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Royal wedding shows Britain still cares about marriage, says archbishop

Prince William makes his vows to Miss Kate Middleton Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The royal wedding “gives the lie” to the notion that British society doesn’t care about marriage, the Archbishop of Westminster has said.

Speaking in an interview with the Catholic Herald in Rome this afternoon, Archbishop Vincent Nichols went on to compare the beatification of Pope John Paul II, which takes place tomorrow morning, with the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge which he attended yesterday.

He said: “Tomorrow, in a way, is a celebration of the same love that William and Catherine promised to each other – yesterday in marriage, today in service of priest, bishop and Pope – but it’s the same well-spring of love that comes from God that we see on both days.”

Describing yesterday’s events in Westminster Abbey, Archbishop Nichols said that the crowd cheered at two points during the wedding ceremony. He said: “It was very remarkable when it happened. The first [instance] was when the two exchanged their promises. So when Catherine said ‘I will’ there was a great cheer. People recognised the solemnity of the promises that were being made. The second was when the Archbishop of Canterbury said ‘So in the sight of God and these people I now declare you man and wife’ and there was a great cheer.

“There is popular recognition that marriage is a fresh start. That this from now on was something different and it was a profound change in the life of both those young people. And everybody recognises it. I think that gives the lie to the idea that marriage is of little consequence in our society. It clearly is of great consequence in the eyes of people witnessing and taking part in that marriage yesterday.”

Archbishop Nichols and his predecessor Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor arrived in Rome this morning to take part in tonight and tomorrow’s ceremonies after attending the royal wedding yesterday. Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham and Bishop Arthur Roche were the other two members of the British hierarchy to be in Rome for the beatification of the late pope.

Events leading up to tomorrow’s beatification kick off tonight at the Circus Maximus where the Cardinal Vicar of Rome Agostino Vallini will lead a prayer vigil for pilgrims.