James Downey: Marriages are best made on earth, not in heaven
We are not clear on where the role of the State ends and where the role of the individual or some other institution begins
EVERYBODY seems to have forgotten the affair of the Lourdes marriages. Not surprising, perhaps, because it happened a long time ago, in the 1970s. But even people who were adults at the time tell me they have no recollection of it and find it hard to believe the manner in which it was resolved.
It happened like this: a large number of Irish couples, possibly in their hundreds, were married in Catholic ceremonies in Lourdes over a period of several years. They did not realise that under French law these ceremonies did not count. The law required them to take part in a civil ceremony in order to make their marriages valid.