From a reader…
A new (perhaps not new) trend I have witnessed at recent marriages and in social media, during the nuptial vows, is the practice of the witnessing priest standing, back to the people, at the entrance of the sanctuary, and the bride and groom standing near or on the altar steps as they exchange their vows. As a result, the couple is angled towards the priest and congregration rather than the altar, as would normally be the case. Why? I have heard it explained that this practice allows the congregation to clearly see the faces and hear the voices of the couple as they exchange vows. Another explanation is that the congregation represents the Church as it witnesses the marriage, and thus needs to see the bride and groom with clear sight.
Are there rubrics to guide the orientation of the couple during the Rite of Marriage? Is not the primary representative/symbol of the Catholic Church in the church building always Christ himself in the Eucharist? Furthermore, does not this new practice further encourage the ‘showy’, ‘theatrical’ nature of many Nuptial Masses today?
I know of nothing in the rubrics stating which direction the couple should face when they profess their vows.
I suppose that it’s left up to the discretion of the priest.
Some priests just like innovation for the sake of innovation.
Nothing in the rubrics prevents the couple from being suspended by invisible wires above the congregation a la Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and swooping in to meet each other as they exchange their consent.
Is that next? If so, I want a cool greenish sword.