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Personal Tradition

I’m engaged!

It has been tough not writing on here over the past week. At first, I was thinking too much about proposing to write and then, I didn’t want to write a public article until a few people were notified.
Personally, I’m really excited to begin this next phase of life with a person that I love completely.
The notion of an engagement period, as best as I know, originated in 1215 during the Fourth Lateran Council by Pope Innocent III. Canon 51 of the Council says

Since the prohibition of the conjugal union in the three last degrees has been revoked, we wish that it be strictly observed in the other degrees. Whence, following in the footsteps of our predecessors, we absolutely forbid clandestine marriages; and we forbid also that a priest presume to witness such. Wherefore, extending to other localities generally the particular custom that prevails in some, we decree that when marriages are to be contracted they must be announced publicly in the churches by the priests during a suitable and fixed time, so that if legitimate impediments exist, they may be made known. Let the priests nevertheless investigate whether any impediments exist.

In other words, the original point of the engagement was to allow the public to know of the forthcoming marriage and give them ample time to state any impediments to marriage (one is already married, the couple are too close on the family tree, etc).
Traditionally, banns would be published (or proclaimed) by the parish priest in all impacted parishes (the one of the groom, the bride, and the one in which the marriage would take place) for the three holy days proceeding the rite. This was a further way to help ensure the legitimate status of the wedding, plus a nice way to foster community by helping everyone know of these events in the life of the parish. On the universal level, I know the Council of Trent promoted the use of the banns and in the United States, local councils promoted their use as late as the 1890s. They are now, as we know, not commonly done, but I’m not aware of if this was by decree or general disuse.
So, if anyone has any reason that we cannot be wed, speak up!

By Brandon Kraft

My life is an open-source book.

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