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A Pillar Podcast update: The Oklahoma canonical mini-mystery

The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City says it has not been approached about the possibility of establishing a Catholic chapel at the Oklahoma ranch of country singer Blake Shelton.

Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton. Credit: Trae Patton/NBC

In December, celebrity magazine Us Weekly reported that Shelton built a Catholic “chapel” on the grounds of his ranch in anticipation of contracting marriage with pop icon Gwen Stefani, who is a Catholic.

After Stefani was reported this month to have received a declaration of nullity regarding her first attempted marriage, to 1990s rock star Gavin Rossdale, accounts of the apparently constructed chapel were repeated in celebrity gossip columns.

The Pillar asked the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, in which Shelton’s ranch is located, about the canonical status of the chapel, after listeners of The Pillar Podcast inquired insistently about the matter.

According to Diane Clay, a spokesperson for the Oklahoma City archdiocese, Shelton and Stefani “haven’t approached the archdiocese about the chapel.”

Canonists (namely Ed and JD) had previously speculated that the archdiocese might have approved either a “private chapel” or an “oratory” on the grounds of Shelton’s ranch.

A “private chapel” is a designated sacred space in which the Eucharist may be reserved, and Mass and other public liturgies may take place with ecclesiastical permission. An “oratory” is a sacred space in which the Eucharist may be reserved, and in which Mass and other public liturgies may be celebrated regularly.

But the “chapel” reportedly built by Shelton seems to have no official ecclesiastical recognition. A wedding between Catholics is ordinarily required to take place in a sacred place, but with permission of the Archbishop of Oklahoma City, Shelton and Stefani could still be wed in the space if it were judged to be suitable for a wedding.

The chapel’s canonical status was discussed at length on the Jan. 15 episode of The Pillar Podcast.

For in-depth discussions of all canonical trivia related to pop culture and celebrity weddings, The Pillar Podcast is the only place to go. Seriously, we’re the only people in the world talking for 20 minutes about the canonical status of Blake Shelton’s chapel. There is, as it were, No Doubt about it.

When it comes to canonical/celebrity crossover trivia, we Don’t Speak until we know the facts.

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