Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Royal Wedding of a Prince and a Commoner

I have had the time of watching the Royal Wedding on the 29th of April from the time that Prince William departed from Clarence House until the second kiss they made on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. I could not help noticing the kind of elements that the watchers had commented on with the event: the most part of it concerns only these - the mysterious gown, which was concealed from the public eyes, and the tiara. The ring did not take that much airtime and much less the readings and the homily given by the Bishop of London. No word was given about the significance of the wedding register being kept in the sanctuary of William the Confessor. No historical background as to why. If there might have been some explanation this was done so, it might have been said by a different anchor or guest from another network or so.

The lens of the cameras zeroed in on Catherine "Kate" Middleton. This concept that the wedding happened for the bride is somewhat misplaced. I would say that this wedding happened because both persons in their freedom had decided to declare this public within the precinct of the sacred; it is not the Church (in this case the Anglican Church) which created the marriage but a man and a woman who bring this to the ear of the Church to be validly acknowledged. The requirement of both declarations is needed to satisfy the legitimacy and validity of marriage. Nowhere did this become a unilateral act.

It is so sorry to think that the concept of marriage has shifted much nowadays from -transcendental-social-sacramental in nature to a more utilitarian-commercial-secularistic experiment. No wonder that the dissolution of any marriages and the rise of divorce appear as something common and regular among the public ear. It is just so hard to combine what appears to be the accepted reality of some that, on one hand, royal marriages only reflects the general fact about marriages of the general population and, on the other, the symbol of stability of British Monarchy in the passage of time. Who could not help wondering that in the Victorian Era, the enduring reality of normative traditional family life was all over the House of Hanover in the 18the century, and in our time, the House of Windsor, though divorces became common only later. In one way, the British Monarchy can reflect the general realities of regular families and individuals, but at the same time, it should reflect the highest nobles, the highest aspirations of not just the British, but any persons at large. The political institution of the British Monarchy did not just happen yesterday, but it came down to us in changing worlds. It speaks of an enduring reality that helps us understand that there are some things that will remain.

The latest showcase of this marriage is always a window into the future for the Prince just marrying is a successor of the present Queen. Though he will be a mere symbolic monarchy (if things will remain as is), he will still represent the institution, the British "ancien regime", which always arrests our attention as we are enticed into living only in the present without any point of reference of the past. We do not pray and hope in an unhappy ending of the couple; we rejoice in their perpetual vow as they continue to hold on to those words spoken once and for all in Westminster. The bad thing, though, is that the church they belong had long ago condoned divorce and remarriages, which fly before the face of Jesus' very command. They have to go back to the time before Henry VIII singularly annulled his marriage with Catherine of Aragon, during which time he was still the Defensores Fidei. They have to go back listening to the teaching of marriage of the ancient Church handed to the Catholic Church of today. If they had chosen to bind themselves in the precinct of their religion, then it is but correct to say that they had relinquished their own freedom to the freedom of the one which acknowledges what they had declared. This other freedom does not judge from the arbitrariness of the same kind who wished to relinquished their freedom, but of a different kind, a kind that comes from without - a without that may bring something new, something different from what we have commonly accepted. This something from outside should be harbored through a means that channels this something new and something different. It is only but logical that we should listen to this channel through which we listen this news that comes from outside, an extraneous reality that demands and coerces us and imposes grievous ends. However, we have come to know that this extra gives love, hope, and faith. It is consoling to know that what this extra is does not leave us to our own, to the caprice of our wills, but journeys with us, walks with us, and talks with us. It dialogues with our weakness and with our strengths. Who knows us from the beginning and pulls us always and always from the pit of darkness.

There is one thing that we know: the secularists cannot claim a total victory; they have yet to undergo the corrosive test of time. They have yet to verify their experiment and conclude from the premises. Until then, we have to hold on to what we have held so far, to the tradition that we have been handed with. In these times that our dearest beliefs have been assaulted, when we are closed in from all directions, there is only thing to do, though it is hard, very hard to follow through, but to stand as witness, to act as that news that brings gladness to others who have started to accept the ideas of the enemies. Nowhere this is more felt than in the events that we have just seen lately, the wedding of two promising individuals.

It is our prayer; it is hope.