Sunday, November 12, 2006

TomKat wedding hits snag

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have been so full of themselves wanting to get married in Italy this Saturday, and so full of conceit that they're actually flying in a number of their guests -- who just happen to be Scientologists -- that they've seemed to forgetten a couple of important items

First of all, since Holmes is still technically Roman Catholic -- although she's announced her intention, since she began her relationship with Cruise, to renounce the religion in favour of Scientology -- they figured they could get married in a castle in the Italian town of Bracciano. However, the priest in charge of the compound says it's a no go. There's that tricky issue raising from the fact that Cruise married two other Catholic women and it's not clear whether he or his exes got certifiable annullments. Apparently Nicole Kidman did get such a dispensation before getting hitched to Keith Urban, but the nullity may only apply to her and not Cruise. He still may be married, in the eyes of the church, to Mimi Rogers.

Second, TomKat haven't even gotten a licence to get married. I'm not exactly sure what the laws are in Italy; but if it's like most European countries, a civil wedding and a church wedding are two entirely separate things. One must get authorization from city hall or a judge in a civil ceremony then get a blessing or convalidation by a cleric. Not like in the US and Canada, where licenced ministers do both at the same time -- making a wedding both a sacred covenant and a legal contract.

Even if a church wedding is legally binding in Italy, the authorities will not recognize a wedding without the proper paperwork. And there doesn't appear to be that. Church and state were officially separated from each other in Italian life in 1984, but when it comes to the most solemn of contracts Italian officials don't mess around. And it's hard to believe the audacity of Cruise and Holmes. Most churches require at least one year's notice to plan a wedding -- this allows the standard pre-nuptual investigation that vets out people still married in the church, as well as extensive pre-marital counselling and teaching of Catholic principles to the couple; as well as how to deal with differences of faith if the couple come from different denominations or even as is the case here entirely different religions. This is called the "pre-Cana" and you just can't do it in a month.

Third, if all else fails, Cruise claims to have the fallback position of having a Scientology wedding. That would never happen in a Catholic facility, for one, at least in Italy; and for what it's worth the group founded by L Ron Hubbard is not recognized as a legitimate religious group in Italy but is seen, as in most other members of the European Union, as a cult. So the wedding would not even be valid except in the eyes of TomKat -- and California doesn't recognize common law marriages either.

They should have tried San Marino, Andorra or Liechtenstein. Small enough countries that the press doesn't even bother with them -- except as holding places for numbered bank accounts. And where the national churches within Catholicism probably wouldn't have given a damn. Heck, they should have even stayed in California and went to the parish in Palm Springs where the late Sonny Bono got married -- four times.

It doesn't so much bother me that there is Scientology at all -- there should be room, after all, for competing ideas in the marketplace -- but rather the fact that Cruise believes Catholicism and Scientology are compatible. They simply are not. The Catholic Church opposed apartheid. Hubbard supported it. The Church is working to maintain its true presence in Mainland China against the so-called "official church." Hubbard's writings harboured hostility towards the Chinese. Hubbard also didn't appear to care much for organized religion -- in fact he thought the idea of his group becoming a "church" was a matter for lawyers. (Okay, I'll give him credit -- he was a great science fiction writer, I really enjoyed reading Battlefield Earth, but that's it. Cruise should have made it a miniseries, not a two hour movie.)

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have to understand that when you're Rome, you do as the Romans do. If they want to get married, they can either get married at the Celebrity Centre in Los Angeles -- or Cruise can renounce Scientology and become a Roman Catholic, or any other kind of Christian. Then and only then will he be welcome to get married within the Church. The Italians get it, and so should TomKat.

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