Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Convalidation Conundrum (part II of II)

Is a convalidation a wedding?  And does it merit a wedding celebration?
I did some poking around on the rest of the internet, and I did find that I’m not the first person to have this question.  I also found the “vow renewal” thing refuted:  
“It is important to realize that a convalidation is not merely a renewal of vows made previously but is a new act of consent by each spouse.”
And accordingly, Canon #1157 states that, “The renewal of consent must be a new act of the will concerning a marriage which the renewing party knows or thinks was null from the beginning.”
So does that mean we can have a wedding?  From the same site as above: 
“Customarily, since the couple’s married life is a known and public fact and may have been so for many years, a simple celebration with an invitation to close family and friends may seem more appropriate than a large celebration.”
I see.
Frankly, it’s bullshit that I even have to ask this question in the first place.  Plenty of couples (including Catholic couples) live together for so long that they are common-law married before they actually get married.  In some cases they even have a couple kids together.  Those couples do the all-out wedding celebration and no one bats an eye (except the previous couple generations).  My husband and I were at least honest enough to make it legal as soon as we knew that was the direction we wanted to go, and my girls have benefit from having a father figure for all this time.  Yet we are the ones getting penalized.  Apparently, it’s not tacky to live together indefinitely and have children before having a big white wedding, but it IS tacky if you have a big white wedding for your sacramental marriage after previously demonstrating your intent publicly with a civil wedding. 
Yes, I realize I sound like a stodgy old conservative (even though I am still of childbearing age), but if everyone gets to live like a married couple before marriage and STILL have a “real” wedding celebration, then it really shouldn’t matter whether you have a wedding celebration for your legal marriage, sacramental marriage, or the second Tuesday of every month.
I don’t know what we’re going to do yet.  I am warming up to the idea of a wedding celebration, tailored for the things we care about and excluding the things we don’t.  Not because I want to “recreate our wedding day” or to “relive my one glorious day of being the center of attention.”  (Although, admittedly, if you need other people’s help to make something happen, being the center of attention comes in handy.)  It’s because our story is awesome, and it’s worthy of being celebrated.  When we don’t celebrate our milestones, we say to each other and to everyone that we don’t matter. 
And we do matter.

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