The "Echo" says: - It has been the custom in many large parishes to
distribute the marriage service, when a great number of couples are to be
married, by reading the opening and closing portions 'pro bono publico', and
only repeating the sacramental vows for each pair.
We have even heard of a case where a clergyman, wearied with the reiteration
of the formula appointed for the publication of banns, read out
straightforward the names of forty men and women consenting, and then simply
added, "If any of you here present know any just cause or impediment why
"all these people" should not be joined together in holy matrimony, you are
now to declare it."
This kind of marriage "en masse" - which rather reminds us of the recent
American announcement that lions and tigers are now sold ' wholesale' in
London - has proved a stumbling block to the REV. DR. LEE, curate of Preston
parish church. He has had conscientious scruples about curtailing the
marriage service, and making the "Dearly Beloved" with which it begins apply
to more than a couple at a time.
Accordingly on Christmas Day, there being no fewer than twenty-two pairs
anxious to avail themselves of the day's holiday to fasten the knot, DR. LEE
patiently went through the entire office twenty-two times, beginning at nine
in the morning, and only ending after eleven o'clock, when the ordinary
congregation had already assembled, and found themselves unexpectedly
witnesses of the interesting ceremony.