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Boy meets girl, they fall in love, get married and then live happily ever after. Marriage, being directly before the “happily ever after” is a celebration of a lifetime. Couples spend their life’s savings in order to organize the most memorable and dreamy wedding…
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Some even go to great lengths in order to have the most unique and one-of-a-kind wedding. This phenomenon is true for people from all walks of life, from east to west, and for all types of culture and nationality.
However, for those who choose to walk on the solid and established path of religious weddings, the options are not as wide and varied. Couples have to follow the prescribed ceremonies laid down by the church. And Shinto and Catholic believers are no exception. This paper shall look into the traditional Shinto and Catholic wedding ceremonies, as well as their similarities and differences.
More than the financial or social considerations, couples chose to begin their married life in a religious ceremony for good luck and good life. The belief that a union blessed by God, whoever that might be, will bring marital and financial bliss is the primary motivation for having a religious wedding.
Catholic Matrimony Catholicism is centered on the Seven Sacraments, the pillars of the Catholic faith. The word sacrament is derived from the Latin word “Sacramentum” which literally means “a sign of the sacred.” The seven sacraments are Baptism, Reconciliation, Eucharist, Confirmation, Marriage, Anointing of the Sick and Holy Orders. With the sole exception of the sacrament of the Holy Orders which is for the Catholic Clergy, a Catholic is expected to receive all of the six sacraments in that same order. Those who do not marry are said to be called for the vocation of single-blessedness, with strong emphasis on chastity. Among Catholics, marriage is not just a union of two lovers, more importantly it is the union of two souls with Christ. For this reason, the church strictly implements rules for the couple to follow. One of which is the fulfillment of the prerequisite sacraments before marriage. Before two people shall be wed in a Catholic ceremony, both of them must first be baptized into the faith, be reconciled with the Lord through the process of confession with a priest, receive the Eucharist through the communion during mass, and then have their faith confirmed by the Bishop. Ideally, these preparatory acts are often performed years before the intended marriage. Children who are born into the faith are often baptized as infants, go through confession and receive the Eucharist in their early teens, and finally get confirmed in their mid-teen years. However, for those who have just found the faith, the baptism, confession, communion of the Eucharist and confirmation may be done just days before the wedding. The only requirement is that they are performed one after the other and in the same order. Being a catholic sacrament, matrimony within the faith is a religious more than a love affair. The wedding does not just happen on the big day itself. Before the couple will receive the holy sacrament of matrimony, the church does its part in helping the lovers think through their decision to get married. The couple is required to attend a Pre-Cana seminar, which is basically a catechesis designed to prepare the couple for their new life as a catholic couple and parents. Then before the wedding, most churches implement the mandatory call for engaged couples where the church announces to the congregation that the couple intends to get married and whoever should have knowledge of any impediments must inform the church thereof. This is embodied no less in the “Apostolorum Successores” promulgated by the Vatican which states that: Engaged couples should receive appropriate personal preparation for marriage, so as to enable them to live their sacramental union fruitfully, and so as to avoid, as far as possible, situations where the marriage is null through lack of capacity or of true
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