William and Kate? We have royal weddings here, too

The announcement that there will be a royal wedding in 2011 topped the news on Nov. 16. Camera flashes were blinding when Prince William and Kate Middleton made a brief appearance in London that afternoon to confirm the news. Speculation began about every detail of the approaching wedding — the date, the location, the dress, the line of succession, etc.

It was good to see such excitement about marriage in a week that otherwise showed how embattled it is.

The day before the royal announcement, at the fall gathering of the U.S. Catholic bishops in Baltimore, an alarm was sounded regarding threats to traditional marriage. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., minced no words in likening present legislative challenges to the definition of marriage to the period just before abortion was legalized in 1973.

“If you had seen Roe vs. Wade coming three years out, what would you have done differently?” asked Archbishop Kurtz in urging support for projects that reinforce the church’s teaching on the sanctity of marriage.

How badly those efforts are needed was made clear the day after William and Kate’s announcement. A study by the Pew Research Center was released showing, among other findings, that 39 percent of Americans believe marriage is becoming obsolete. With one in three American children living with a parent who is divorced, separated, or never married, more people are accepting the view that wedding bells aren’t needed to have a family.

As the church confronts that mindset, we’d like to make an announcement of our own. Assemble the press. Blare the trumpets. Here it comes:

“The Diocese of Peoria is delighted to announce there will be not one but nearly 1,000 royal weddings within its borders in 2011. The guest of honor at Catholic wedding Masses and interfaith ceremonies from Rock Island to Danville will be none other than Jesus Christ the King, who blesses His sons and daughters with grace, seals their covenant with the Holy Spirit, and feeds them at a banquet rich beyond imagination.”

The buzz surrounding Prince William and Kate’s announcement shows that our culture, which repeatedly challenges marriage, still likes a royal wedding. We Catholics would do well to better remember, embrace, and proclaim the presence of our King — and His Queen Mother — at our wedding ceremonies and within our marriages.

We thank all who did so in 2010, including not only brides and grooms but families and friends who model Christ-centered marriage, as well as those on the diocesan and local levels who assist with marriage preparation. And we excitedly congratulate all who are planning a royal wedding in 2011. — Thomas J. Dermody

SPALDING PASTORAL CENTER | 419 NE MADISON AVENUE | PEORIA, IL 61603 | PHONE (309) 671-1550 | FAX (309) 671-1595
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