I hear these terms thrown around all the time and I dont quite follow what they mean or what the differences are… especially now in the agnlican communion wiht debates over blessing homosexual union but not making it a sacrament (whats the difference?). I have been told in medieval times they would have the ceremony on the churhc door step then go in and have the marriage blessed before God… i just dont understand the dichotomy made between the two. What is a blessing and what is a sacrament… are they not in the same ceremony?
People who haven’t been married in the church sometimes talk about having their marriage “blessed.” That’s not actually the correct term. What they do is have it convalidated. In other words, they go through the steps to make their marriage valid in the Catholic Church.
Here’s how the US bishops have stated it:
Convalidation (sometimes referred to as validation) can be performed in instances in which a couple who was civilly married acknowledges that they are not in a valid marriage and seeks to regularize their union within the Church. A convalidation is not simply a renewal of the previous intention to marry but the creation of a valid marriage in the sight of the Christian community. [usccb.org/laity/marriage/mpanalysis.shtml]](http://www.usccb.org/laity/marriage/mpanalysis.shtml])
Once the marriage is convalidated, assuming both parties are Christian, it is then a sacramental marriage.
I will add that, in some cases, it may need to be proven that both parties are free to marry prior to a convalidation, depending on their circumstances.
What the Anglicans are proposing is NOT the same thing as what the terms mean in the Catholic Church.
The term “getting a marriage blessed” is, as has been pointed out, inaccurate. Someone who is married outside the Church-- for whatever reason-- who wishes to rectify that can seek to have their marriage convalidated. The result of a convalidation for two baptized persons is a sacramental marriage.
The Sacrament of Marriage is any valid marriage between two baptized persons. Two baptized persons can contract a valid, sacramental marriage by following the guidelines of the Church and being married in the Church.
In former times, and still in some countries, the civil portion of marriage is separate from the religious portion of marriage. In some places people must marry both civilly and religiously because the priest is not authorized to marry the couple in the eyes of the state.
In medieval times, there was a distinction between the civil contract of marriage and the religious sacrament of marriage.
“Getting a marriage blessed” usually means a marriage outside of Church rubrics without dispensation being made “regular.” It is still the Sacrament of Marriage. If a Catholic couple ran off to Vegas and got married without asking for dispensation to have a marriage outside of the rites of the Church, then repented of it, they would “have the marriage blessed”. If a partner in a marriage outside the Church needed a decree of nullity, and got one, the couple could then “have the marriage blessed” receiving the Sacrament of Marriage.
It is just like the term “standing up” for somebody. “I stood up for Sarah’s baby when she was baptized.” No, you were the godparent. It’s a casual term that’s taken on another meaning someplace else.
I’m still a bit confussed. It sounds like getting a marriage blessed is the steps one takes after they have been married outside of the church (in the hopes of making it a valid sacramental union)… but the arugment from england is different. I have always heard we bless dogs, houses, cars, etc… so why not homosexual unions. What sort of ‘blessing’ is this then?
I don’t think it’s correct to assume that “blessing” equals “convalidation” (or validation).
“Blessing” is a pretty broad term… Lots of parishes have a little blessing of marriage ceremony as part of a St. Valentine’s Day celebration for married couples. Dioceses have blessings as part of masses for all the couples celebrating 50th anniversaries. There are renewal of marriage vows for all sorts of reasons – anniversaries, reconciliations after separations, even new wedding bands. So, in fact, we have lots of opportunities where we bless married people for lots of big and little reasons. As others have pointed out, we bless all sorts of things, some related to sacraments, some not. Simply deciding that other people discussing one thing are really talking about something else is not really helpful as far as communication goes.
As for the notion that you could bless the unions of homosexuals, or adulterers, without calling the unions sacraments, and that would somehow “solve” the problem, well, that is utterly clueless. We don’t bless sinful behavior, or call it sacramental, for exactly the same reason – it’s sinful!
That is how I use it. I was married civilly. I tell people that we had our marriage blessed. In reality, we had a convalidation. Believe me, if people don’t understand a marriage being blessed, they do NOT understand a convalidation.
Of course it is “different”. It is completely nonsensical.
We bless people and objects for a variety of reasons. In the case of sacred objects such as bibles, rosaries, candles, churches, etc, it is to make the holy-- sacramentals-- to set them apart for use in the liturgy and devotions. In the case of a domicile, it is to bless and protect from harm.
Priest bestow a blessing upon a person to invoke God’s grace upon them.
Because we cannot invoke God’s grace upon an objectively disordered, gravely sinful act.
To “bless” the “homosexual union” is a calling forth of God’s blessing upon their actions as homosexuals a living together in a sexual relationship.
Let’s come up with a blessing for robbers before they break into stores, murderers before they pull the trigger, couples who want to live together or abort their baby. It’s nonsensical-- blessing sins. It’s an oxymoron.
A blessing from a Church with a female “priest” who claims she can be both a Christian and a Muslim.
The Anglican Communion has devolved into complete and utter bedlam. The words they use no longer have meaning.