...Oh man, Paul's wedding. I like Paul, but as a Catholic seminarian, I almost had a heart attack upon witnessing the Unitarian wedding.
Nathaniel was sitting next to me, and he will confirm the fact that I choked on air as soon as I saw the priestess. Her chasuble was sparkly green. You know those glitter pens? That was the color of the chasuble. It's hard to believe someone would ever wear something so ridiculously hideous in public.
But really, what bugged me the most is that the color of the chasuble was liturgically inappropriate. It is still Easter season. Therefore, all priests should wear white chasubles. Green chasubles get worn during ordinary time.
The second big problem with her vestments was that she was wearing her stole on the outside of the chasuble. The stole is supposed to be worn underneath the chasuble during masses. Wearing an undergarment over an outergarment is like wearing a vest on top of your jacket: it's just wrong.
Third, the stole did not match the chasuble in color. That's a Catholic rule, but it's also common sense. The colors of your clothes should match, right? Right. I don't have to explain this any further.
Fourth, she was not wearing an alb. Not that I was expecting it at this point.
So, that's why I choked after seeing the priestess. I wanted to invoke the "three strikes, you're out" rule, because all three vestments (alb, stole, chasuble) were incorrect.
Sorry to rant about vestments, but--actually, hold on a second. I'm not done ranting. Things did not get better once the wedding started.
The priestess launched into a speech about how gardens are traditionally places where good things happen, which is not technically accurate (Garden of Eden, anyone?), but I'll let it slide, because the mass was taking place in a garden. During the speech, I wondered, "Has it started yet? Or is she just giving an introductory speech before the mass begins? When is she going to do the sign of the cross?" About two minutes later, she put her piece of paper down and the procession began, so I figured that things had started.
I took out my rosary at this point. My plan was to pray the rosary during the mass, to dedicate the marriage to the Blessed Virgin Mary. However, I wasn't able to carry out this plan because first of all, it wasn't a mass, and second--well, I'll get to that later.
The procession was slightly amusing, because Paul looked like he was going to collapse from nervousness. His parents practically frog-marched him to where he was supposed to stand.
The first reading--the only reading, mind you--was from The Velveteen Rabbit. For those of you who don't know, that is a children's picture book. Really? A picture book? You're getting married, and you read from a children's book?! If that was your plan, why didn't you just go for broke and read The Cat in the Hat to everyone?
(I am so getting a nasty email from Paul about this.)
Okay, Paul, listen up. If you only have one reading at your wedding--which is crazy talk; you should have three--you pick the one from the Letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 13. That's the one where Paul gives his famous speech on love. Everyone uses that one at their weddings. There are other readings from the Bible that come highly recommended, such as from Songs of Songs (which is a wedding canticle), but everyone uses Corinthians Chapter 13. Just to let you know.
After we learned about the magical bunny rabbit, the Best Man and Best Woman both read from their pieces of paper. Then, the priestess led Paul in saying various things which somewhat resembled the traditional wedding vows. I mean, I'm no expert on marriage vows, but I'm pretty sure it's "in sickness and in health", not "in sickness and in wellness". Any mention of God or Jesus or anything remotely religious was taken out of the vows.
Then, it was suddenly over, without any warning. No final word from the priestess, no sign of the cross, no "The mass has ended. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord". Everyone just turned around and left.
I had to double-check my watch to see how long it was. Ten minutes. That's not a wedding; that's half of a Simpsons episode. Obviously, I wasn't able to finish the rosary, because it taks about fifteen minutes to pray the rosary.
Just think, if someone showed up ten minutes late to the wedding, he would have missed the entire thing.
In comparison, the shortest possible Catholic mass is about twenty minutes, and that's if the priest is really rushing things. Obviously, the length of the mass depends on various factors such as how many people are in attendance, but your typical Sunday mass will be from forty minutes to an hour long. Priests generally respect the unofficial hour-long time limit.
For a wedding, you do some extra things that you don't usually do at a mass, such as a twenty-person procession and an exchange of vows; therefore, wedding usually take longer than a normal mass. I was not expecting a wedding that was shorter than a normal mass.
To conclude my review of the DC Wedding...
- The wedding was way too short.
- The priestess' vestments were all wrong.
- They read children's books instead of the Bible.
- There was not enough transubstantiation to suit the tastes of the Catholics everywhere.