Can Catholics attend non-Catholic weddings?
Is it sinful for a practicing Catholic to attend a non-catholic wedding (protestant or civil ceremony)?
I understand the difference between sacramental marriage vs civil ceremony. What I'm trying to understand is what if a friend, co-worker or even a non practicing family member invites you to their wedding, can Catholics in good concience attend?
My sister (age 40) is marrying a man (age 47) outside of the Catholic Church and my father is refusing to walk her down the isle or attend her wedding because he believes that it is sinful for a Catholic to attend a non Catholic wedding. What he will be doing by this action is creating a wound and breaking any bond that may potentially lead my sister to the Catholic church through her closest link to it (my father). He is also trying to convince me that it is immoral for me to attend this wedding as well.
I am the mother of 6 children and may someday face this same problem. I can't imagine not being their to support my children at such a momentous event in their life! Since their faith takes a lifetime to live out, I believe that we must trust in the Holy Spirit to help protect & guide our Children to heaven and that along this journey they need the love, protection, nuture and teaching of their families. Our children do not always embrace everything we teach them right away, but over time, they often do come back to their roots or begin to understand what you were trying to impart upon them. If you alienate yourself in such a dramatic way, I'm not sure that you will get another opprotunity to be a spiritual leader in their life.
In this case, my sister fully understands how my father and I both feel about marriage outside of the Catholic Church. She has dialoged with my father and understands that he is not condoning the marriage outside of the Church. Is it possible for him to attend as her father, out of love for her! Is it not possible for him to spend the rest of his days praying for her conversion, as well as her spouse-to-be?
I need to know for his sake as well as my own what the true teachings of the Church are on this matter. At this point, I fully indend to attend this wedding out of love and support for my sister!
Thank you so much.