Is there a Canon Law that prohibits clergy - such as a deacon specifically - from being in attendance (not in any way officiating or blessing, but just being there) at a wedding involving a Catholic which is not taking place according to the marriage laws of the Church? Thinking of a situation where a relative such as a niece or nephew who is Catholic but who is getting married outside the church – Can the “deacon uncle” even be present as a “civilian” according to Canon Law, say to keep peace in the family?
I’ve gotten this question several times at the office. As I customarily note, it is not the response of the uncle which has challenged peace in the family, but the action of the niece or nephew.
Let Uncle Deacon consult his diocesan bishop or the director of deacons or the chancery for guidance and the assessment of the possibility of scandal or public wonderment.
It may be that the fact that the uncle, by not serving in an official capacity, makes that statement against the situation, too. But yes, this is something for each deacon to ask his bishop about, so that the deacon’s actions will speak with the voice of his bishop, too.
A Deacon once Ordained is always Catholic clergy, he does not revert to the Lay state when he removes his clericals and puts on a shirt and tie.
I don’t think the OP meant “civilian” literally. I think the question is whether a clergy member is permitted to attend any wedding ceremonies at which he would be forbidden from officiating.
Many of us would not attend a wedding of a Catholic that takes place outside of the Church, even though we are laymen. I certainly would not. So if any Catholic, especially a member of the clergy, opts not to to go, that is certainly understandable. Your question sounds leading…