civil union

what makes a marriage valid (not sacramental)? i was under the impression that a couple must make a lifelong commitment of fidelty and always be open to the possiblity of children (i.e. no contraception). this would be a kind of natural marriage perhaps?
my wife’s uncle is about to marry in a civil union, he left the Catholic Church years ago, his wife-to-be has no religious affiliation, they are currently living together, and i feel like our presence there would not be appropiate as we profess to love the truth of Jesus preserved in His Church concerning the sacredness of marriage.
it seems to me that if one has no qualms with practicing contraception and/or forms of abortion that accompany it (abortifacets), then that would invalidate a marriage, and it would be inappropiate to show support of such a union.
any thoughts? i am very much uncertain of this.

Here are some articles which should help:

In fact, look over this whole page:

From my personal view, I would not go. Your presence implies your approval of what is occuring, and this would violate Catholic scruples. For this reason, my wife and I did not attend her cousins homosexual “marriage,” my aunt’s bat mitzvah, or her sister’s protestant marriage.

Hope this helps you!:slight_smile:

Hi spotty,

In order to enter a valid marriage, a person needs the right intention in order to give proper consent. By it`s nature, marriage is to be faithful, permanent, open to children, for the good of the spouses. So, if a person has an idea of marriage contrary to these things and\or wants his marriage to be something other than this, there is a problem.

As far as what you should do–I think it is always best to do what will help the person toward salvation. Granted, whatever you do might not really have an effect. In the circumstances you mention, your instincts seem to be correct and I would follow them. It would also be good to let your wifes uncle know why you will not attend, if he doesnt know already. As for the links given previously–I find the website itself to be troubling. There might be some good information you can find there but there is also questionable material presented, it seems to me.


I do not always necessarily agree with this organization 100% either. However, it is reliably Catholic and I assume a thinking Catholic can take information presented to them and judge for themselves. I know this question is guided by Faith and by faith we discern all knowledge.

God’s guidance to both of you!:smiley:

Hi Spotty,
The first problem is that your uncle was once Catholic, and now is marrying outside the Church. This alone would invalidate the attempt.

that is true as far as it goes, but we can have no knowledge of the opinions, actions, or state of soul of an individual on this issue, so we can’t pass judgement on this basis. We can exercise our right to stand by our own beliefs on the sanctity of marriage, and not going through the farce of attending an attempted invalid marriage of a Catholic who rejects Church teaching on the sacrament, does not follow canon law, or natural law, and does not even practice his faith. I would just send regrets, with a note you pray for his happiness (you don’t have to give your definition of what would constitute that happiness, namely return to the Church).

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit