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A ghost at the royal wedding

April 29, 2011 |  9:26 am

Royal Wedding Ceremony

I'm not a monarchist, but I am a liturgy buff. So when I watched a recap of the royal wedding, I was struck by the fact that, except for the omission of a promise by the bride to obey her husband, the language of the vows and the archbishop's exhortations was old-school, from the Book of Common Prayer, not some newfangled order of service.

I was especially interested in the reference to the third person of the Trinity as "Holy Ghost," not "Holy Spirit." Holy Ghost is how he (it?) was introduced to me in Catholic school and there was much levity about whether the Holy Ghost knew Casper the Friendly Ghost. (Years later, one of my college professors told us a mouldy joke about the way a beatnik (!) referred to the Trinity: Daddio, Laddio and Spook.)

But my preference for HG over HS is more than a matter of nostalgia. Preserving the old form is a mini-lecture in the history of the language for new generations, just as the phrase "the quick and the dead" in the Apostles' Creed causes kids to look for other uses of "quick" to denote something living -- as in the quickening of an unborn child or the pain when someone is cut to the quick.

I pray to the Holy Ghost that the royal couple's antiquarianism catches on.


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Full coverage: The royal wedding

-- Michael McGough

Photo: Kate Middleton and and Britain's Prince William hold hands during the wedding service at Westminster Abbey, conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, London, Friday April 29, 2011. Credit: AP Photo/Dave Thompson, Pool

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