Is It Necessary to Renew Your Vows on Your Anniversary?

Anonymous in Arcadia, California, you are
next, listening on 930 AM Immaculate Heart Radio. Anonymous, you are on with
Jimmy Akin. Hello, yes, I actually had one question
that I’d forgotten but I just remembered, so I technically have two questions but
they shouldn’t take that long, if I could try to ask them. Let’s get to them so they’ll
take even less time. All right, thank you. The first one is this: I’m
approaching a 25-year anniversary– Congratulations. Thank you very much.
Is it necessary to to renew your vows? Is it supposed to be done in the context of
the mass, or is it just something optional? How does that work? Well, it
would be so tempting here to briefly deceive you and tell you that you have
to or your marriage expires…but no. Marriage is a for-life thing, and so when
you first validly exchanged your vows back at the beginning of your marriage,
you were married for life. So there is no renewals necessary, no additional fees or
surcharges, no new subscriptions, nothing like that. You’re already married for
life. However, if, as a gesture of your love for your wife, you’d like to renew
your vows, then that’s something that people sometimes do. And it’s
not an actual marriage, because you’re already actually married, but it can be
done as an expression of one’s love and as a renewal of that commitment which
already is there. So it’s something you can do. It is not to my knowledge usually
done in Mass because it’s not an official liturgical function, and so
there’s no provision for it in the texts of the mass. But it’s often done in
churches; in fact, if you go to Cana in Israel, where Jesus was at the wedding of
Cana, and you go to the Catholic Church there, it’s very common for
visiting Catholic pilgrim couples who are married to renew their vows right
there. And that’s typically done by a priest, and your priest in your parish
potentially could do it. I would suggest, just, if you’re interested
in it, saying, you know, “My wife and I are coming up on this anniversary, we’d like
to renew our vows, is there a way we could do that here? Could you do it, or
could you recommend someone to do it?” And see what your priest says. Okay. Thank you very much. What’s your other question? I was defending the perpetual virginity of Mary with
somebody, and I brought up the fact that in James it calls them the brother of the
Lord–or I think it’s Galatians, I’m sorry, and I referenced to them that
it mentions that he’s as an apostle, so therefore it’s not because of the…
each apostle, obviously, none of them were actually blood brothers of our Lord,
it was clearly indicating, you know, that it wasn’t his brother. But
they came up with this notion, there’s actually three James’: the two
James’ in the list of the Apostles, and there’s a third one who is the brother
the Lord. is that even accurate, or is that a new invented scholarship? That is
the standard understanding among most scholars today. There has been a
counter-tradition proposing that one of the twelve who is named James,
James the son of Alphaeus, is also the James known as “the brother of the Lord,”
and that has been advocated by various people in Church history. It’s a
respectable view, it’s possible. Personally, I’m disinclined towards that,
because if you read in the Gospel of John, John says that during the time of
his ministry Jesus’s brothers did not believe in him. And so even
though they later came to believe in him, they didn’t when he was actively
ministering. And since the Apostles were with Jesus during the whole course of
his ministry, that would suggest that none of the apostles were Jesus’
brethren, and they may have had more distant relations, but the ones that the
New Testament talks about as Jesus’s brothers
don’t, to my mind at least–the evidence doesn’t fit well with the idea that any
of them were among the twelve; especially James, because James is the one who’s
named first, whenever we get a list of the Lord’s brothers. That would indicate
he’s the oldest, and if the oldest of his brothers believed in him,
then we would expect that John would note that, because he would be the
most influential of all the brothers. And so if John simply says, as he does, that
his brethren didn’t believe in him, then that would seem to include
the eldest brother, who was James. So that’s what I’d have to say about that.
An alternative understanding of who this James is is that he was not a
half-brother through Mary, but a stepbrother through Joseph. That’s
actually the earliest understanding we have on record of who he and the other
brothers were, that they were stepbrothers through Joseph. Another
theory that was popularized in the 300s is the idea that they were cousins. But
on either of those theories, you’re not required to say that they were
members of the twelve. That’s an independent hypothesis. Okay.
All right, thank you. Thank you very much, and congratulations on 25 years of marriage.
That’s extraordinary.

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