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Italian brides, grooms to 'give' rather than 'take'

Italian brides and grooms marrying in Catholic churches will no longer "take" each other as husband or wife, but will "accept" each other.

"This small change of wording emphasises the fact that the other is a gift, not something that one takes of one's own accord," said Fr Sergio Nicolli, director of the Italian bishops' office for the family.

From the first Sunday of Advent at the end of this month, the Italian Catholic bishops' new rites and rituals for the sacrament of matrimony go into effect; the texts currently in use were approved in 1969.

"Some of the changes," Fr Nicolli said, "were the result of a deeper theological understanding, while others were motivated by cultural changes," including the fact that while the vast majority of Italians are baptised Catholics very few attend Mass regularly.

Catholic brides or grooms who are not regular churchgoers or those marrying a non-Catholic are encouraged to use the option of a marriage rite with the celebration of the Liturgy of the Word, not a full Mass, "so that a spouse not able to receive Communion is not put in a situation of difficulty," he told Catholic News Service.

The changes, introduced at a conference that concluded on Saturday, include the option for the bride and groom to begin their procession to the altar from the baptismal font holding lighted candles.

"This emphasises the strict connection between marriage and one's baptismal vocation," he said. "Marriage is a response to God's call."

Italian brides, grooms to 'accept' not 'take' each other in marriage (Catholic News Service 4/11/04)

Italian Catholic Bishops Conference

8 Nov 2004