Attending secular marriage of fallen away Catholic


#1

My brother was married in the Church 25 years ago and had a civil divorce a few years later. He is planning to remarry outside of the church and did not seek an annulment. I will not be attending the wedding and I've told my parents that as practicing Catholics they can not assist or attend, but they have ignored my warning. What church teaching can I point them to that would enlighten them on this matter?

Thank you,
Tersila


#2

I'm no expert but I don't think the Church has given an explicit ruling on attending or not attending invalid marriages. There's a more general statement on not giving tacit approval of sin, which attending the marriage could be seen as.

But in general people are asked to prayfully discern their level of involvement and I think the Church is very wise to not give a clear ruling on the matter. Attending a wedding may be seen as approval of sin. But not attending a wedding can split families and cement a negative view of the Church...sometimes permanently. Remember this is your sibling but he is their child. As parents they're dealing with a different set of emotions than you are.

I would take a glance over some threads here with similar topics especially in the "Ask An Apologist" section. This "should I attend an invalid marriage" comes up a lot in many different forms from the perspective of a variety of different relationships.


#3

[quote="Kit15, post:2, topic:244814"]
I'm no expert but I don't think the Church has given an explicit ruling on attending or not attending invalid marriages. There's a more general statement on not giving tacit approval of sin, which attending the marriage could be seen as.

I would take a glance over some threads here with similar topics especially in the "Ask An Apologist" section. This "should I attend an invalid marriage" comes up a lot in many different forms from the perspective of a variety of different relationships.

[/quote]

I agree with this. You are brave for standing up for the faith and I'm sure you realise your brother might get upset over your decision. But as followers of Christ we have to go against certain pressures and suffer for it. It is good that you have informed your parents but I wouldn't pressure them if I were you. It is probably not easy for them to decide either way. Hopefully your brother will sort out his situation one day.


#4

I am in a similar situation. My younger sister thinks the church is “mostly bull$#!t” and is getting married in October at a botanical garden (to a non-Catholic.) She was baptized and confirmed, so I know her marriage will be invalid. I’m really torn as whether to attend or not. She knows how I feel and that I am sad for her choice, but I love her dearly (she’s my only sister and we’re only 28 months apart - we’ve always been close) and I know that by not attending, I would break my parents’ heart and cause a lot of grief in our family. My parents also wish she’d marry in the church, but they said there is no way they aren’t going to attend their daughter’s wedding.

Then, I have the whole issue about letting my kids attend and be in the wedding! This is a hard spot to be in because you are being pulled in so many directions. I feel for you. I can’t say what to do, but I am leaning toward writing my sister a letter explaining that I will attend the wedding out of love for her and to keep peace in the family, but also charitably laying out my concerns and objections and letting her know that I will pray for her and her husband. She thinks I’m being dramatic and cultish. I think she’s being immature and irresponsible. But at the end of the day, we’re sisters and we love each other. It’s hard.


#5

I believe that at the expense of sounding like a martyr, this is the time for white martyrdom. Are we choosing our loved ones over the lover and His church. Are we ‘loving’ each other to death (spiritually speaking)? I have had my share of grief for my intolerance, but in the words of G. K. Chesterton, “Tolerance is the virtue of a man without conviction”. If it is an offense to God and His church, If it puts the soul of the loved one in jeopardy, even at the expense of being isolated and called judgmental, I will NOT attend!


#6

[quote="Tersila_Romero, post:5, topic:244814"]
I believe that at the expense of sounding like a martyr, this is the time for white martyrdom. Are we choosing our loved ones over the lover and His church. Are we 'loving' each other to death (spiritually speaking)? I have had my share of grief for my intolerance, but in the words of G. K. Chesterton, "Tolerance is the virtue of a man without conviction". If it is an offense to God and His church, If it puts the soul of the loved one in jeopardy, even at the expense of being isolated and called judgmental, I will NOT attend!

[/quote]

OK. So don't attend. With your attitude I doubt that you'll be missed.


#7

If you don’t want to go, then don’t go. Your parents probably realize that if they alienate their son they don’t stand a chance to help him fix it later. Attending the wedding doesn’t mean your parents agree with him and support him. He knows that they don’t agree with him, and he knows that they don’t approve. Right now he’s doing wrong. That doesn’t mean he won’t wake up and fix it later. By not alienating him, your parents know that they can gently re-catechise him and support him along the way, and especially, when it comes time for him to return to the Church. If it’s not them, it won’t be anyone probably.


#8

The church allows us to make a choice as to attendance. We can choose not to and state the reason why. We can choose to go and state that we do not approve and are willing to assist the person to make things right with the church. It really depends upon the situation and the people involved and our ability to help bring about the desired out come.


closed #9

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