Can I be a bridesmaid in this wedding?


#1

I have been asked to stand for a friend of mine in her upcoming wedding, but I have some reservations about doing so. I have asked my Parish Priest as well as some reliable Catholic friends about this, and I have gotten conflicting advice. My situation is this:

I am a practicing Catholic, and my friend is also a Catholic and attends Mass, but she disagrees with many of the fundamental teachings of the Church (engages in premarital sex, supports homosexuality, etc). Her fiance is not Catholic himself (Anglican, I believe), and they have decided to be married in the Anglican Church. My friend has no plans of consulting her Parish Priest to receive a dispensation from proper form, and to further my concerns, her fiance was actually previously married and has not received an annulment (in fact, this is one of the reasons that she has decided to NOT marry in the Catholic Church as “it would be trickier”).

Now, I know that as her friend and a fellow Catholic, I need to talk to her about this and encourage her to go see her Priest to discuss all of the marriage issues… but in the event that she doesn’t do this, and her fiance doesn’t receive an annulment (and the marriage would hence be invalid), would I need to tell her that I couldn’t be a bridesmaid?

I am just struggling with the pull between acting in such a way that demonstrates support for a union that is invalid (and would therefore be sinful for her to be in) in order to maintain the friendship and hopefully be a good Catholic influence upon her in the future, versus refusing to demonstrate that support (since I believe the whole situation is wrong) and ultimately severing a friendship.

Thoughts?


#2

If your friend is marrying someone while still being married to her first husband because she has not sought an annulment, she is commiting adultery. She is also in a grave situation because she is not getting a dispensation. There are some situations where Catholics can use their own judgement as to whether to attend a wedding or not, but this is an objectively wrong situation on multiple levels. By being a bridesmaid at this wedding you are offering even more consent to what she is doing than you would even by just attending. I would not want to take part in something that is putting your friend's soul in jeopardy. She will be upset, but someday she will understand why you couldn't support her invalid union - whether it's here on earth or in the hereafter.


#3

Well I hate to say it, but given the details you have provided, you shouldn't even attend the wedding as a guest, let alone be a part of the wedding party. It is an invalid marriage, unless she does go through the proper channels, meets with her priest, gets the proper dispensation and all that. There's just no getting around that you would be a witness to an invalid marriage.


#4

Just curious but if she was a real friend, would she not respect your beliefs and understand you can not do it. Anyone who asks you to go against your conscience has no respect for you

CM


#5

I have a little wedding rule... If you're not my BEST FRIEND ever... or my sister, or one of 2 cousins, I pretty much don't plan on being in any other weddings. I suppose I might make an exception. But I don't get into the whole casual participation.

And so I guess I MIGHT tell this "friend". Look, I feel funny about being in your wedding. It has to do with my personal belief structure, and although I recognize your right to practice your faith as you see fit, I would feel hypocritical standing as a witness for your wedding. If she wants better explanation and ASKS for it, I'd then say, well... DF isn't technically available to be married from a Catholic perspective, and you don't seem interested in a wedding as Catholics have them defined. Keep explaining if she wants more info. Otherwise, I would drop it. If this were a blood realative, I'd have a heart to heart with them. If you really feel you can't support the marriage. Like you'd be the person SPEAKING OUT and not holding your peace... then you just need to be honest. I can't support your marriage and be true to who I am. I wish you the best!


#6

[quote="Charlotte1776, post:2, topic:216694"]
If your friend is marrying someone while still being married to her first husband because she has not sought an annulment, she is commiting adultery. She is also in a grave situation because she is not getting a dispensation. There are some situations where Catholics can use their own judgement as to whether to attend a wedding or not, but this is an objectively wrong situation on multiple levels. By being a bridesmaid at this wedding you are offering even more consent to what she is doing than you would even by just attending. I would not want to take part in something that is putting your friend's soul in jeopardy. She will be upset, but someday she will understand why you couldn't support her invalid union - whether it's here on earth or in the hereafter.

[/quote]

its the fiancee who was married before. but other than that, everything you say is correct.

Friendship should mean being honest with each other and calling each other out when necessary.


#7

I wouldn’t - I would just say that for the sake of your friendship you need to agree to disagree but that you cannot be there and that if she respects you then she will understand and not ask you to go against your values.


#8

Thank you all very much for your replies - I knew, in my heart of hearts, before I posted exactly how I felt about the issue, I was just very confused with the advice I was getting (my parish priest said that I should talk to her, but not to risk losing the friendship if she and her fiance decided not to pursue the annulment - and stand at the wedding!!!).

I plan on chatting with her when she comes to visit the first weekend in November, and I will post an update about how it went. Please keep me in your prayers as I work up the strength to have what will undoubtedly be a difficult conversation!


#9

[quote="verstevl, post:1, topic:216694"]
would I need to tell her that I couldn't be a bridesmaid?

[/quote]

To actively participate as a bridesmaid in a wedding ceremony you **know **to be an invalid marriage would be grave matter, in my opinion.


#10

If you have asked your parish priest, you should go by his advice. It is not good to come on this forum and second guess what your priest has told you.

Peace.


#11

I’m sorry to say this, but I wouldn’t be a bridesmaid in that wedding. It seems that she is going out of her way to avoid having a proper, sacramental wedding on purpose.

I would kindly tell her that it won’t be possible to be her bridesmaid, without going into too much detail as too why. If she knows you, and how much you value your faith, then she probably knows why you would be declining.


#12

I think the Catechism speaks directly to this question:

1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:

  • by participating directly and voluntarily in them;

  • by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;

  • by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;

  • by protecting evil-doers.


#13

[quote="turtle18, post:10, topic:216694"]
If you have asked your parish priest, you should go by his advice. It is not good to come on this forum and second guess what your priest has told you.

Peace.

[/quote]

Even a priest can give bad advice, and one should certainly second guess that advice if it doesn't seem like advice a Catholic should be following.


closed #14

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