Can I be a best man at a non-Catholic wedding?


#1

Can I be a best man at a non-Catholic wedding? I’m Catholic…the bride and groom are not. More facts…the wedding will be in a Baptist Church and the bride-to-be is pregnant. There have been multiple marriages for both bride and groom.

I want to support them in their decision to be married especially if they’re having a child but I don’t want my participation to condone their decision to have sex outside of marriage. Any help please?:confused:


#2

This is just my opinion. I don't know the church teachings on this.

Some people on here might disagree with me, but I think you can be.

Instead of focusing on their past, try to focus on the future-maybe they'll get it right this time! Remember, they're doing the right thing by getting married and raising the kid.


#3

I don’t think you can be a best man. You can go to the wedding if you think it will enable you to continue to maintain the friendship and help you to evangelize your friends.


#4

I don't think the church is that specific on the scenario that you're describing. If you want to support and be there for him, by all means be the best man.


#5

If they're acting honorably (today, not in the past) given their knowledge, you may feel free to be their best man.


#6

While you may stand in as Best Man, you are prohibited from partaking in any communion service they may present. Discuss this up front so there are no hurt feelings if that is to be part of the ceremony.


#7

The problem is that it would seem to give the impression that I am in full support of someone breaking (and breaking again) previous marriage vows. In the eyes of the Church their previous marriages would likely be valid…they took place in Protestant Churches. For me to stand up for such a wedding seems to be a conflict of morality. I’ll share the letter I sent to him…changing the names…please let me know what you think.

Dear John,

Upon further thought and prayer I realize I cannot be your best man, though on many levels I would like to be. (Because I really like you and have always enjoyed the time I’ve spent with you) However, being Catholic, I am bound to the truth that Marriage is a Sacrament and for me to “stand up” as best man I would have to be able to say, in good conscience, that the Marriage I’m “standing up for” is acceptable in the eyes of the Church. The difficulty is that you’ve been married before and NOT because of your coming child. The difficulty with a previous marriage is that you are still bound, in the eyes of the Church, to fulfill your previous marriage vows…meaning, the promises you’ve made before (even if legally divorced) are “for real” in the eyes of the Catholic Church. (I know you’re not Catholics) My active participation as best man would send a message that I don’t believe what the Catholic Church teaches about Marriage…that it is a lifelong bond/covenant between husband and wife (entered into before God) that, once married, cannot be entered into again by either spouse unless one partner dies. I know that you may not adhere to this view of things…many people don’t…but for me it would be a conflict of conscience to accept your kind offer. I can say that the Lord can and often does work in mysterious ways and I am not attempting to say that I know, fully, the mind of God in your circumstances…so I hope you don’t hear me as telling you what you have to believe (far be it from me…though I obviously believe what I believe…ha!) but I’m merely trying to fill you in on what I believe so that you know I have nothing against you, Lora or your child personally. In fact, you are all beloved and cherished children of God…who can beat that?

I want you to know for sure, from the bottom of my heart, that you will have my prayers and support as you and Lora seek to do the best thing from this day forward. I know you desire to do what is best for your child (who now most certainly has my prayers as well!) If anything, I am very sad that I can’t accept your offer because I do so much want to be involved in your life and don’t want you to feel put off or judged in any way. John, if I was in your situation I might well do the same thing you’re doing because that little boy or girl needs a daddy and I can see many qualities in you that would surely make you an excellent dad. This might be a situation where choosing for one’s own faith is most difficult but nobody ever said it would be easy. We know that people who don’t share our beliefs might easily misunderstand our stance as “holier than thou” but please know that we don’t think ill of you in any way but we do need to remain true to what we believe. I decided to write this in letter form because I was afraid that sharing it via the phone would make my explanation jumbled and confusing…this tends to happen to me in conversation and I wanted to make sure I was as clear as possible for your sake. If possible we would still like to attend your wedding as a sign of our love and support…have to work on it with boss-man in the morning.

Please, hear again, we are here for you…for both of you and you have our sincere prayers and love.
May God richly bless you, His children!
Rob


#8

cuf.org/faithfacts/details_view.asp?ffID=137

Here's a helpful article that I ran across while searching the "Ask the Apologist" posts on this very topic.


#9

[quote="robdaddyf, post:7, topic:194380"]
The problem is that it would seem to give the impression that I am in full support of someone breaking (and breaking again) previous marriage vows. In the eyes of the Church their previous marriages would likely be valid...they took place in Protestant Churches. For me to stand up for such a wedding seems to be a conflict of morality. I'll share the letter I sent to him...changing the names...please let me know what you think.

Dear John,

Upon further thought and prayer I realize I cannot be your best man, though on many levels I would like to be. (Because I really like you and have always enjoyed the time I've spent with you) However, being Catholic, I am bound to the truth that Marriage is a Sacrament and for me to "stand up" as best man I would have to be able to say, in good conscience, that the Marriage I'm "standing up for" is acceptable in the eyes of the Church. The difficulty is that you've been married before and NOT because of your coming child. The difficulty with a previous marriage is that you are still bound, in the eyes of the Church, to fulfill your previous marriage vows...meaning, the promises you've made before (even if legally divorced) are "for real" in the eyes of the Catholic Church. (I know you're not Catholics) My active participation as best man would send a message that I don't believe what the Catholic Church teaches about Marriage...that it is a lifelong bond/covenant between husband and wife (entered into before God) that, once married, cannot be entered into again by either spouse unless one partner dies. I know that you may not adhere to this view of things...many people don't...but for me it would be a conflict of conscience to accept your kind offer. I can say that the Lord can and often does work in mysterious ways and I am not attempting to say that I know, fully, the mind of God in your circumstances...so I hope you don't hear me as telling you what you have to believe (far be it from me...though I obviously believe what I believe...ha!) but I'm merely trying to fill you in on what I believe so that you know I have nothing against you, Lora or your child personally. In fact, you are all beloved and cherished children of God...who can beat that?

I want you to know for sure, from the bottom of my heart, that you will have my prayers and support as you and Lora seek to do the best thing from this day forward. I know you desire to do what is best for your child (who now most certainly has my prayers as well!) If anything, I am very sad that I can't accept your offer because I do so much want to be involved in your life and don't want you to feel put off or judged in any way. John, if I was in your situation I might well do the same thing you're doing because that little boy or girl needs a daddy and I can see many qualities in you that would surely make you an excellent dad. This might be a situation where choosing for one's own faith is most difficult but nobody ever said it would be easy. We know that people who don't share our beliefs might easily misunderstand our stance as "holier than thou" but please know that we don't think ill of you in any way but we do need to remain true to what we believe. I decided to write this in letter form because I was afraid that sharing it via the phone would make my explanation jumbled and confusing...this tends to happen to me in conversation and I wanted to make sure I was as clear as possible for your sake. If possible we would still like to attend your wedding as a sign of our love and support...have to work on it with boss-man in the morning.

Please, hear again, we are here for you...for both of you and you have our sincere prayers and love.

May God richly bless you, His children!
Rob

[/quote]

I think you have a high probability of having one less friend.


#10

I agree, I think you just lost a Best Friend. Place yourself in his shoes. Read that letter as if it was addressed to you.


#11

Your best friend likely knows you are Catholic.

Simply tell him "as a Catholic, I cannot celebrate your wedding. Let's plan dinner at my house the day after you get back from the honeymoon.!"

Friends don't make friends violate their faith.


#12

If you honestly believe that to stand up for your friend on his wedding day would violate your religious principles, well, I guess you have to do what you have to do. But from my perspective, to hold your non-Catholic friends to Catholic standards is just nuts.

I’m inclined to agree.


#13

[quote="rick43235, post:12, topic:194380"]
If you honestly believe that to stand up for your friend on his wedding day would violate your religious principles, well, I guess you have to do what you have to do. But from my perspective, to hold your non-Catholic friends to Catholic standards is just nuts.

I'm inclined to agree.

[/quote]

For the twelve millionth time...

God's laws apply to every one. Jesus was very clear about re-marriage after divorce being adultery. He did not mince words.

That being said, the reason we do not celeberate invalid weddings is because it will be a sin for US to support the sin of adultery and it is the sin of scandal. Again, I don't go because it will be a sin for ME.

I don't ask my Jewish friends to come to my pig roast, not because they hold me to their standards but because I respect THEIR standards.


#14

this almost never happens at a non-Catholic wedding, not an issue, the issue is condoning multiple marriages, the kicker in my book is they are trying to make it right according to their beliefs, and if he protests what is he going to say: one of you abandon the child, or both of you continue living in sin.

If it were my child or if it would be a Catholic involved there would be one response, here I think you have to weigh how best to get your message across that they need to clean up their act, only you know them well enough to decide.

this is discussed frequently on AAA, might be good to look up past discussion for guidance. there is no church law against witnessing a putatively valid marriage between two non-Catholics, if that is the question. Valid is the key word, but unless you are extremely close to them you can’t answer that question, that is why determining validity is a legal procedure. Assume they have gotten the best advice from their own pastor.

I swear we need a macro for this: when you personally have a question about your moral choice in your situation you must take it to your own priest. Anything else you get will be general and most likely will be off the mark for the present situation. Your soul is at stake in moral decisions, don’t rely on the guidance of strangers.


#15

robdaddyf

I think your letter is great, except one thing.

What’s the most hopeful outcome of the whole situation? Meaning, by your decision to stand up for marriage, you are hoping that they might see it too. What if they are humble enough to make the connections that their first marriages were valid and they need to fix the situation?

I think you should add something like “If you understand what I’m saying here and would like help in fixing this situation, I’d love to talk to you more about it”.

Give them hope that all is not lost.


#16

:rotfl:

Is this why my Jewish friends look at me wierd when I offer them my Hot dogs (hey, we have NO IDEA what’s in those!)

For the record, my jewish friends are wonderful people with great senses of humor. We have a blast together!


#17

Buy Hebrew National hot dogs and everyone will be happy.


#18

They’re called Hebrew National because God only knows how there made! And that’s probably a good thing!


#19

The drippings off of hotdogs, once processed at the plant, dissolve over an inch of concrete off the floor each year.


#20

[quote="kage_ar, post:13, topic:194380"]
For the twelve millionth time...

God's laws apply to every one. Jesus was very clear about re-marriage after divorce being adultery. He did not mince words.

That being said, the reason we do not celeberate invalid weddings is because it will be a sin for US to support the sin of adultery and it is the sin of scandal. Again, I don't go because it will be a sin for ME.

I don't ask my Jewish friends to come to my pig roast, not because they hold me to their standards but because I respect THEIR standards.

[/quote]

Matthew 5:31-33 (NIV)

Divorce
"It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.'But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

Would you know the reason for their divorce? If I were your friend, or maybe bestfriend even, I would really be hurt and may distance myself from you as a result. It's really sad that they gave themselves over to lust and fornication instead of keeping themselves pure for their wedding night. However, we may surmise that they are now doing the right thing in getting married. This is where they need your full support instead of you condemnation (deliberate or not). I've read the article at cuf.org/faithfacts/details_view.asp?ffID=137, and it seems to me as if a pharisee wrote some parts of it. It's so legalistic and self-righteous, albeit in a very gentle way.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.


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