Family disagreement re: sister's marriage


Hi everyone, this is my first post here and the first time I’ve joined a Catholic forum. I joined here because of an issue that my family is facing and my own struggle with how to deal with this issue.

My sister recently got engaged to a man that has two children with a woman he never married. He was with her for quite a long time and just last year broke up with her because she cheated on him. He’s not Catholic, nor has he been raised in any kind of religion at all. My sister was raised Catholic, but I don’t know that she goes to church much anymore.

They have told my parents that they intend to be married in the Catholic Church because my sister knows that my parents will be upset if they don’t. My parents and I have reservations about this marriage outside of the fact that he’s not Catholic. My concerns are that although they may be married in the Church, I have doubts about how seriously he takes marriage, seeing how he saw fit to have children outside of marriage.

My brother, who also was raised Catholic but doesn’t attend anymore, believes that if my sister is happy he is happy and the fiance’s background is of no consequence to him, further causing a rift in our family.

I am having trouble supporting this marriage even though they say they want to get married in the Church. My questions are- might they run into trouble finding a priest that will marry them? And how do I deal with this issue with my sister when I feel so strongly against it?


I don’t know how other parishes do things, but my parish requires six months of preparation for marriage. I hope that your sister and her fiance will have something like that so that they’ll know what it is they’re committing themselves to.


I think they will run into some difficulty finding a priest to marry them if they do not have any intentions to raise the children Catholic or practice the Faith. It’s all a matter of intent, and their intent is not directed towards God, but rather towards appeasing family members. Educate them, if you can lovingly, what the expectations are of a Catholic marriage, and then let them decided if they want to pursue having one. For your sister, at least, it would require that she come back to the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and for her to renew her Catholic faith.

If she refuses, well then, just pray they make the right decisions for God.

God Bless.


I don’t know how other parishes do things, but my parish requires six months of preparation for marriage.

Ours too, and you need to be a registered member (6mos.) of the Parish as well. (You can apply for both at the same time - it’s not 1 year total). As of now, our Church is about 12 - 14 mos. waiting list for the Sacrament of Marriage.

Your sister may just logistically find out that marriage in the Church is near impossible due to the “legalities” of the Church - meaning it’s requirements.


This could be a wonderful opportunity for the two of them to come back to Christ through the preparation classes that people take prior to getting married.

It seems that your opinion of them and this up and coming wedding might be premature? Wait and see first.

They might not find a priest and just cancel the wedding… They might find a wonderful priest and go through classes and really turn their hearts around to the Catholic church!..Then again they might just find another church denomination that will marry them…

I just think it is too early to decide whether or not you support her marriage decision because they have not made concrete marriage plans. Pray for them, pray for his children. Hope this helps.


Heh heh, I agree with this one. :smiley:


If they want to be married in the Church (with a capital C), then they are old enough to take themselves to her parish priest and begin the preparations. You mom and dad aren’t needed to do this, and should refuse if asked to call the priest. Grown-ups get married, and grown-ups call the priest themselves.

There is another thread on this with a slightly different twist, but where the older sister is concerned because she does not like the fact that her future siter-in-law had a tubal for what she (the future SIL) was told was a matter of life-or-death. I’m going to give you the same advice I gave the older sister: Let them do it. Let them go see the priest and start marriage prep.

You stay neutral. Smile and say how happy you are for them. If it happens, it happens. If it needs to go to a tribunal later on down the rod, that’s their problem.

I would have to say, your sister stands less of a chance of the marriage going forward in the Church in my opinion than the other couple. But, you do not want to be the evil in-law. Stay out of it.


I agree to stay out of it. Your sister is an adult and it’s really up to her who she marries. I don’t see any huge concerns to make this a sinful “marriage” since this guy was never married before and there’s no need to seek an annullment. It seems that your only concern is that he was living in sin. If you hold your standards that high, that your sister has to find someone free from sin, you may never be happy.

Yes. I can see your concern that this guy isn’t religious, but that’s really a choice your sister has to make and she’ll have to live with.

If she asks your opinion, give it. Maybe gently encourage her to get her ducks in order with the Church. But don’t start a family rift over this. The bottom line is she is an adult and it’s her choice.

ETA the BEST thing you and your family can do is live a solid Christian life to set an example for this guy, pray for him, and just maybe it will be what converts him. If you start a family war over this, it could permanently turn him off to religion for good.


there is no such thing as a waiting list for the sacrament of marriage, although their may be a waiting list for use of the Church for an extended period, 2 hrs, or the parish hall for a reception. Any couple can marry before, after or during any regularly schedule Mass. There may be a waiting list for a nuptial Mass, but not for the sacrament of matrimony.


My bad… I meant logistics/scheduling within the particular Church for a wedding…


I think parishes in our diocese require a minimum preparation period of 3-6 months.


Minimum of 6, and I’ve seen some parishes with a 12-month preparation period. Here is an example of one parish’s requirements (and this is considered one of the most orthodox parishes in Chicago):

I do think you have cause for concern regarding the fact that the fiancee knocked up his previous fornication partner twice. In fact, I wonder if the reason some people enter into bad marriages today is that families do not step up and ask “What are you thinking?”. I’m not saying to come barging in with a condemning attitude, but if you have some “girl time” over coffee or shoe shopping, bring up the subject in a roundabout way (like asking how the kids are), that can open a door about your concerns, especially if she expresses any hints of problems.


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