Where did the marriage vows originate from?

:confused: I am studying the Theology of the Body-- one of JPII’s encyclicals and the discussion of renewing one’s marriage vows through the conjugal act was discussed.

We also had some insight on this in regard to singles aspiring to the marriage vocation and what kind of person to be as well as to seek.

So where did the marriage vows derive from? We are all familiar with how Christopher West presents the “the free, total, faithful, fruitful” and the relation the conjugal act has to Christ and the Church as well as the wedding vows.

Are the wedding vows still being said through out all the churches in the same way? Have they changed through time? Are they Biblically based and where?

As far as I have seen many Catholics have made up wedding vows–is this allowed without also including the traditional vows? Is this even discussed in Catholic Precana?

In this time where marriage has been degraded–the vows and covenant of the sacrament mean the world–“literally”

please give me as much information as possible about this–the orgin of the vows, the establishment of the covenant and the intertwine aspect the vows, the conjugal act, the Eucharist and Christ and the Church have between each other.

Thank you,

Paula

What you asking us to do is to do your research for you. But, you can find these things yourself online. Try these links:

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Catholic Encyclopedia

Papal Encyclicals

Scripture Catholic

All the best in your efforts. Let us know what you find! :slight_smile:

In the USA there is a choice of two wedding vows. The standard is:

“I, N., take you, N., to be my wife. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.”

OR "In the dioceses of the United States, the following form may also be used:

“I, N., take you, N., for may lawful wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”

(From The Rites Volume One, Liturgical Press, 1990, ISBN 0-8146-6015-0, page 727.)

The vows can be asked as questions with with an “I do.” According to the The Rites “If pastoral necessity demands it, the conference of bishops may decree, in virtue of the faculty in no. 17, that the priest should always obtain the consent of the couple through questions.”

The Introduction to the rite (or “praenotanda”) does not give permission for individual couples to make up their own wedding vows. It has a section “PREPARATION OF LOCAL RITUALS” but this has “Decisions on this matter are to be reviewed by the Apostolic See.” A foreseen adapation is “13. The formularies of the Roman Ritual may be adapted or, as the case may be, supplemented (including the questions before the consent and the actual words of consent).”

“17. Each conference of bishops may draw up its own marriage rite suited to the usages of the place and people and approved by the Apostolic See.”

I am curious in learning this too as in the Byzantine Church there are no vows.

Why did one tradition develope vows another didn’t?

Where in the marriage vows does it talk about being open to children.

Through JPII’s Theology of the Body—I was taught the marriage vows asks the following question and I am paraphrasing
In general though the question are suppose to reflect Christ-the Bridegroom and the Church (the Bride)

Freely—Do you come to take this person as your lawfully wedded husband/wife freely–on you own accord as—As Christ did when he laid down his life for the Church

Total—Do you give your self totally to you spouse in marriage
which includes one’s fertility as well as other aspects of the person. There is nothing hidden —As Christ gave us his body, blood, soul and divinity when he died on the cross for his church.

Faithful–Do you promise to be faithful to your spouse–Until death do you part—As Christ said, he will not forsake or leave us

Fruitful–Are you open to life and lovingly bringing children into the world—As through Christ’s death and resurrection we receive–the Holy Spirit (the fruit of this act), the Eucharist, and Eternal life.

As I was taught every time your engage in the conjugal act with your spouse you are renewing your wedding vows

I was previously engaged and the wedding was called off–I went to an excellent pre-cana --Three to Get Married. But this was never discussed at all.

Also, I have been to several Catholic Weddings and do not remotely hear this being asked of the couple. Nor do most Catholic couples know this—What is happening??? Why is something so important as the vows and what they mean not being taught?

I am wondering if this is why many marriages are failing

Thanks,
P :confused: :confused:

Where in the marriage vows does it talk about being open to children.

Paula,

Openness to children is a fundamental part of marriage itself. Canon 1055 §1: “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, which is ordered by its nature toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring . . .”

The law of the Church presumes that the parties have been suitably and correctly catechized about marriage, and that each intends to marry properly, that is according to the Church’s doctrine on marriage (canon 1063) In the prenuptial investigation, each is asked under oath about the intention regarding children (see canons 1066 and 1067).

So this is contained in the very exchange of marital consent in any of the approved forms of the vows.

Moreover, in the Latin rite, each party is asked to declare his or her intentions prior to the exchange of consent.

The third question regards the acceptance and upbringing of children: “Will you accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?” Presumably, if a party says no, the ceremony could not continue. The question may be omitted if, for example, the couple is advanced in years.

Whether or not the parties have been suitably catechized and do intend the good of children properly, is a significant question, of course. Whether they tell the truth during the prenuptial investigation and each other is another.

Since marriage is a sacrament that belongs to the Church and not the individuals who enter it, it would be considered against the law of the Church as well as highly imprudent for any cleric to allow a couple to cobble their vows. Further, these self written vows can often lead to the invalid exchange of marital consent.

John,

I have been to several Catholic marriages and have not heard the question asked about being open to life. I usually hear do you take this man/woman to be your lawfully wedded wife/husband, to have and to hold to this day…I do not even think they say till death do you part anymore.

I know I could look up the marriage vows in The Catechism of the the Catholic church but what are we really saying? If marriage is in such a flux, as well, shouldn’t the vows be discussed in detail at a Catholic precana?

PS Do you know the exact marriage vows?

Thanks,

Paula

Also, as per John L —top thread, the question about children is not mentioned in the vows.

P

[quote=paula Cross]Also, as per John L —top thread, the question about children is not mentioned in the vows.

P
[/quote]

The questions are during the ceremony, before the vows. From the Rite of Marriage:

"The following question may be omitted if, for example, the couple is advanced in years.

**Will you accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church? **

Each answers the questions separately."

(From The Rites Volume One, Liturgical Press, 1990, ISBN 0-8146-6015-0, page 726).

Paula, you raise a number of important issues well, and it is right to be concerned about them in today’s culture. Not only is openness to children under assault, but the permanence or indissolubility of marriage as well. Even Catholics seem to believe that marriage is merely a human or civil institution that can be dissolved at will and defined under our own terms.

I can only state how the Church wants marriage to be solemnized when a wedding is celebrated in the Catholic Church according to the Latin Rite. It is sad that people take liberties with this. As canon 838 §1 says, “The direction of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church which resides in the Apostolic See and, according to the norm of law, the diocesan bishop.”

[quote=paula Cross]I have been to several Catholic marriages and have not heard the question asked about being open to life.
[/quote]

The questions appear in number 24 of the Rite of Marriage, and precede the exchange of consent in number. 25. Sometimes the questions are not audible to those attending the wedding, but in the ritual, are to be asked. The rite says of the third question, “The following question may be omitted if, for example, the couple is advanced in years.” It seems to me that unless this condition is present or if it is known to the couple and cleric that they cannot have children, it should be asked. Even in the case of known sterility, it could be asked without prejudice to truth to avoid embarrassment, since it speaks of intention and not capacity…

[quote=paula Cross] I usually hear do you take this man/woman to be your lawfully wedded wife/husband, to have and to hold to this day. . . . I do not even think they say till death do you part anymore. I know I could look up the marriage vows in The Catechism of the the Catholic church but what are we really saying? If marriage is in such a flux, as well, shouldn’t the vows be discussed in detail at a Catholic precana?
[/quote]

As I think I said, there must be proper catechesis about marriage, and you will find me in complete support of your view. When we conduct a pre nuptial retreat at the parish, I address both the declarations and the vows on a phrase by phrase basis with the engaged couples. We spend about two hours on that.

Though, I think that you will find more about the theology of marriage and its goods rather than the language of the vows in the Catechism. One of these goods is the “bonum prolis,” or the good of children. The term is drawn from Saint Augustine’s teaching on marriage.

[quote=paula Cross]PS Do you know the exact marriage vows?
[/quote]

I have witnessed weddings, and I do. John Liliburne has posted the translation of the typical form of the Latin Church and of the form approved for the U.S. episcopal conference (I’m assuming the weddings you attended were in the U.S.) They are the same as in the ICEL translation which appears in my copy of The Roman Ritual: The Rite of Marriage (NY: Catholic Book Publishing Co, 1970).

Here is the typical form for the Latin Church and John L. has given the translation: “Ego N. accipio te N. in uxorem meam (seu maritum meum) et promitto, me tibi fidem servaturum, inter prospera et adversa, in ægra et in sana valetudine, ut te, díligam et honorem omnibus diebus vitæ meæ.”

In the U.S., the last phrase is rendered, “all the days of my life.” The ritual text permits this variation in the U.S.: “I, N., take you, N., for my lawful wife (or husband), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.” Perhaps the weddings you attended used the first form. But “all the days …” and “until death …” mean the same.

Also, as per John L —top thread, the question about children is not mentioned in the vows.

This is true, yet it does not need to be expressly mentioned. It is presumed in doctrine and canon law, ought to be treated in pre nuptial catechesis, and should be asked in the declarations.

Well, that was the point I was trying to make, but I was not sufficiently clear and apologize. When I wrote, “So this is contained in the very exchange of marital consent in any of the approved forms of the vows,” perhaps I should have been more explicit. I should have written “necessarily contained.” One cannot valid marriage in any other way than intending openness to children. Openness to children (like permanence, fidelity and exclusivity) are so foundational to marriage in theology and law, they cannot be detached from marital consent.

Hence the conclusion, “when a couple exchanges consent according to the Catholic Rite of Marriage, they are presumed to have consented internally to marriage as it is understood by the Church.” (Canon Law Society of America, New Canon Law Commentary, p 1312.)

I’l add some references to explain that in a subsequent post.

God bless.

Canon 1096 establishes a legal presumption that adult Catholics know that the procreation of children (and raising them) is intrinsic to (a necessary part of) marriage: “§1. For matrimonial consent to exist, the contracting parties must be at least not ignorant that marriage is a permanent partnership between a man and a woman ordered to the procreation and education of offspring by means of some sexual cooperation. §2. This ignorance is not presumed after puberty.”

Now as canon 1057 provides in part, the consent of the parties makes marriage. It is an act of the will by which a man and a woman mutually give and accept each other, through an irrevocable covenant in order to establish marriage. Consent is given by words unless a party cannot speak canon 1104 §2. If a party by a positive act of the will excludes marriage itself, some essential element of marriage, or some essential property of marriage, the party contracts invalidly (canon 1101 §2). On the basis of canon 1096 and 1055 §1, the good of children is such an element.

However, the internal consent of the mind is presumed to conform to the words or signs used in celebrating the marriage (canon 1101 §1). The fact that there is to be suitable catechesis about marriage and that the ritual provides for the question and declaration of intent regarding accepting children etc., manifests this presumption further.

In the Catholic marriage rite, there are two parts. First the couple is asked whether they wish to be joined in holy matrimony.Then they are asked if they will be open to new life of children offered by matrimony. If the couple says yes to both of these questions…then they are asked to join the priest in reciting their vows as listed by the previous replies.

I don’t think the general congregration recognizes the 2 parts. It’s never seen on TV…but it is truly part of the recitation of the vows.
Next time you are attending a Catholic wedding, listen closely to the words spoken before the actual exchange of the vows.

The following is used for the marriage vows in the ordinary form of the Roman Rite: “Ego N. accípio te N. in uxórem meam (marítum meum, when the woman is making the vow) et promítto, me tibi fidem servatúrum (servatúram), inter próspera et advérsa, in ægra et in sana valetúdine, ut te, díligam et honórem ómnibus diébus vitæ meæ.” I assume that this was a new composition by the members of the Consilium during the reform of the Roman Liturgy. What leads me to believe this is the style of the Latin (it has the classical Latin style frequently encountered in prayers written for the post-conciliar liturgical books.) Additionally, the resemblance to the ancient vows used in the extraordinary form is minimal.

In the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, the vows are much shorter and simpler. The priest asks the question, “N. vis accípere N. hic præséntem in tuam legítimam uxórem (legítimum marítum, when the woman is making the vow) iuxta ritum sanctæ Matris Ecclésiæ?” to which the man (or woman, when she, in turn, is asked the question) responds “Volo.” Nota bene, the vows are always said in the vernacular, but the official version in the Rituale Romanum is given in Latin.

I wasn’t at this wedding but a few years ago there was one in our church where the couple answered ‘no’ to the above question. The priest was so surprised that he didn’t react - ceremony continued as usual and the couple left believing they were married. Didn’t that invalidate the marriage from the get-go?

The seminarian who had been assisting the priest at the wedding was the one who told me about it. He questioned the priest whose reply was “What could I do at that point?”

My only hope is that he actually noted this in the “Comment” section of the Pre-nuptial investigation book.

In Canada, the introduction to the rite DOES allow for it with the warning that if the couple wants to do this the priest should submit what they’ve written to the Marriage Tribunal to be sure that everything that needs to be there IS and nothing is there that might invalidate the marriage.

Please take note of how old a thread is before adding to it. Start a new thread if it is over a year old. Thank you all.

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