Bridesmaid for a "Catholic" wedding

I am having a dilemma. I agreed previously to be a bridesmaid for a friend to be married in October. I have encouraged her to attend Church while she is in Florida, but haven’t pushed or nagged about it. I said I would like to gift her with NFP classes, but that was refused.

Recently, reading Christopher West’s “The Good News about Sex & Marriage” he lists the vows a couple takes. The grounds for annulments has much to do with this.

I am now wondering if I can stand up for her as her bridesmaid in good conscious knowing they are marrying in the Catholic church, but are doing little in regards to their Catholic Faith.

Can anyone give me some pointers?

Do you know for a fact the state of their faith? Do you know why they turned down NFP classes? My husband and I practice NFP, and I would still be offended if someone asked if they could give me NFP classes? It kinda feels like someone invading your bedroom and watching you.

You have no idea the status of their faith. If you refuse to be a bridesmaid for this reason, be prepared to be dropped as a friend. If you really feel that they should not get married because they are not good for each other then yes say something, but if it’s just because…hey I don’t think you guys as a couple are going to church enough and practicing your faith in the manner I think is best…then be prepared to be uninvited to be a bridesmaid and to the wedding in general.

You really need to give more detail if you would like advice. Is she Catholic? Is she marrying in the Church or with a dispensation?

I’m in a similar situation (although the wedding is a ways off). Here’s how I look at it:

I’m really thankful she’s getting married in the Catholic Church at all, because for a while that was up in the air. I managed to convince my friend that that was important. And I’m hoping that my friend will continue to grow in her faith…

Your friend is getting married there whether you are there or not. I’m guessing she’s Catholic. Maybe the grace of the sacrament will begin to work in her life (that’s what happened with me! I didn’t even know contraception was against Church teaching until a couple of months after I’d been confirmed… and that was almost a year after I got married {so no it wasn’t mentioned in pre-cana classes for us!)!

Do you think you might, by example be a good influence? That being around you might cause her to open up to her faith a bit more? That’s what I’m praying for at least. It might not work… but not going to the wedding would close doors… and being there for your friend might open them…

I’m not sure I’m right about any of this… It’s hard… but that’s what I’ve worked out for myself… :o

+In all charity . . .

I truly believe that the choice of gift was most inappropriate . . . and a **very real **attempted invasion of the personal intimate privacy of the soon to be married couple in the Lord . . . you way overstepped the boundaries of friendship . . .

The vast majority of grooms . . . as well as their brides . . .perhaps particularly a Christian and Catholic groom and bride . . . would find it more than just a little disturbingly offensive for . . .any outsider . . . to overtly try to meddle in their private personal intimate lives. . . through even the offering of such a gift . . . even priests, doctors and family have to tread very discreetly and softly when giving advice . . . if called upon to do so . . . by the couple . . . so as not to transgress and invade the privacy of the couple . . .

Perhaps you should apologize to this couple . . . for this invasion of privacy in regard to even offering such a gift . . . and go to confession to your priest re same . . . ? . . . and get them something more appropriate . . . *like a toaster . . .? . . . *

*God bless . . . *

*Peace . . . *

[RIGHT]. . . all for Jesus+
. . . Sweet Spirit of our Holy God+
. . . guide and direct+
. . . Blessed Virgin Mary we seek thy prayers
for this situation+[/RIGHT]

In all charity, I am puzzled as to why it would be necessary or even common to learn the so called “Natural” family planning method before participating in the holy sacrament of matrimony.

It is my understanding that Paul VI taught that deliberate use of the infertile periods to avoid conception was grave matter in the absence of serious physical or psychological conditions of husband or wife, or serious external circumstances. It seems to me that the use of such methods as another form of contraception, becase children would be inconvenient to ones life, leads to a situation that is not far removed from the words of the angel Raphael in Tobias 6:15-22.

"*Then the angel Raphael said to him: Hear me, and I will shew thee who they are, over whom the devil can prevail. For they who in such manner receive matrimony, as to shut out God from themselves, and from their mind, and to give themselves to their lust, as the horse and mule, which have not understanding, over them the devil hath power. But thou when thou shalt take her, go into the chamber, and for three days keep thyself continent from her, and give thyself to nothing else but to prayers with her. And on that night lay the liver of the fish on the fire, and the devil shall be driven away. But the second night thou shalt be admitted into the society of the holy Patriarchs.

And the third night thou shalt obtain a blessing that sound children may be born of you. And when the third night is past, thou shalt take the virgin with the fear of the Lord, moved rather for love of children than for lust, that in the seed of Abraham thou mayst obtain a blessing in children. *"

other than the fact that she refused a gift of NFP classes, which is much too personal a gift in any case (so is the good news book unless you know her very well, are related not a sibling, or know it would be welcome) you have no knowledge whatever of the state of her soul or her faith life. From your title she is getting married in the Church so what is the problem?

I’m not sure why you are mentioning annulments in relation to an NFP class. There is no requirement that couples practice NFP, and if they want to learn it, it is their business and not yours.

When you say they are “doing little in regards to their Catholic faith”, what does that mean? I assume that when you agreed to be a bridesmaid, your friend was the same person she is now regarding her faith, whatever that is? I think we need a little more information than you’ve given here.

I can only imagine that your friend was quite offended that you offered to buy her NFP classes. That is quite personal and it is kind of pretentious of you to try to push your views on her (even if it is the views of the Catholic Church). Remember that a large amount of Catholics don’t agree with the church on everything.

I think more details would be of help. You’ll need to outline what they are doing that violates Catholic teachings. If it’s substantial, I think you have good reason as to why you are unable to participate in the wedding. I would be reticient to back a Catholic marriage that wasn’t grounded on the principles Catholic teachings.

I think some of you are being a little uncharitable as well. We do not have enough information to say anything to this person, but we also can’t answer her question. They may be very close and she may know things about the engaged couple that we don’t. For example, perhaps they never go to Church or some other thing. In that case she may be right in questioning whether she should attend such a marriage as they are not practicing their faith, but who knows?

I agree with this BRZ and Soldier of God. We don’t have all the details.

The OP may know that her friend is contracepting and plans on not being open to children (I know my friends are all pretty open about that… heck… they don’t think it’s a big deal to take the Plan B pill…).

Not practicing NFP isn’t a sin (we don’t!) but if she knows her friend is contracepting and plans on continuing it, I don’t think it’s horrible that she offered to pay for the class (especially if they are very close…).

We don’t know all the facts and while it’s not charitable to assume the worst about her friend, it’s also not charitable to assume the worst about the OP, who’s intention is very likely to help her close friend. Just a thought.

This is very true. I think we all know it’s a no brainer that there are Catholics who will often not go to church on Sundays, cohabitate and fornicate with their fiance, while contracepting, even lie to the priest about it, and then go get married in a Catholic Church because “they’re Catholic.” Furthermore, there are some Catholic women who have noooo problem whatsoever telling the world about what her and her boyfriend/fiance did last night, not leaving out a single detail. :bigyikes:

I will first state that I’m close enough to her to be in her wedding, not just invited to it. That being said, she’s been living states away and working on her degree. I have met her fiance two or three times, but not given a chance to get to know him. I guess it might be rude of me to try to teach someone about their faith - I guess it’s because I wish someone would have taught me about it sooner! Maybe mother’s shouldn’t ever buy their daughters a negligee for their shower, but they do that too!

She is contracepting and will continue to do so.

I have asked her before about going to church while she is away at school, so I asked recently if she has started to attend yet. She didn’t answer, instead she chose to tell me they weren’t even going to learn about NFP, which I had NOT asked about. I chose not to ask them the specifics of why because I thought that would actually be stepping into their bedroom and rude.

It actually sounds like many of you could benefit from the Theology of the Body and other items that Christopher West presents in ‘Good news about sex and marriage.’

I do know that I feel even her priest has shortchanged her, all of her marriage prep was done in “an afternoon”.

In order for a marriage to be validly established spouses must: (#4) “consent to what the Church intends by marriage, that is: fidelity, indissolubility, and openness to children.”
Openness to children only part of the time is like saying I will only be faithful to my husband part of the time. Neither one really works in my book, it’s “I do” or “I do not”. Not using NFP isn’t a sin, but contracepting is, even if millions of people do it.

NFP classes don’t just teach how to, but they also teach the background and the theology behind why the Catholic Church is morally against contraception.

I will also say that I became her friend by being a voice of reason for her amidst the chaos of society. I will also say that I used to be a cafeteria style Catholic and I wish someone would have taught me why the Church held it’s belief’s. My life has been a lot better since I got “onboard”.

So, if it’s rude and inconsiderate to help a friend try to make healthy and informed major decision in her life. I’m guilty, but you won’t see me apologizing for it, I see it as my duty. So yes, she might be nearly the same person I told that I would be in her wedding, but I am not the person I was then.

the person to decide if Catholics are properly disposed for the sacrament of matrimony is the priest who is preparing them, not the guests, relatives or wedding party.

If it really would be against your conscience to be a bridesmaid then, you shouldn’t be. Perhaps you could just go to the wedding as a guest instead. I’m not saying that I agree with what she is doing, but I really do think that it is between her and her husband to be, and puzzleannie is right on by saying the only other person who should be involved is the priest.

You barely even know her fiance and you’re already talking about them getting an annulment and making judgments about their openness to children. I understand your concern for her and your wish that she understood the Church’s teaching in its fullness, but I do think it’s overstepping bounds by trying to be her “voice of reason”. She has free will and if you wish to remain a positive example in her life, you’ll need to lead by example and not involve yourself in decisions that are between her and her future husband. I don’t think it’s wrong for you to decide that you can’t, in good conscience, be a bridesmaid, but if you decide that you may end up having to let the friendship go.

+Absolutely true puzzleannie!

The Lord entrusted my life with the blessed opportunity to serve Him as a church secretary for 20+ years . . . and for a number of those years I was the confidential executive secretary to the senior pastor and the wedding secretary for the church . . . we handled sometimes as many as eight (8) weddings a week . . . and I personally prepared each couple . . . all ages . . . for their . . .** Christ Centered** counseling . . . Church counseling . . . and . . . personal couples counseling sessions . . . and coordinated with all the wedding staff members on every single wedding held in our church . . . and though we all had thorough training and much accumulated knowledge & wisdom regarding both weddings & holy marriages in . . . Christ our Lord . . . never for an instant would any of us have presumed it to be our right as a friend, neighbor, relative or church staff member to make ourselves . . . “self styled sex-experts” . . . for the couple. We would have been fired on the spot if we had taken it upon ourselves to presumptiously invade the vulnerable delicate personal privacy of a couple whom our **Wonderul Lord **had brought to us as part of the wedding ministry He . . . **through **His Church **** . . . had entrusted to us to love and care for and guide through this special holy time . . . which we considered and daily experienced as a prayer:gopray2:ful holy joyful service to God . . . in and for His Praise and His Glory.

I cannot fathom why the original poster . . . who seems to be some sort of self styled . . . “Catholic sex-expert” . . . armed with her personal choices of materials on the subject . . . feels she has some sort of right, privilege and duty to invade the personal privacy and vulnerability of this couple . . . judge and find wanting both the couple and their priest . . . and usurp their priest’s/**confessor’s **rightful headship in their lives as their souls spiritual guide and confessor . . . and the shepherd of Christ’s Church where they are to be married and celebrant for their upcoming wedding . . . The couple are seeking to be lawfully married within Holy Mother Church . . . no outsider . . . has the right to judge and find wanting and invade anyone else’s personal life in such a delicate and vulnerable area of their marriage . . . which includes body, soul and spirit . . . except their priest/confessor . . .

In all charity . . . having worked in the heart of the church for so many years . . . I have a great . . . great . . . respect . . . for clergy . . . we have so many good and holy hardworking priests . . . and the original poster’s jumping to a negative conclusion re the priest involved in this marital planning has no valid foundation . . . given the facts of the situation as presented in the original post . . .

To anyone knowledgeable re **Canon Law **regarding marriage . . . ***bishops & priests in particular ***. . . it is well known that there is no Canon Law actually forbidding a priest from marrying a cohabitating couple . . . or a contraceptive couple . . . however both cohabitation . . . where a couple are living as if they are married in every sense . . . is willfully indulging in the grave sin against God of fornication . . . and contraception is also considered a grave sin against the Lord in the Catholic Church. The following is from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and contains instructions for priests when encountering these irregular disordered situations . . .

. . . :coffeeread: . . .
[INDENT]Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth

Marriage Preparation and Cohabiting Couples
Part Two
Pastoral Issues with Cohabiting Couples in Marriage Preparation

  1. If a couple is cohabiting, can marriage be denied or delayed?

**Denial of marriage – **Since cohabitation is not in itself a canonical impediment to marriage, the couple may not be refused marriage solely on the basis of cohabitation. Marriage preparation may continue even if the couple refuses to separate. Pastoral ministers can be assured that to assist couples in regularizing their situation is not to approve of cohabitation. …

6. Should cohabiting couples be encouraged to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation prior to their wedding?

With all couples, celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation [confession] is properly encouraged as part of marriage preparation for the Catholic party or parties. The Catechism states: “It is therefore appropriate for the bride and groom to prepare themselves for the celebration of their marriage by receiving the sacrament of penance” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1622).

:coffeeread: Link:[/INDENT]

[RIGHT]. . . all for Jesus+
. . . thank You dear Wonderful Holy Triune God+
. . . for Thy Holy Pathways of Grace+


+Below is a portion of the Code of Canon Law pertinent to this thread . . .

. . . :coffeeread: . . .
TITLE VII: MARRIAGE (Cann. 1055 - 1165)

**Can. 1055 §1 **The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of their whole life, and which of its own very nature is ordered to the well-being of the spouses and to the procreation and upbringing of children, has, between the baptised, been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.

§2 Consequently, a valid marriage contract cannot exist between baptised persons without its being by that very fact a sacrament.

Can. 1056 The essential properties of marriage are unity and indissolubility; in christian marriage they acquire a distinctive firmness by reason of the sacrament.
Can. 1057 §1** A marriage is brought into being by the lawfully manifested consent of persons who are legally capable. This consent cannot be supplied by any human power.

§2 Matrimonial consent is an act of will by which a man and a woman by an irrevocable covenant mutually give and accept one another for the purpose of establishing a marriage.

**Can. 1058 **All can contract marriage who are not prohibited by law.

**Can. 1059 **The marriage of catholics, even if only one party is baptised, is governed not only by divine law but also by canon law, without prejudice to the competence of the civil authority in respect of the merely civil effects of the marriage.

Can. 1060 Marriage enjoys the favour of law. Consequently, in doubt the validity of a marriage must be upheld until the contrary is proven.

Can. 1061 §1 A valid marriage between baptised persons is said to be merely ratified, if it is not consummated; ratified and consummated, if the spouses have in a human manner engaged together in a conjugal act in itself apt for the generation of offspring. To this act marriage is by its nature ordered and by it the spouses become one flesh.

**§2 **If the spouses have lived together after the celebration of their marriage, consummation is presumed until the contrary is proven.

§3 An invalid marriage is said to be putative if it has been celebrated in good faith by at least one party. It ceases to be such when both parties become certain of its nullity.

Can. 1062 §1 A promise of marriage, whether unilateral or bilateral, called an engagement, is governed by the particular law which the Episcopal Conference has enacted, after consideration of such customs and civil laws as may exist.

§2 No right of action to request the celebration of marriage arises from a promise of marriage, but there does arise an action for such reparation of damages as may be due.

:compcoff: Link:[/INDENT]

[RIGHT]. . . all for Jesus+
. . . thank you Holy Mother Church+[/RIGHT]

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