Engagement\betrothal break off sinful

Started by paxvobis, April 26, 2024, 11:16:15 AM

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paxvobis

I was discussing something with a friend recently.

Personally, I find it disturbing whenever a broken engagement happens. I have been in tradition for nearly a decade and have witnessed a similar number of broken engagements to weddings that actually happened. And what is scary is that we tend to keep hush hush about them so I am willing to bet there are more that I don't know about.

I have also heard that engagements used to be viewed as a contract like marriage and that if you wanted to break one off, you had to go through a rigorous process involving the local bishop.

Anyways, my friend and I were discussing it and he said he knew someone a long time ago. He was engaged to a woman and specifically stated a "left at the altar" moment so it sounds like a last minute thing. He also said it was because of "cold feet" (nervousness).

Was this sinful? It is difficult to find moral theology manuals on this. But I cannot imagine myself feeling God's peace if I broke off an engagement because of nervousness. This is the way I see it.

- One made a promise to another person and they broke it. Violation of 8th commandment.
- Public scandal. Unless the couple planned to elope in secret, I imagine they told family and friends who told their acquaintances.
- Provocation. Unless the person was a saint, I imagine the offended party would not respond well. In the novel War and Peace, Natasha Rostova attempts suicide because of the broken engagement.

Anyone have thoughts on this or provide relevant excerpts?

Bonaventure

#1
I don't think you should be disturbed. Would we rather have broken off engagements, or broken off marriages?

QuoteI have also heard that engagements used to be viewed as a contract like marriage and that if you wanted to break one off, you had to go through a rigorous process involving the local bishop.

I've never heard this. They used to mean a lot more socially, sure.

QuoteWas this sinful? It is difficult to find moral theology manuals on this. But I cannot imagine myself feeling God's peace if I broke off an engagement because of nervousness. This is the way I see it.

- One made a promise to another person and they broke it. Violation of 8th commandment.
- Public scandal. Unless the couple planned to elope in secret, I imagine they told family and friends who told their acquaintances.
- Provocation. Unless the person was a saint, I imagine the offended party would not respond well. In the novel War and Peace, Natasha Rostova attempts suicide because of the broken engagement.

Anyone have thoughts on this or provide relevant excerpts?

Perhaps a sin against charity, if that. Perhaps deception.

A novel is just a form of entertainment.

QuoteAnyways, my friend and I were discussing it and he said he knew someone a long time ago. He was engaged to a woman and specifically stated a "left at the altar" moment so it sounds like a last minute thing. He also said it was because of "cold feet" (nervousness).

Cold feet has always been an issue.

There are a lot of reasons why someone might break off an engagement, up to the very last minute. 

1. Familial pressure to marry/not marry
2. Scruples about "what if I have a vocation"
3. Feeling that one is "not ready." When then asked when will you be "ready," the answer is often "I don't know."

It's preferable socially, in charity, and financially, to not leave someone at the altar, but I don't think there's annythng intrinsically sinful about such an action.

The same happens with Major Orders.

Once a man crosses that bridge, that's it. Especially for say, sedes, who cannot obtain a dispensation from the clerical state to marry from the Apostolic See.

I know of an example from the Institute of Christ the King in the early 1990s (before they wore blue, styled themselves as canons, and simply wore black and were "Monsieur l'abbé).

5 men were going to be ordained to the subdiaconate. 3 were ready, vested, and 2 were late to their own ordination! Cardinal Palazzini arrived and was waiting, the rite delayed.

The two ordinands never showed up. One was expelled, the other, simply disappeared.

LausTibiChriste

Fr. Ripperger said once that the couple needed a serious reason to break a betrothal, but I highly doubt it was to the extent of getting a Bishop involved and I suspect it would be so only in the case of a formal betrothal since it would have been a public act of the Church.

As Bonaventure says, do you want broken engagements or broken marriages?

Marriage is hard af sometimes even when you're both gung-ho on it. Imagine forcing yourself into it when you're full of doubt or see red flags. That's a recipe for disaster.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son Of God, Have Mercy On Me A Sinner

Bonaventure

Quote from: LausTibiChriste on April 26, 2024, 11:36:24 AMMarriage is hard af sometimes even when you're both gung-ho on it. Imagine forcing yourself into it when you're full of doubt or see red flags. That's a recipe for disaster.

A man prepares, discerns, and is tested, examined, etc. for 6, 7, or even 8 years prior to being ordained.

Most men and women wait far, far less than that, to marry.

LausTibiChriste

Quote from: Bonaventure on April 26, 2024, 11:41:02 AM
Quote from: LausTibiChriste on April 26, 2024, 11:36:24 AMMarriage is hard af sometimes even when you're both gung-ho on it. Imagine forcing yourself into it when you're full of doubt or see red flags. That's a recipe for disaster.

A man prepares, discerns, and is tested, examined, etc. for 6, 7, or even 8 years prior to being ordained.

Most men and women wait far, far less than that, to marry.

And his hormones aren't desperately waiting to get ordained
Lord Jesus Christ, Son Of God, Have Mercy On Me A Sinner

EastWest7

#5
Quote from: Bonaventure on April 26, 2024, 11:41:02 AM
Quote from: LausTibiChriste on April 26, 2024, 11:36:24 AMMarriage is hard af sometimes even when you're both gung-ho on it. Imagine forcing yourself into it when you're full of doubt or see red flags. That's a recipe for disaster.

A man prepares, discerns, and is tested, examined, etc. for 6, 7, or even 8 years prior to being ordained.

Most men and women wait far, far less than that, to marry.

Excellent point, Bonaventure.

When I was half way through (an Orthodox) seminary), I met my wife at my summer job. I proposed to her 5 weeks later, we were married less than a year later. Next month, by God's grace, we will have been married 40 years.

Although we were older (she almost 32, I had just turned 29), I still marvel at my good fortune. When recounting this bit of history to friends I always warn, "Don't try this at home."  ;D

Who knows, ever since I was 15, I always asked the Mother of God to watch over my relationships with the opposite sex. Perhaps that is what prevented me from catastrophe.   
Before Abraham was, I AM. John 8:58

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

Hannelore

As someone who broke off an engagement, no, I don't think it is sinful.
My Lord and my God.

Bonaventure

Quote from: EastWest7 on April 26, 2024, 02:17:47 PM
Quote from: Bonaventure on April 26, 2024, 11:41:02 AM
Quote from: LausTibiChriste on April 26, 2024, 11:36:24 AMMarriage is hard af sometimes even when you're both gung-ho on it. Imagine forcing yourself into it when you're full of doubt or see red flags. That's a recipe for disaster.

A man prepares, discerns, and is tested, examined, etc. for 6, 7, or even 8 years prior to being ordained.

Most men and women wait far, far less than that, to marry.

Excellent point, Bonaventure.

When I was half way through (an Orthodox) seminary, I met my wife at my summer job. I proposed to her 5 weeks later, we were married less than a year later. Next month, by God's grace, we will have been married 40 years.

Although we were older (she almost 32, I had just turned 29), I still marvel at my good fortune. When recounting this bit of history to friends I always warn, "Don't try this at home."  ;D

Who knows, ever since I was 15, I always asked the Mother of God to watch over my relationships with the opposite sex. Perhaps that is what prevented me from catastrophe.   

I think it was a clear way of seeing His will in your life. 

I was 22 and was tired of working, and being in the world. I had just handwritten a letter to Fr. Benedict Hughes, seeking acceptance to Mater Dei Seminary in Omaha, NE.

I then met my wife in May.

By July I was telling her I wanted to marry her.

I bought a ring in August, formally proposed in December, and we were married in June the following year. 

As Tolkien said:
QuoteYou really do very little choosing: life and circumstance do most of it (though there is a God and there must be His instruments, or His appearances).

EastWest7

Quote from: Bonaventure on April 26, 2024, 02:54:30 PM
Quote from: EastWest7 on April 26, 2024, 02:17:47 PM
Quote from: Bonaventure on April 26, 2024, 11:41:02 AM
Quote from: LausTibiChriste on April 26, 2024, 11:36:24 AMMarriage is hard af sometimes even when you're both gung-ho on it. Imagine forcing yourself into it when you're full of doubt or see red flags. That's a recipe for disaster.

A man prepares, discerns, and is tested, examined, etc. for 6, 7, or even 8 years prior to being ordained.

Most men and women wait far, far less than that, to marry.

Excellent point, Bonaventure.

When I was half way through (an Orthodox) seminary, I met my wife at my summer job. I proposed to her 5 weeks later, we were married less than a year later. Next month, by God's grace, we will have been married 40 years.

Although we were older (she almost 32, I had just turned 29), I still marvel at my good fortune. When recounting this bit of history to friends I always warn, "Don't try this at home."  ;D

Who knows, ever since I was 15, I always asked the Mother of God to watch over my relationships with the opposite sex. Perhaps that is what prevented me from catastrophe. 

I think it was a clear way of seeing His will in your life. 

I was 22 and was tired of working, and being in the world. I had just handwritten a letter to Fr. Benedict Hughes, seeking acceptance to Mater Dei Seminary in Omaha, NE.

I then met my wife in May.

By July I was telling her I wanted to marry her.

I bought a ring in August, formally proposed in December, and we were married in June the following year. 

As Tolkien said:
QuoteYou really do very little choosing: life and circumstance do most of it (though there is a God and there must be His instruments, or His appearances).


Outstanding... and way to go, Bonaventure. Beautiful.

One thing that was uncanny and what threw me over the top to return to seminary after college for the MDiv program was reading Jean-Pierre de Caussade's Abandonment to Divine Providence. And only because of returning for the MDiv program did I (within a year) meet my wife.       
Before Abraham was, I AM. John 8:58

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

queen.saints

#9
Breach of Promise

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breach_of_promise

"Breach of promise is a common-law tort, abolished in many jurisdictions. It was also called breach of contract to marry,[1] and the remedy awarded was known as heart balm.
From at least the Middle Ages to the early 20th century, many jurisdictions regarded a man's promise of engagement to marry a woman as a legally binding contract. If the man subsequently changed his mind, he would be said to be in "breach" of this promise and could be subject to litigation for damages.
The converse of that was seldom true. The concept that "it's a woman's prerogative to change her mind" had at least some basis in law (though a woman might pay a high social price for exercising this privilege). Unless a dowry of money or property had changed hands, or the woman could be shown to have become engaged to a man only to enable her use of his money,[2] a man could rarely recover in a "breach of promise" suit against a woman if he was even allowed to file one."
I am sorry for the times I have publicly criticized others on this forum, made statements contrary to the Catholic Faith, and any other forms of scandalous, false, or ignorant posts and pray that no one believes in or is influenced by them.

queen.saints

#10
A Confession, Broken Engagement & Wealthy Marriage


Based on a true story taken from Anecdotes and Examples Illustrating the Catholic Catechism by Rev. Francis Spirago, 1904.

One day, in Belle Époque Paris, a young man and woman, prominent in Parisian society, entered a church seeking to go to confession in preparation for their wedding.

The young man was in and out of the confessional. Blinking in the soft light, he made a hasty genuflection in the direction of the main altar, and as he turned to leave, realized his bride was not hanging on his arm. He slid back into the pew, and as the minutes passed, he grew impatient. When, finally, after half an hour, the girl emerged from behind a velvet curtain, he said irritably, "You took so long!"

On her explaining that she wished to prepare well for this important step in their lives, he gave voice to his displeasure with a wife-to-be who took half an hour to confess her sins.

Days later, opening a drawer in her secretary, and dipping her quill in a fine ink well, the young woman penned a few lines on a piece of stationary. Removing a ring from her finger, she enclosed it with the note.

The engagement broken off, Paris hummed with the gossip, and the story made it to print.

Somewhere in the "City of Light," a wealthy merchant opened his newspaper and read, "High Society Engagement Broken Over Confession."

"Hmm..." he thought, "the fool had a diamond in his hand and didn't know it...a woman who prepares herself so conscientiously for a life commitment will take her husband and children seriously. This person knows the meaning of the word 'trust.'" And he took steps to be introduced to the lady. A courtship soon developed. The merchant proposed, was accepted, and they were married.

At their wedding, again Parisian society hummed, this time with loud clinks and hearty congratulations. The bride's long confession had attracted her not only a worthy husband, but a wealthy one.
I am sorry for the times I have publicly criticized others on this forum, made statements contrary to the Catholic Faith, and any other forms of scandalous, false, or ignorant posts and pray that no one believes in or is influenced by them.

queen.saints

Which reminds me of this joke article:

http://www.eyeofthetiber.com/2017/09/29/study-finds-wearing-mantilla-increases-confession-time-by-2500/


"New research published by Christendom College suggests that the wearing of a mantilla dramatically increases the wearers time spent in confession by up to 2,500%."
I am sorry for the times I have publicly criticized others on this forum, made statements contrary to the Catholic Faith, and any other forms of scandalous, false, or ignorant posts and pray that no one believes in or is influenced by them.

Hannelore

#12
Quote from: queen.saints on April 26, 2024, 04:30:51 PMAnecdotes and Examples Illustrating the Catholic Catechism by Rev. Francis Spirago, 1904.
Just bought this book on kindle. Thanks. Have you read Stories From the Catechist?
My Lord and my God.

queen.saints

No I don't think so! It looks lovely; I'll have to read it. Thank you for the recommendation.

I love reading catechisms and always learn so much, so am happy to see this first paragraph in the introduction on archive.org:

"The Nobleman and the Catechism. — A distinguished nobleman had gone to a religious house to make a retreat, and felt no little surprise at being presented with a Catechism to read. " What!" he said, " a Catechism ! are you setting me down again to my ABC?" But on the Superior proposing him some simple questions on religion, the nobleman was quite unable to give satisfactory answers. " Know then," said the Superior, " that among persons in the world, there are very few really instructed in their religion. This little book, which you seem to undervalue, is an abridgment of theology : even those who have learned it when young, should read it, in advanced years, that they may not forget what it contains." He ever afterwards carried a Catechism with him."



https://archive.org/details/StoriesFromTheCatechist/page/n8/mode/1up
I am sorry for the times I have publicly criticized others on this forum, made statements contrary to the Catholic Faith, and any other forms of scandalous, false, or ignorant posts and pray that no one believes in or is influenced by them.

queen.saints

I read somewhere that the very first examples of rhyming poetry are from the original "catechisms" in the catacombs to help the catechists remember. Not sure if that is true.
I am sorry for the times I have publicly criticized others on this forum, made statements contrary to the Catholic Faith, and any other forms of scandalous, false, or ignorant posts and pray that no one believes in or is influenced by them.