Saturday, 14 September 2013

Matrimony according to the Use of the Philippine Islands

Today, on this very same eve of Exaltation Roodmas, also that of the 6th anniversary of the promulgation of the celebrated apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum of Benedict XVI, Pope emeritus, a matrimony was celebrated according to the use and customs of the Philippine Islands, whose rite and ceremony was taken and based on the very ancient Manuale Toletanum, and whose form presently used is contained in the Manual de Manila promulgated by Fray Pedro Payo, Archbishop of Manila and Metropolitan of the Islands. This present use of the ancient rite is in accordance with the tenor of the acts and decrees of the First Plenary Council of the Philippines in 1953.
Matrimonies betwixt Catholics should be celebrated preserving the rite taken from the Manuale Toletanum, used in these regions through the long course of the ages, which shall be restored with the most appropriate ceremonies for the signification of the indissoluble union of spouses.
Pepe and Yeyette contracted matrimony in the presence and in the peace of Holy Mother Church, before the wickets of the church of Saint Peter the Apostle in Tunasán, province of La Laguna. Fr. Zerrudo, parish priest of the Parish of the Holy Family in the Diocese of Cubao, attended to the matrimony. After the Sacrament, the Nuptial Mass for the couple followed, in which the nuptial blessing was pronounced upon them.

The miraculous wood of the Cross of Tunasán,
mentioned by Dr. Rizal in the Noli,
venerated in the church of St. Peter the Apostle

We shall not repeat in its entirety here those which have said here concerning the development of the rite of the Islands, expositions about it which pertain to the things and articles used both in Filipino matrimonies and nuptial benedictions and those of the rest of the Hispanic world, of the meanings of the particular acts made within the confection of the sacrament, and of the distinctions between this rite and that rite observed according to the Rituale Romanum, but we shall mention them in one note or two.

Celebration of the sacrament of matrimony
In this rite, the celebration of matrimony is foreseen that the celebration of matrimony be made before the doors of the church, according to the tenor of the rubrics for the introduction of the spouses from the doors to the high altar, in which they shall hold in their hands an edge of the stole of the priest vested for Mass, except the maniple and the chasuble, in whose stead the cope is worn.

Celebration of matrimony before the gates of the church

The priest delivers an admonition taken from the Catechism unto the contracting parties, witnesses, and the rest which are present in the sacred ceremony. Immediately is pronounced the exhortation to the faithful to divulge the impediments which might endanger the conjugal bond. If nothing arose from this requisition, the priest directs himself to the contracting parties three questions each, first to the woman, and then to the man.

Locution of the admonition and exhortation
Card for the triple interrogation of the contracting parties
The contracting parties with their witnesses during the interrogation

Verified thus the interrogations, the priest joins the right hands of the spouses, binding the husband and the wife into one flesh, invoking the Most Holy Trinity, with the words commanded by the Manual. Then, the two rings and thirteen arrhae, placed upon a platter, are blessed, and, immediately, the priest imposes one of the two rings upon the fourth digit of the right hand of the husband. The priest, afterwards, entrusts the other ring to the same husband, who, while the priest says the same formula as earlier, imposes it upon the same digit of his wife. Then, the priest pours the thirteen arrhae in the platter unto the hands of the man, who pours them immediately into those of his wife, saying the words in the Manual. The wife, finally, releases her hands and let falls the arrhae back into the platter.

Union of right hands
Platter of the rings and arrhae
Blessing of the rings and of the arrhae
Imposition of the ring on the husband by the priest
Imposition of the ring on the wife by the husband
Transmission of the arrhae (from the priest to the husband)
Transmission of the arrhae (from the husband to the wife)
Transmission of the arrhae (from the wife to the priest)

We have completed, according to the constitution of the Manual, the matrimony. In those bygone days, and also nowadays, the veiling, that is, the concession of the nuptial benediction within the Mass, may be celebrated separated from the matrimony, o in a day which is not that of the matrimony, for having the Nuptial Mass impeded, even though the Manual clearly states that, except in forbidden times when the celebration of matrimony, its verification, and the Nuptial Mass may not be, the acts which are customarily administered upon the spouses after the Pater are allowed in the Mass of the day, if it is celebrated for spouses who for the first times are veiled.

Concession of the nuptial blessing
The spouses, their witnesses, their parents, and other persons who may honour them on the day of their Nuptial Mass, gathered together before the doors of the church, in procession approach them the priest in whose presence beforehand they were married (and not another priest without the express permission of the ordinary), and the acolytes carrying the necessary articles. Either the priest gives an edge of his stole to the spouses or he gathers their right hands, and thus maintained their postures, he leads them, reciting Psalm 127, through the nave towards the altar.

Introduction of the spouses holding the edge of the stole

The Mass proceeds as usual. During the Gospel and the Sanctus,candles are lit for the spouses and for the witness who hold the candles. After the Pater and before the Líbera, the white silken veil is first placed upon the head of the wife and the shoulders of the husband, and then the jugale, which is a cord or ribbon, forming the figure of the number 8. The priest immediately directs himself to the spouses and blesses them pronouncing the words in the Manual.

Enkindled candles during the Sanctus
Imposition of the veil
Imposition of the cord
The spouses receiving the nuptial blessing
The spouses veiled knelt before the altar

The hallowed nuptial blessings received, the veil and the cord are not removed from the spouses until the conclusion of the Mass, before the priest admonish them for the last time. The last Gospel read as usual, the priest entrusts the wife to the husband, repeating the inspiring words heard for the first time in the admonition before the exhortation and the interrogations of the matrimony. Everyone leaves the sanctuary, also in procession.

Thus accomplished the most sacred sacraments, we here leave a recapitulation of the outstanding distinctions between the rite found in the Manual de Manila and that found in the Rituale Romanum.

1. Foreseen contraction of matrimony before the gates of the church;
2. Position of the man at the right side of the woman;
3. Scrutiny by triple interrogation;
4. Use of two rings and thirteen arrhae;
5. Introduction of the spouses into the altar by the priest;
6. Use of enkindled candles in the Gospel and Sanctus; and
7. Use of the veil and cord in the nuptial benediction.

Pity that nowadays the minor characteristics of this custom have not endured in the matrimonies of the Ordinary Form. It is the duty and task of every Christian in our times to defend and protect the sacrament of matrimony, besieged by threats imposed by a spiritually impoverished world (such as the union between aberrosexuals and the dissolution of an otherwise perpetual bond), a most solemn sacrament between a Catholic man and Catholic woman, called by God to participate in the wondrous miracle of procreation, hallowed act of the Most Blessed Trinity on the sixth day of the history of Creation.

Photos courtesy of M. J. M. A. and M. L.
With permission from the contracting parties

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post, and thank you very much for the information! When I celebrate marriages for Filipino couples, so much of this has to be 'guessed', for lack of a ritual book, especially here in the US.

    I even tried to search back in the Philippines, but to no avail.

    If anyone ever publishes this ritual for use of the clergy, please let us know!