Attendance at Weddings

I am a faithful, orthodox Catholic who’d like some help with something. I’m a bit confused about which weddings we can and cannot attend. There are a couple of specific example that I would like to mention.

#1 I have two friends who are getting married. Both were raised Catholic, but are currently searching and do not consider themselves to be Catholic. They do not feel comfortable getting married in the Church and therefore are not. They know how I feel about that.

#2 My sister-in-law is gay. She is dating someone who considers herself to be Catholic and her friend follows everything in the Church except for the teachings on homosexuality. My sister-in-law attends Mass with her friend, but I think she would say that she is still searching for her faith. Now, they know exactly where I stand on the issue of their union. We have a great relationship though.

In both scenarios, as I understand it, the weddings are invalid in the Church’s eyes. Yet, it seems as though I am prohibited from attending #2 and am “allowed” (though not necessarily encouraged) to attend in #1. Am I correct with regard to this? I feel like I would be a better evangelist of the faith if I treat them with kindness and attend their ceremonies than if I do not. I am quite certain that not attending either ceremony would do irreperable harm to our relationships and thus, severely affect any future hope of evangelizing.

I’d appreciate any help on this matter.

I can tell you that you can NOT be certain it would do irreparable harm if you attend neither. It may be that you will be a BETTER evangelist for your faith if you do not go. In other words, they will see by your example that you really live your faith. Especially if you tell them and show them your love for them now and in the coming years, explaining to them the reasons. It is like discipline for a child. They do not appreciate or understand now but later (who knows when), it will pay off. Who knows, your firmness of conviction with love (because of your love for them) could be the catalyst that the Holy Spirit uses for their conversion. Having said this, easier said than done. Ask for “fortitude”, a gift of the Holy Spirit, to help you stand by your convictions.

I personally would attend the first wedding, but not the second.

My husband and I were also married outside of the Catholic Church in a civil ceremony/elopement overseas (I wasn’t Catholhic yet - had a Church wedding planned, the military had other plans that day for my hubby :slight_smile: ). It took us 7 years before we actually had our marriage blessed in the Church. We were going to do it earlier but felt uneasy about returning stateside pregnant and getting blessed in the Church! Then other children, moving, etc. came about. During this time we considered ourselves married and the blessing just an “extra” - that God understood our marriage circumstances.

As they grow in searching of the faith, they too will understand the sacraments meaning. Attend the wedding and keep sharing the Faith (but not being pushy of it). You don’t want to push a sacrament on them if they don’t believe in it. In time, with great prayerful friends like you, they too will come Home.

In #1 if they don’t consider themselves to be Catholic, then they are probably not bound by the Catholic form of marriage; therefore, their marriage would probably be valid.

Thanks for all of the help! So the difference between the first and second marriages is that there is at least a hope of the first one becoming valid at some point in the future or it may already be valid. The second one can never be valid. Gotcha.

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