One of my best friends has asked me to be the best man at his wedding next July. I was so happy by the news of his impending marriage, as well as being offered the position of BM, that I accepted without thinking. My friend is a nominal Protestant and his fiancé was baptized by a Catholic priest as a baby. I do not know if she was ever confirmed. She has not attended Mass in years, according to her. My question is whether or not I can be the best man in a Protestant-lapsed Catholic wedding. Thanks.
I believe unless the woman gets permission to marry outside the Catholic Church that the answer is sadly NO.
That’s too bad. Well, there is some hope. My friend has been attending Mass with me. He asked, a few weeks back, what it would require for him and his fiancé to be married by a Catholic priest. I told him his fiancé would need to return to the Church and then they’d need to speak with a priest about the next steps. Perhaps I should encourage them to do this?
By all means do encourage it. perhaps God is using you as His tool to get them both back to the Catholic Church.
First, get yourself to a good, solid priest in whom you have confidence and explain the situation to him. Ask him how you ought to handle the situation, both in terms of being the best man and in terms of helping to lead your friend and his fianceé to the Church. Then bring them to speak with Father.
In my opinion, the goal here is to helpt them find their way to the Church and to a sacramental marriage, so consult with a wise priest and follow his advice.
And, of course, pray for them!
Question for anyone. Is being a best man to a wedding such as this different from being an usher, a parent, or any other attendee? Is skipping the church in favor of attending the reception acceptable? What if there are two non-Catholics instead of fallen-away Catholics? Where exactly is the line drawn?
Generally protestant weddings are not worship services. Protestants or two non-baptized persons are not bound by Catholic laws about place and witness of the Church. Unless there is a divorce or something that impedes a marriage, why would it be a problem to be in the wedding in any functional position. If a Catholic Judge can marry non-Catholics why not?
In this situation I would talk to the bride and groom to be and let them know your dilemma in charitable way. Ask her if she is aware that it’s appropriate for her to get a dispensation from the Church to marry outside of it. I doubt that she is. If her parents are practicing Catholics, play that card. Let her know that they will really appreciate the respect she shows them by going through this simple process. Have all the information she needs ready for her. Remember, she has a zillion and one details she’s fretting over just getting ready for the wedding, and this wasn’t one of them. You have to make this easy for her. Tell her that you are more than willing to introduce her to your parish priest who can help her with the process, and make sure that they both understand that you are not condemning or judging them. This is an act of love. If after your best efforts they refuse, then I would respectfully bow out of the role of best man.
Thank you to everyone who has offered their advice. I will meet with my parish priest when he returns from vacation in a few days. I will pray for them and I ask that everyone here pray as well. Thanks and God bless.
While I agree with all of my friends above, I tell you, be your friends BM. God wouldn’t want you to be Self-righteous or judgemental enough to create a rift at your best friends wedding, he would want you be with your friends.
Maybe thats the best way to bring your friends to Catholicism:
act as Jesus would.
I would think so too. Is it necessary to contact your priest everytime you get a wedding invitation? Or want to attend a funeral service or an organ recital?
Maybe someday that “status” as his best man will allow you an inroad to say or do something that will lead to his conversion and her return…especially if he’s been attending mass with you.
This may be a great opportunity in disguise!
As for the actual question, you really should not attend as the best man. If they convert before marrying, by all means, go for it. As Catholics we’re allowed to attend but are not to actively participate, whether as best man or maid of honor, usher, witness, etc. I myself had to do this recently when a friend of mine married (Mormon). She was disappointed, and disagreed with my decision (still does) but our friendship did not end over that. Pray for strength to do the right thing, and for wisdom to explain why.