[quote="3675864, post:1, topic:234094"]
My brother, a divorcee, has just gotten engaged to a lady, who is also divorced.
He, a Catholic, did not pursue an annulment for his marriage (I don't think he was interested in seeking to obtain one - he has had plenty of time to do so). The lady he is engaged to is a divorced Protestant. Both had unfortunate marriages: my brother married foolishly and the marriage failed, whilst his new lady's husband left her and her two kids for another woman.
I am not sure what to say to my brother. I can't congratulate him, despite that being the expectation of my parents, who I live with. My other siblings have congratulated him.
Next weekend, they will visit the family home, and I will have to say something. :shrug:
There could be a big row if I don't congratulate them, yet what else can I say to them both?
I spoke to a priest and he said that I could affirm with my brother that I love him, but because of my beliefs I cannot support what he is about to do. I would also offer my prayers. But what can I say to the lady?
I have to say something when they walk into the house. I can't just pretend it hasn't happened. They won't be open to any counsel from me so I'd be wasting my time with that.
I have decided not to go to the registration ceremony, but the priest said I could go to the meal afterwards, as Jesus ate with sinners... Whether I'd be welcome to the meal is another matter.
There is a possibility that I might 'lose' my brother if I do what is right by my Catholic faith. Whether I 'had' him in the first place if that happens, would be another question.
The thing is, your brother is not lost forever. He's just lost right now. There may be a time in the future when he "gets it" and fixes it. And he and his future wife can do that. But understand that (IMOHO) this will not happen if he is alienated or otherwise harassed.
You can support him without condoning what he is doing. You can explain to him that you love him, but don't approve of what he is doing or the way he is doing it and tell him WHY. Show him the CCC and explain why you are worried about him and her. Explain that you would love to see him married to his future wife, but pray that he would follow the rules of the Church and get the annulments first. But all that won't happen if you don't get through to him.
If you already know that he will reject everything you say, that means that he knows and chooses not to follow those rules. But again, that doesn't mean that he won't fix it later. Even if it means that he won't listen to you at all right now, he may listen to you if you encourage him to fix it later. But I promise, I strongly feel that he won't listen to you at all if you alienate him. No one likes to be told what to do, no one likes demands to be made of them, and I don't know anyone who invites people to poke their nose in their life and their life decisions.This is a consenting adult with knowledge of your opinions. So if you handle it with care, you can help him fix this later.
I would not come out and congratulate him. But I would be cordial, inviting, and supportive to both of them. I would treat them both the same. I wouldn't say anything to one that I wouldn't say to the other. I would accept her as your brother's mate and pray for them both that they fix this error that they are going to make. I'm sure that there is something else you can say besides "congratulations on your big mistake, I hope you fix it later". You might say, 'congratulations, I am happy you found someone to share the rest of your life" and then when you have the opportunity, start encouraging him to fix it and be in communion with the Church.
But I would encourage you to make sure he doesn't feel like you are judging him, looking down on him, or forcing your opinion on him. Because he's going to get married to this woman. So you can only move forward, not look back.
Just my OHO.... it seems like you're standing alone, and you can only do so much alone...