Can I attend my friends wedding?


I’ll try to be brief. I have a friend who is an atheist. He has been living with his girlfriend in an apartment for a couple of years now and they are planning on getting married. I am invited to the wedding. But I have heard that as a Catholic, one isn’t allowed to be a witness to a non-christian wedding because it isn’t as God intended for marriage to be.

Is this true? If so, any suggestions on how to break it to him that I can’t attend his wedding? :o


where did you hear this? might try searching AAA where this question is answered regularly. The Church does recognize marriages contracted between non-Catholics who are otherwise free to marry and yes you can attend. No you could not attend a marriage between two who are not free to marry–two divorced persons, gays attempting a mock marriage, a Catholic who refuses to marry according to Church laws.

But bear in mind it is not likely if someone is a casual friend that you know all their background so you can’t make assumptions based on outward appearance, either. For all you know this couple may have been living chastely together–we are obligated in Christian charity to put the kindest possible interpretation on anything we observe. In any case, rejoice that they are bringing an irregular situation in line and pray for their joy in marriage and that it will be a means of grace for them.


You are fine to go. Take it as an opportunity to do a lot of praying for this couple…just because God is not in their life not does not mean he will not squeeze his way into their marriage down the line.


I do think a couple of teachings are being mixed namely 1) Contributing to the sins of adultery when divorced people are involved or 2) Contributing to the sins of denying the Church when a Catholic is marrying outside the Church without dispensation. However the lost issue is the Church recognizes Natural Marriages which is two non-Catholics. So the import issue is do you know a sin is involved? If yes there is a problem and if no then there is not a problem.

hope that helps


I think I read something like this on this site actually, but I don’t remember. And he is a very close friend of mine, so I know exactly what their situation is(a cohabitating,unmarried couple who have been sexually active). Even Knowing this, can I attend?

So I can attend even If I know they were engaging in sex outside of marriage?(He has been very open about this fact, so I know for sure).

So, define Natural Marriage, I’m sure they will be civilly marrying each other. I’m I allowed to be a witness to that? Can I attend without feeling guilty?


Yes, and cohabitation is a form of Natural Marriage, as noncatholics they are simply not under Canon Law, so Canon’s cannot be broken. If the other conditions do not exist (divorce or protestant support) then there is no bind on you. Remember Jesus was at the Cana wedding before Catholicism, Canon Law, or Protestantism existed.


Ah I understand now. Thanks to you and to all who helped me clarify this. :wink: God Bless.


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