George’s story on footballing preists put me in mind of this piece (subs needed) in the Irish Times today. Apparently Dubrovnic is the overseas marriage capital of choice for young Irish couples. But it’s a form of ‘tourism’ that is not welcomed by the Catholic Church in Croatia:
The Irish Bishops’ Conference is to discuss a strongly-worded letter from church leaders in Croatia which criticises the behaviour of Irish “wedding tourists” to the country and suggests such weddings be discouraged.
The letter from the diocese of Dubrovnik states that most weddings of foreign nationals there are of Irish couples. But a number of couples and their invited guests do not go to Confession at all “and still go to receive Holy Communion,” it says.
“Many of them do not observe an appropriate dress code, especially ladies,” it continues.
The letter, signed by Monsignor Ivan Simic, chancellor of the Dubrovnik diocese, continues:
“Very often, wedding candidates put our parish priests under a lot of pressure arranging wedding ceremonies and booking plane tickets and hotels before getting all the necessary wedding papers done, but if they want to get married it is hard to deny them,” it states.
“We think that it would be very useful, for pastoral reasons, to ‘discourage’ those who want to get married outside their parishes, dioceses and country.”
“If they persist in coming to be married in Dubrovnik in spite of your ‘discouragement’, please, ask from them, and we will insist also, that they bring a priest with them to perform the wedding.”
Hmmm… Given the shortage Irish priests, that should just about stop it…