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Church newspaper slams bishop for spicy wedding

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN — The Church of Ireland bishop who married Posh Spice Victoria Adams and Manchester United soccer star David Beckham last month has been criticized by his own church’s newspaper for taking part in the extravagant wedding and agreeing to the granting a special marriage license.

Bishop of Cork Paul Colton conducted the service in a "folly" temple at the exclusive Luttrellstown Castle in County Dublin last month, said the Church of Ireland Gazette, which also criticized preferential treatment being given to "high-profile, wealthy people."

It claimed most priests would "shiver" at the ostentation of the Beckham-Adams wedding, which reputedly cost £500,000.

The soccer star and the pop star were reported to have been paid £1 million by a picture glossy magazine OK! for exclusive photographs of the star-studded event, which was surrounded by tight security.

"We are not suggesting awe and holiness were lacking at the marriage of David and Victoria," the newspaper’s editorial said. "But nonetheless, many parish priests will shiver as they look at the photographs that have been published — the exotic location, the extravagance, the amount of money that must have been paid out for the pictures."

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The newspaper also criticized the granting of a special license to the Beckhams that allowed them to marry in the castle grounds instead of in a church. It said it was appropriate to issue special licenses where a couple could not reasonably attend a parish church or where a wedding was to be held in a place of worship which was not a parish church, like a university chapel.

"It is surely a statement of sober fact that David Beckham and Victoria Adams managed to have a highly idiosyncratic marriage in an exotic location because they were a high-profile wealthy couple.

"If that is so, it is very far removed from the radically other-worldly standards that should characterize the Christian community.

"We can certainly hope and pray that Sunday, July 4, was a day richly blessed for Victoria and David, but for the Church of Ireland the memory of the occasion may appropriately be described as bittersweet."

The bishop told newspapers he regarded the Gazette article as "naive" and that to reply specifically to it would constitute a betrayal of his pastoral contact with the couple.

Colton was rector of Castleknock, where Luttrellstown is located, before he was made bishop of Cork.

An editorial in the Gazette earlier this year caused controversy when it criticized Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and his partner, Celia Larkin, for traveling together on international state visits even though he is separated from his wife, Miriam.

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