MANILA, February 26, 2003 ( – The Roman Catholic bishop of Legazpi, 200 miles southeast of Manila, says it would be more in keeping with the significance of the publicly celebrated Sacrament of Matrimony if brides who are visibly pregnant are married in private instead.  Pregnancy outside marriage is “a counter-symbol to the purity, chastity and beauty of the bride of Christ, the Church,” Bishop Jose Sorra explained, adding that his guidance is necessary to protect church marriages from ridicule. One bride went into labour during the wedding mass and had to be taken to hospital, he said, adding: “A white bridal gown over a conspicuous pregnancy is a contradiction of symbol or a ludicrous confusion of symbols.”“Brides who are conspicuously pregnant are to be discouraged and disallowed from having public weddings,” Bishop Sorra said in a directive to his priests. “They may be married in a private ceremony within the parish church or chapel (not in a house unless very sick or bedridden), or may postpone such church marriage until after having given birth,” he said.  For BBC coverage see:


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