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Evvaj wrote:

Hi, guys —

I would like to know what the Catholic answer is regarding these marital issues:

  • Does the tradition of a dowry go back in Catholic history?
  • Is this where the idea of the bride's parents paying for the wedding came from?



  { Does a dowry go back in Catholic history and is this where the bride's parents paying is derived? }

Richard and Mike replied:

Hi, Evvaj —

Thanks for your questions!

Dowries don't appear to be especially connected with Catholic marriage practices. They were a custom in many countries and cultures before Christianity began in the world, and appeared in both Christian and non-Christian cultures. They persist today in India, for example, and in certain African cultures. The Catholic Encyclopedia under the Sacrament of Marriage says the following about a dowry:

The dowry, the use of which devolves on the man, is given as a contribution towards bearing the natural burdens of marriage, i.e., the support of the family, and the education of the offspring, not as the price of the sacrament.

Best wishes —

Richard Chonak and Mike Humphrey

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