pleasant history together, although relations are now very cordial and warm. There is a long history of fierce anti-Catholicism in Scotland, and so many people still have a derogatory and innaccurate view of Catholics and their traditions.
Anyway, my wonderful g/f is quite happy to get married in a Catholic Church and for any children we have to be Catholic. The debates comes when talking about how to make everyone feel welcome at our ceremony (because I have a very small family, the irony is that the vast majority of attendees at this Catholic wedding will not be Catholic).
Some of the issues seem to be:
1) Wedding Ceremony vs Nuptial Mass.
I would like to take communion on my wedding day. However, presbyterians - due to difference in belief - would not be given communion in a Catholic Church. This is a problem.
While getting communion (or not) is based purely on belief, I think in some quarters there is the perception that Catholics deny other Christians commumion because "they are not good enough". Which is obviously ridiculous, but this impression harks back to the difficult history I mentioned above.
I explained that non-Catholics can still go up and receive a blessing, in place of communion, but my g/fs reaction seemed to indicate this is regarded as a patronising alternative to communion (whereas, I see it as an inclusive gesture).
Ultimately, I am willing to compromise on this one. I dont want anyone to feel excluded at the wedding. I have been thinking that a Wedding Ceremony would maybe be better, given it would be the minority of people taking communion anyway (as stated my family is very small).
(BTW - if we did have a wedding ceremony, what are the chances of tacking bits of the mass on - except communion - to make it a bit more "mass like"? Eg adding a sung Credo III / Gloria / Kyrie etc. Might that be possible, or not?)
One point is - I regard giving up communion on my wedding day to be quite a large compromise on my part. I do not know if my g/f appreciates this fully, and may think this is just another minor issue resolved.
I normally attend a sung mass, and so for me its normal to have a latin choir. I would want this at our wedding too - I find our tradtitional latin music to be beautiful, engaging and very moving. However, one of my g/fs friends had said she thought choirs were "ostentatious".
Traditionally, prebyterians have jokingly been portrayed as dour, humourless people. So, while I was shocked to hear the above, I do actually understand where its coming from - some of them probably do genuinely regard choirs as unnecessary and flashy.
So, how to deal with these differing perceptions? Anything in our ceremony will be included because its important to one or both of us - its not to show off, or impress anyone.
Should we just ignore this and do what makes us happy, and if anyone has a problem - well, its their problem?
3) Participation of both demoninations
Its important that both families are involved in the ceremony, and no-one is seen to dominate. To this end we will have people from both families doing readings, helping as ushers etc.
The idea of having a presbyterian minister participate has come up a few times. I do not have a problem with this on the face of it, but I do wonder how it would work in practice.
The CoS weddings I have been to, have been very quick (15- 20 mins) and very informal (like a conversation in the pub). The most recent one, the minister wore a kilt (a garment which I dislike and think is very innappropriate for a church) and was very familiar with the congregation, cracking jokes during the service etc.
I know some people prefer that type of environment - which is their preogative, of course - but, for me, it is a complete anathema. The minister seemed more like a stand up comic, than a clergyman, joking away throughout. For me, there was no sense of formality or respect, no sense that two people we committing their lives together, or that we were in the house of God.
(I realise this is back to perceptions again - others would likely have enjoyed the way that marriage was conducted. Equally, some people probably find Catholic formality to be dull or off putting).
And so, I wonder how a minister might fit in, up on the altar, casually dressed, with a priest and altar servers in traditonal garb. I think he* would be like a fish out water to be honest. (*The CoS has female clergy also - dunno how that would go down!).
Is this a silly thing to worry about? What are your experiences? I do understand that its important that my girlfriends family background and identity is reflected in the service, and so want to explore all options. I do not want anyone to feel overlooked or left out.
Well, I guess I will leave it there for now. Sorry for the massive post.
Id be very grateful for any thoughts or shared experiences.