Sunday, January 10, 2016

On the validity of the pre-marriage vows in the film "A Second Chance"

A Second Chance: On the validity of pre-marriage vows. Picture credit: Star Cinema [CC BY 4.0], Wikimedia Commons.

A. The Marriage Vows of Popoy and Basha

In the movie, A Second Chance, starring John Lloyd Cruz (Popoy) and Bea Alonzo (Basha), the couple decided to meet on the night before the wedding--something that Filipino custom prohibits because it is said that it would cause marriage problems in the future.  There before the altar in a church in Antipolo, Popoy made his personal vow to love Basha and she assented to it. Here's the text of the vow as heard in the trailer:

Popoy: Pangako: Mamaya huling beses na nating maghihiwalay. Ito na ang huling gabi na merong ikaw at ako. Simula bukas ang meron na lang ay tayo. Tayo habang buhay. Hindi ka na matutulog mag-iisa and hindi ka na gigising ng wala ako sa tabi mo. Ang itong mga kamay na ito hindi ko na bibitawan, ha? I will never let go ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen....

[Translation: Promise: Later would be the last time that we shall be apart. This shall be that last night that there shall be you and I. Starting tomorrow there shall only be us--us until the rest of our life. You won't anymore sleep alone and you won't wake up that I won't be beside you. And these hands I won't anymore let go--I will never let go ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen....

Basha: ...I love you, I love you, I love you....

Popoy: ...forever and ever. 

The text of the first half of their promise is similar to that in the song, Ben, sung by Michael Jackson:

Ben, the two of us need look no more
We both found what we were looking for
With a friend to call my own
I'll never be alone
...
I used to say, "I" and "me"
Now it's "us", now it's "we"
(I used to say, "I" and "me")
(Now it's "us", now it's "we")
The second half, on the other hand, is also similar in thought to If We Hold On by Diana Ross:
If we hold on together
I know our dreams will never die
Dreams see us through to forever
Where clouds roll by
For you and I

When we are out there in the dark
We'll dream about the sun
In the dark we'll feel the light
Warm our hearts...everyone


B. Are the pre-marriage vows valid as marriage vows?

Late in the film, while they were being interviewed on the state of their marriage, they were asked when was the date of their wedding. Basha gave the exact date (I think it's December 12, but I don't know the year). But Popoy corrected her, saying that he actual date is the day before when they pronounced their pre-marriage vows.


So the question now is this: are these pre-marriage personal vows valid as marriage vows? The answer is no. The Code of Canon Law states:
Can.  1108 §1. Only those marriages are valid which are contracted before the local ordinary, pastor, or a priest or deacon delegated by either of them, who assist, and before two witnesses according to the rules expressed in the following canons and without prejudice to the exceptions mentioned in cann. ⇒ 144, ⇒ 1112, §1, ⇒ 1116, and ⇒ 1127, §§1-2.
In the case of the pre-marriage vows of Popoy and Basha, these cannot constitute marriage vows because it is already defective for several reasons as enumerated by Can. 1108:
  •  There is no priest officiating the ceremony
  • There are no two witnesses


C. The pre-marriage vows of Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet also had similar pre-marriage vows. Romeo was rash in his swearing, but Juliet was more sober. If Juliet had been Basha, she would say (Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2, pp. 5-6):
Well, do not swear. Although I joy in thee,
I have no joy of this contract tonight.
It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden,
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
Ere one can say “It lightens.” Sweet, good night
This bud of love, by summer’s ripening breath,
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.
Good night, good night! As sweet repose and rest
Come to thy heart as that within my breast.
 That's why Juliet challenged Romeo to marry her first:
Three words, dear Romeo, and good night indeed.
If that thy bent of love be honorable,
Thy purpose marriage, send me word tomorrow
By one that I’ll procure to come to thee
Where and what time thou wilt perform the rite,
And all my fortunes at thy foot I’ll lay
And follow thee my lord throughout the world.


Related Posts:


One More Chance Tagalog DVD
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Just Married: The Catholic Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the First Five Years of Marriage
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Ben
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The Knot Ultimate Wedding Planner [Revised Edition]: Worksheets, Checklists, Etiquette, Timelines, and Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
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What Brings a Marriage into Existence?: An Historical Re-examination of the Canon Law of the Latin Church
What Brings a Marriage into Existence?: An Historical Re-examination of the Canon Law of the Latin Church
William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet [Blu-ray]
William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet [Blu-ray]