"In his April 24 letter, Bishop Thevenot announces that all public Masses will be cancelled in his diocese — not just for a few weeks, but through the end of June. He makes provisions for small church funerals, although services in funeral homes are preferred to those in churches. But he reserves his most outlandish rules for weddings.
To young men and women in love, Bishop Thevenot offers the pastoral advice that they should not marry right now. (Young couples can wait, unlike the heedless people who continue to die on an inconvenient schedule.) But if they insist on forming a sacramental union, they must obey the rules of the Saskatchewan Health Authority. The bishop relates those rules with unseemly enthusiasm:
No more than 10 persons in the [church] building. This must take into account everyone, musicians, pastor, wedding party and guests. No exceptions. And, we must respect the order to continue social distancing at 2 meters. This would include the bride and groom. Therefore, I would suggest the wedding be postponed to a better time.
'No exceptions.' That is the peremptory language of a gruff policeman, not a loving shepherd. But it is not the most revealing language in this paragraph. Look again:
And, we must respect the order to continue social distancing at 2 meters. This would include the bride and groom. [Emphasis added.]
Is he serious? Does he expect husband and wife to remain a sterile 2 meters apart?...
No doubt Bishop Thevenot will succeed in his objective, convincing young couples that they should not marry — or rather, to be more precise — that they should not bother with a church ceremony. He certainly has done his utmost to make the prospect of a church wedding unattractive. But in doing so he has issued a statement that goes beyond the ordinary bounds of insensitivity, tiptoeing toward the edge of insanity."
Sign up for our free e-mail list to see future vaticancatholic.com videos and articles.