Can my wife be a bridesmaid at non-Catholic wedding?


#1

Hello. My wife and I are both practicing Roman Catholics. Her brother who is not Catholic (non-practicing Lutheran) is marrying a girl who is Catholic but non-practicing. M ywife is wanting to know if it would be ok if she was a bridesmaid for this wedding in a Lutheran church. I really do not know what to tell her. We will ask a priest about the same situation but wanted to see what others felt on the issue. Thanks for reading.


#2

This sort of topic comes up rather frequently her at CAF. This thread from the Ask an Apologist Forum has some helpful information:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=167154

In short, your wife’s brother’s fiance (as a Catholic) is required to marry in the Catholic Church or receive a dispensation to marry outside the Church. Otherwise, the Church will not recognize her marriage as valid.

Personally, I think the best thing your wife could do is to encourage her brother and his future wife to take the steps that would be needed to have the marriage recognized by the Catholic Church (i.e. see her pastor about the marriage preparation required by the Catholic Church and request a dispensation to marry in his Lutheran Church).


#3

Since she is related to the non-Catholic individual seeking marriage in his own church, I would be inclined to say that she might be able to be a bridesmaid. Definitely talk to your priest about it.

My husband and I attended the wedding of his best friend (non-practicing Protestant), and he married according to the rules of his own church, having his family pastor there and everything. The problem for us was that the bride was non-practicing Catholic, and we didn’t know her that well. We struggled with the decision for months, and decided that we didn’t want to hurt/alienate his best friend, who was doing everything on his end to attempt a valid marriage.

I still have to see my confessor about this, to see if any sin was committed, so please talk to your priest first. :o


#4

Seems you have a Catholic entering a non valid marriage. Catholics cannot participate in such a sin. The AAA forum has answered this many many times.


#5

And to add to what Kage_Ar said, I have also read in this forum that the non practicing Catholic would need to officially renounce their faith (I think this is done by sending a letter to the Bishop), in order to not be considered a Catholic anymore. Then, it would be ok (but sad) to attend the wedding as it would be a Protestant marrying a non religious.

Personally though, I would probably attend the wedding anyways. I think if someone wants to renounce their faith, they shouldn’t need to send a letter to the Bishop if in their heart, they are truly not a Catholic anymore. If the non practising Catholic still went to mass every so often and called themselves Catholic, that would be another story for me.


#6

Actually, the Canon Law has been changed and one can no longer formally defect.


#7

Wow I had no idea Kage_Ar. It was kind of strange to have to write a letter.

So I guess this situation really depends on a few more specifics, like if the non practising Catholic truly does not feel Catholic anymore.


#8

[quote="kage_ar, post:6, topic:184627"]
Actually, the Canon Law has been changed and one can no longer formally defect.

[/quote]

I believe you when you say that's true, but that really makes no sense to me.


#9

I see these threads all the time. I am going to continue to give the same answers here that I have given before.

I’m sorry, kage_ar, I do not believe we can conclude that the marriage is invalid. The link posted seems to suggest it would be presumptively valid. I certainly think there is no ‘sin’ intended. As to ‘participating in a sin,’ what are you referring to? Attending the wedding? Being a bridesmade? IMHO, neither constitues a sin, particularly since the parties appear to be trying their best to undertake a Christian wedding. I have gotten blasted in the past for this, IMHO by some overly scrupulous folks who see sin – and particulalrly mortal sin --everywhere, and I may very well get blasted again, but it does not change my answer a whit.

I echo Thomas’ position that the OP should try to induce brother to get the marriage recognized by the Catholic Church.

To the OP, I say, go and enjoy your brother’s wedding. BTW, boycotting your own brothers’ wedding is sure-fire way to destroy the extended family relationship, IMHO. Good luck ever seeing future neices/nephews if you do…


#10

To the bolded statement: Why bother if it isn’t a sin otherwise? If its not wrong for a Catholic to marry outside of the church, why bother with getting it recognized by the church…furthermore, you even admit that its not recognized by the church in your wording in this statement, so if its not recognized, it isn’t a marriage. Which is it?

Catholics are bound by Canon law to the sacraments. From what we read here, this particular catholic is not doing things within canon law, therefore, the sacrament is invalid, because you need correct form and matter to have a valid sacrament.

Therefore, witnesses knowing this are attending 2 people who are having a party celebrating their fornication. (I realize that this is probably NOT what the 2 people intend or think, or otherwise), but that is the objective truth of the situation. The seal from the sacrament will be missing, therefore there will be NO GRACE in their marriage. Therefore, lots of the problems that come with fornication outside of marriage (participating with out the sealing grace from the sacrament) will come to them.


#11

[quote="VonDerTann, post:9, topic:184627"]
I see these threads all the time. I am going to continue to give the same answers here that I have given before.

I'm sorry, kage_ar, I do not believe we can conclude that the marriage is invalid. The link posted seems to suggest it would be presumptively valid. I certainly think there is no 'sin' intended. As to 'participating in a sin,' what are you referring to? Attending the wedding? Being a bridesmade? IMHO, neither constitues a sin, particularly since the parties appear to be trying their best to undertake a Christian wedding. I have gotten blasted in the past for this, IMHO by some overly scrupulous folks who see sin -- and particulalrly mortal sin --everywhere, and I may very well get blasted again, but it does not change my answer a whit.

I echo Thomas' position that the OP should try to induce brother to get the marriage recognized by the Catholic Church.

To the OP, I say, go and enjoy your brother's wedding. BTW, boycotting your own brothers' wedding is sure-fire way to destroy the extended family relationship, IMHO. Good luck ever seeing future neices/nephews if you do...

[/quote]

Thanks for the advice. Now that you speak of my brother's wedding. That's a whole different ballgame. He willingly left the Church and is getting married in a non-denom church. Before all this ridiculous nonsense all happened, he said the wedding and marriage is between him, her, and God. So in that case, should it really matter if we are there or not? Really, think about that. My family and I believe strongly in standing up for Christ's Church. My conscience keeps telling me to not witness this. My brother says " sorry, this is just what I believe now" and I just tell him, "well this is what I believe". He has caused my parents so much grief and he doesn't care. He would enjoy the day much better without us there because then he wont have to look over and see my mom crying, etc. It seems nobody ever stands up for anything anymore. I have spoken with 2 priests about the situation and they told me if it was them, they would not attend. They told me to tell my brother I love him very much and explain why I cant attend. I have done that part and of course my brother was upset but this is his fault. He didnt have to leave the Church. He could have got a dispensation and stayed Catholic. If he did that, we would be there supporting him on his wedding day. He opted to go the wrong way with this. Even if he doesnt understand all of Catholic teachings, he doesnt need to leave the Church. He could easily do some good research. Their are sources available. I have spoken to my brother about this. He is so brainwashed with "Bible Alone" it is ridiculous. I ask him to show me where it says that in the bible and he cant show me. Of course, because it doesn't say that. Well, anyways, thanks for replying and I am not being bitter to you at all. I am very upset with my brother and his dumb choices.


#12

If going to a non-Catholic wedding is a sin, then I'm in big trouble!

Only one of my friends had a wedding in our Catholic church, and her husband isn't Catholic, so it wasn't a TRUE wedding then. I guess.

My boyfriend and I are planning on going to Vegas and getting married, now I'll have to tell him that I will burn in Hell (he's fine though, he's a non-denominational Christian and "once saved, always saved" is his motto). :D


#13

Think you’ve got it mixed up. Non-catholics can get married wherever. It is catholics that must be married in the Catholic church.

We are talking about a Catholic in this situation.


#14

Okay, so as a Catholic woman, if my boyfriend (non-Catholic) and I wanted to get married outside of the Church (to avoid fights over the location) I would be commiting a mortal sin. But he would be off the hook? Weird.
And my friend, who is Catholic, when she married her husband (non-Catholic), got married in the Catholic church building, but with no priest, they are sinning as well. At least my friend and I will be together in our fornication.


#15

You might want to reign in the shock comments. It doesn’t help the conversation.

No, you’re boyfriend would not be off the hook. It isn’t a valid marriage all the way around. I was talking about non-catholics, BOTH of the couple being non-catholics. They can get married anywhere. Catholics are bound by canon law.

If the reason you wouldn’t marry in the church is to avoid fights over the location, You might want to reassess your priorities. Should one really marry someone that would fight against them in practicing their faith? Especially when the husband is supposed to be spiritual head of the household?

As far as the 2nd scenario, who got married in a Catholic church without a priest, I’m not sure what the facts are surrounding that. If there was a deacon, thats within canon law. If they just broke into a catholic church when no one is around, no, its not valid.


#16

[quote="agapewolf, post:15, topic:184627"]
You might want to reign in the shock comments. It doesn't help the conversation.

No, you're boyfriend would not be off the hook. It isn't a valid marriage all the way around. I was talking about non-catholics, BOTH of the couple being non-catholics. They can get married anywhere. Catholics are bound by canon law.

If the reason you wouldn't marry in the church is to avoid fights over the location, You might want to reassess your priorities. Should one really marry someone that would fight against them in practicing their faith? Especially when the husband is supposed to be spiritual head of the household?

As far as the 2nd scenario, who got married in a Catholic church without a priest, I'm not sure what the facts are surrounding that. If there was a deacon, thats within canon law. If they just broke into a catholic church when no one is around, no, its not valid.

[/quote]

Very good points .


#17

[quote="Sina, post:7, topic:184627"]
Wow I had no idea Kage_Ar. It was kind of strange to have to write a letter.

So I guess this situation really depends on a few more specifics, like if the non practising Catholic truly does not feel Catholic anymore.

[/quote]

It is now - once Catholic, always Catholic. How one feels has no barring on the situation.


#18

Scroll down on this page to where it says Once Catholic

jimmyakin.org/2009/12/index.html


#19

Catholics are bound by Canon law.

Put God first, the boyfriend and wedding are a far second.


#20

Yep, I knew I was gonna start a firestorm. We are already starting with the intimations that going to a Lutheran wedding is a sin, that a non-Catholic wedding is tantamount to fornicating, etc.

Agapewolf: You write, "To the bolded statement: Why [get the marriage recognized] if it isn’t a sin otherwise?
–The fact that the Church does not “recognize something as Catholic” does not make doing that something a sin. To the contrary, the link given on this thread suggests the wedding is presumptively valid.

“you even admit that its not recognized by the church in your wording in this statement, so if its not recognized, it isn’t a marriage.”
–No, that’s not the case. It appears to be presumptively valid. If you want to make sure, involve the Catholic Church & get the dispensations…but if you don’t do so, the marriage is still presumptively valid.

JMJ, I can appreciate your feelings, but I respectfully think you may want to consider more deeply what will happen if you don’t go. IMHO, lots and lots of Catholics take legalistic stands as to actions which have horrible, real-world consequences…which they excuse by saying, ‘I’m standing by my conscience!’ As I have stated on other threads, here’s what will happen if you don’t go to your brother’s own wedding (in a Christian Church, not some Vegas ‘quicky-wed chapel’:

  1. All attendants – who we can conclude will likely be Lutheran – will think, “the groom’s own family did not attend because they are catholic…they are sanctimonious loons”…
  2. …and they’ll say, “we are not like that, you are welcome to worship with us!”
  3. …and one more Catholic [the brother] will be gone for good…
  4. …and you willnever see nieces or nephews at all, or your brother, again.

That, IMHO, is something no decent Catholic would willingly risk…

…and I am fully aware that someone will respond to me, “they risk their souls if they attend!”

…and I respond, such thinking is absurd, just absurd, and reminiscent of the dark ages. And not the least bit Christian, IMHO. Although some people will defend dark ages theology, and we will go nowhere…

–VdT


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