Signing Wedding Promises
After a Catholic bride and groom join themselves in marriage, the priest says, “What God joins together, let no one put asunder.” The official Order of Celebrating Matrimony shows the carefully drafted promises that encapsulate the essential elements of marriage. On the wedding day, these promises are witnessed by a representative of Christ’s Church, a priest. However, as the years pass, the memory of those promises fades. One’s recollection can be refreshed only by watching the wedding video. To help everyone remember the wedding promises, the non-profit organization, Mary’s Advocates, invites couples to sign them. Having a signed copy of the wedding promises as a keepsake is a constant reminder to the couple, and everyone else, of their commitment. In our confused culture, some people mistakenly think that marriage is a relationship started by having any so-called marriage solemnized by a government-authorized agent who returns a signed marriage license to the government’s county office. A so-called marriage lasts only until one party, for any reason whatsoever, chooses to end it. Thereafter, divorce professionals manage the division of everything. To emphasize the difference between the confused culture’s understanding of marriage and Catholic Marriage, Mary’s Advocates created the “True Marriage Proclamation Set.” Besides providing a way to sign the wedding promises, the set allows parties to show their intention to adhere to the obligations of marriage as understood by the Catholic Church, including our Code of Canon Law. In The Order of Celebrating Matrimony, parties essentially already do that anyway, when the bride and groom promise to give themselves to each other in marriage, and bring up children according to the Law of Christ and His Church. It could seem off-putting to discuss law in context of something so solemn as Holy Matrimony. However, when considering marriage from the perspective of future children, it makes perfect sense. Catholic spouses share with each other the most immense power available to humanity: co-creating new souls with God. He allows us to be an indispensable part of his creation when conceiving children. When a man asks a woman for her hand in marriage, he is asking her to share with him her procreative powers. The woman who wants to accept his proposal also wants to know that he will cooperate with her in supporting an intact home for their children. She doesn’t want her children to go back and forth between herself and another so-called wife which her fianceé takes after abandoning her. The man desires the same from his bride. Catholics recognize that these desires are innate in our hearts and Christ raised marriage to be a sign to the world of His love for His Church: faithful, permanent, and life-giving. Evidently, some people want the government’s version of so-called marriage, in which there is no lifelong obligation of maintaining a home together. Those wanting this kind of so-called marriage would certainly not expect everyone to hold them accountable to fulfill obligations inherent in Catholic marriage. Therefore, the Catholic fianceé who wants the other to know that he or she is promising to fulfill obligations inherent in Catholic marriage, and who does expect everyone to hold him accountable to keep the marriage promises, should say so. Signing the “True Marriage Proclamation Set” creates a permanent record of those intentions. With the language included in the set, the parties designate a third-party arbitrator to apply Catholic doctrine and Canon Law to their marriage, if ever needed. The “True Marriage Proclamation Set” was reviewed by Fr. Rocky Hoffman, who has a doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome. He’s also the Executive Director of Relevant Radio and he says, “All pastors recognize the need for better preparation for the sacrament of Marriage. The ‘True marriage Proclamation Set’ can be a powerful tool to help spouses deeply consider what they are doing in the presence of God.” The Director of Religious Education & Evangelization for the Diocese of Gary Indiana, Sean Martin, gives information about the set to couples participating in his diocesan marriage preparation program. He says, "’The True Marriage Proclamation Set’ is a constant reminder in the home of the covenantal sacred family bond the Lord promised to the husband and wife, and their children!" Paula Parola, in the diocese of Monterey, California, ordered the luxurious set for her twenty-eight-year-old son who got married last summer. She says, “His bride was very careful to make sure she brought the document to the sacristy, so they could sign it with the priest after the wedding. They were touched. They love it, think it is beautiful, and have it framed in their family room at home.” See enlarged solemn marriage covenant provided with "True Marriage Proclaimation Set" Here . Order custom made set, or find free do-it-yourself set in “Frequently Asked Questions” Here . With the non-profit organization Mary’s Advocates, Bai Macfarlane works to reduce unilateral no-fault divorce and support those who are unjustly abandoned. In unilateral no-fault divorce, those who control the split of everything, view marriage obligations in a way that is diametrically opposed to the Christian and Catholic understanding. In no-fault divorce, no distinction is made between the party who reneges on the marriage promises, and the party who is counting on those promises to be upheld. The USCCB, National Catholic Register, Pewsitter, and LifeSite News have publicized Bai’s work. She presented a paper in Rome at a symposium with welcome letter by Cardinal Raymond Burke. Relevant Radio and Ave Maria Radio have had her as a guest on their shows. She was on ETWN radio with Jerry Usher.