A problem with my father

My parents divorced some years ago (they had a sacramental marriage ). Now they both live more uxorio with their new partners. Yesterday, during dinner, my father told me and my sister that he was thinking about remarrying. I told him that he had just generated me a moral dilemma: I can’t approve his decision, because it’s against God’s law. He is an atheist, so he couldn’t understand my reasons.
Now I fear that this will cause some problems with my family in the future. I love my relatives, but I have to love Christ more. It will be hard, but “I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me” (Phil 4:13 ).

Why does your father re-marrying have to impact your relationship in any way? That’s his decision to make. You’ve already made your disapproval and reasons for it clear, but you can’t force your father to adhere to the precepts of a faith he doesn’t believe in, nor do I think will he, should you try. You’ve done the most you can, barring prayer. You can continue to encourage your father to adhere to Church teaching while maintaining an if not loving, at least respectful, working relationship with him. I don’t see why this issue should cause you any problem if you respect your father’s freedom to behave as he pleases, A) as a man inbued with free will, and B) as your father. Pray for your father and continue to impress upon him the sinfulness of his actions, but don’t push your limits. Any problem caused would be out of an invasion of free will and an overstepping of limits rather than your father’s marital state.


Before you go too far down this path, do you know of any reason your parents first marriage would be invalid? I mean, his second marriage might not be the problem it seems to be.

I do love my father, and I would love him even if he was a devil. But I fear the situation could cause tension.

There’s no reason to doubt the validity of his marriage with my mother.


Fair enough. It’s not like he was going to pursue an annulment anyways, but it might have set your mind at ease knowing the marriage was null.

He was actually thinking about lying in order to obtain an annulment.

That is very good, and your fears are understandable. Try to keep communication open and be as polite and loving as possible. Don’t lose your cool if your words hit deaf ears. Your father’s decisions are ultimately his own, and the most you can do as his son is pray and politely make your objections known. If you don’t sway him now, maybe he’ll be swayed at a later date, but what’s most important for you is that you avoid a big family fight over the issue and keep communication open and running with as little tension as you can.

I am sorry for your predicament. Prayers.


Thanks, brother! God bless.

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Why would he have to seek an anulment if he is an atheist?

Could he simply have a civil weeding? Is that because is future wife is a practicing a Catholic? How could she remains in a good conscience knowing her partner is willing to lie to marry her?

I think that a lot of prudence is involved. You bear no moral culpability for what your father chooses to do. If you wish you could express disagreement with this situation. I have heard that there were some people who would drive just beyond the city limits so that they could say that they were out of town. You could come veryvery late and say that there was traffic. (there is always traffic)

Your dad is an adult, doesn’t share your religious beliefs, and is going to make his own choices.

As a Catholic, you’ve explained to him (gently I hope) that you can’t approve of any decision he makes to remarry, and why. You explained to him the reasons. That’s about all you’re expected to do, or can do, in this situation.

Your dad will still be your dad even if he remarried 20 times. Regarding “family problems”, I’m not seeing the problem unless Dad is insisting that you be his best man or otherwise involving you. If and when he gets a new wife then Christian charity would require you to be kind and friendly to her.

When parents divorce and remarry, it generally causes some tension just because it’s a change and new people are being brought in that the rest of the family has to adjust to. I’m sure this isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world for you. But there’s no need to make a huge moral dilemma out of it. You are not responsible for your father’s moral choices.

I was about to ask the same questions.

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There is a conflict here.

Sacramental marriage is a valid marriage between two baptized Christians.

That’s what I was wondering too.

Figuring Dad was baptized younger at some point.


Sorry, my mistake. I meant that they married in the Church - their marriage wasn’t a civil one.

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He was baptized as a child, but rejected the faith later.

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I’m sorry your father is causing you strife in this way. I certainly understand why it would. And I am disappointed how some Catholics can act like it shouldnt affect you. As if you are some genetically engineered program without feelings for your father, or that you wouldnt still hope to look to your father as a father after you turn legal adult.

As for the marriage, unfortunately, these days tribunals offer decrees on such wide interpretations that we cant always take comfort in their assumptions. Yet, nevertheless we are to respect their authority.

Did he admit to you, that he had intentions of deceit regarding a potential investigation? Or did he imply something you knew was untruthful?

Also, did he marry your mother as a believer?

Try to be humble and make your relations with him express your Hope’s that he will have conversion of heart! Lord hear our prayer.

I fail to understand what you mean here, given that A) No one said it shouldn’t affect him, what people said is that he shouldn’t let something that isn’t ultimately his decision drive an unnecessary wedge between him and his father, and B) one can look to one’s father as a father even if one’s father is a sinner, as all our fathers are. Again, there is no reason for his father’s re-marriage to cause a dramatic family conflict or elicit disrespect towards the father from the OP.

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Yeah, if I was a genetically engineered robot, it might not cause conflict. I happen to be blessed with a father who knows, loves, and tries to give Jesus thanks. And he is married to my mother.

But I can certainly understand how that could cause a conflict in a persons soul.

But as Leonard said, the Lord will give him strength. Which is hope for his father.

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