Family schism over Catholic values

I really think this is between your uncle and your parents. I’d stay out of it.

It could be. The answer is a “maybe”.

All of us who serve in ministry serve at the behest of the pastor. We could be asked to step down at any time.

If the pastor had concerns that your parents actions were giving scandal or that it was causing problems, yes it would be within his authority to ask them to step back.

It’s a prudential and pastoral matter that would be at the discretion of the pastor, taking in all the facts of the situation.

The Church’s document found here on legal unions/marriage is very clear Catholics are not to formally or materially cooperate with a same sex union or marriage.


Thank you very much for your reply. This is exactly they type of information I was looking for.

Like I said multiple times, this was the short version, and I left out much of how I am specifically involved for the sake of brevity. It is much larger than I conveyed and I wasn’t particularly asking for advice on how to handle the situation, but I appreciate your concern.

Thank you very much for your input regarding pastoral discretion. This was the type of information I was looking for, not necessarily the church’s position on marriage.

It is not wise to dismiss the document @1ke linked to in her reply. Within it you find this citation:

In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.

This is likely the justification your Uncle used when he decided to go to the pastor.

I won’t comment to whether or not he was justified in doing so. That doesn’t seem to be the point of your thread. However, I’d imagine if you are intent on this discussion with your Uncle, you should endeavor to understand how someone might come to the conclusion that attendance at a same sex civil union ceremony might be reason enough to remove someone from their mass duty.

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I apreciate your thoughtfulness. This, however, is the piece that I am very familiar with, which is why I started off the thread way I did. The piece I lacked was what the church considers sufficient for being removed form a ministry and the precedent for it actually happening.

It’s going to be at the discretion of the pastor, or maybe the bishop if it becomes a big enough scandal. Just attending the wedding isn’t necessarily enough of a reason to remove someone from parish ministry. Public statements against church teaching probably are. For all we know, your parents may have spoken to their pastor prior to attending your ceremony, and been told it was best they go. Some priests would say to go, others would say definitely not, because of the concern of scandal. It’s hard to guess your uncle’s motivation for this. Some people don’t like it when other people consider an issue like whether or not it’s appropriate for faithful Catholics to attend a homosexual marriage ceremony and come up with a different conclusion than they did. But the faith isn’t that cut and dry on specific matters of prudential judgement. Some people may come to one conclusion, other may come to another. It’s hard to guess if your uncle is just being petty or if he truly believes your parents are making statements against the faith.


Although you might be finding the documents helpful for background, in the end they’re not decisive, and the final decision will be up to the prudential judgment of the pastor. And pastors are all over the map on this issue.

Your uncle is also not from your parents’ parish, which makes it far less likely that your parents’ pastor, who knows your parents well from their involvement in ministry (and probably knows this uncle less well), would care what your uncle had to say on the matter. Most pastors I know would not take kindly to some layperson from outside their parish coming in and telling them how to run their parish business. It’s also entirely possible that your parents’ pastor already knew about them attending your wedding and their wanting to be supportive of you, and had already made the decision that they could continue in parish ministry, before your uncle even contacted him. People who are active in parish ministry tend to discuss these things with their pastor.

Some might say yes
I personally believe that parents should be at their children’s wedding :slight_smile:

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I hadn’t considered this. I don’t think it’s likely, but the pastor knows them well and has interacted with me on many occasions, so there definitely may have been level of understanding there, either direct or implicit. Thank you for the insight.

This actually makes a lot of sense given some of the other details that I didn’t include. Thank for very much for this.

Everyone has been extremely helpful and very direct with their explanation of it essentially being up to the pastor. Thank for very much for helping me understand the situation with additional clarity. Y’all have been awesome! :smile:


If I were in a similar situation, I would definitely seek some spiritual guidance on the matter.

This is what is significant. Cooperation and celebrating grave sin is wrong and harmful to the Church. Therefore, confession is healing.

The priest should admonish and encourage confession. Debating what consequences the priest should impose is fruitless. And putting the priest in a position of hardship is a shame.

The OP said that he didn’t open the thread to discuss the morality of the gay marriage situation. Also, he already got his answer regarding authority of the pastor, and the pastor has already made the decision, which is his decision to make. So discussion of admonishment and “putting the priest in a position” is off topic. The thread isn’t about consequences the priest should impose (if any, because the priest might not even consider the parents’ attendance sinful).

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There is probably more to this than even the OP knows about.

How well publicized was this event?
I don’t agree with this ‘gay wedding." And I don’t agree with your parents’ attendance. However if there was not a lot of publicity then your uncle would be guilty of the sin of detraction, that is needlessly disclosing the sins and faults of another.

The priest is not permitted to “consider if attending (which was described as celebrating) is not sinful”. The question was this:

Is attending a same-sex wedding ceremony grounds for any parishioner to be removed from their involvement in the celebration of mass

The answer is that the sin of celebrating a homosexual union is in the discretion of the parish priest whether or not to impose discipline.

Placing the priest in that position is what I implied was not cool.

Oh absolutely. I only included any backstory at all to try to give a little context to help keep the discussion focused. I’m sure there are lots of details that I’m unaware of, but I’m trying to understand what I do know.

Within my circles, we posted and shared it to the same extent that any wedding is. Within theirs, however, I think there was maybe one family picture posted since we all looked awesome, and things were intentionally selectively hidden on social media channels. There was essentially no visibility to their Catholic circle. Although I’m not Catholic and disagree with many of the church’s teachings, I am highly aware of them and act accordingly in certain situations. I wasn’t going to change my wedding for the rules of a church I’m not a member of, but there were small things I could do for my parents since faith is important to them. It’s possible to disagree and still be respectful. It’s why I wasn’t surprised when half of my family said they couldn’t attend.

For the sake of clarity, do you mean that my parents attending is what put him in that position, or my uncle demanding that something be done about it? Or both?

As always, thank you for all of your input!

One factor to consider is that we cannot know your parents’ hearts and why they chose to attend. When my son , a young adult who chose not to be confirmed, is acting in a manner inconsistent with God’s teaching …sinfully…I express my disapproval unequivocally but do not harp at him or ostracize him. I consider it my life long duty to influence his faith and morals and I cannot if we replace our relationship with either anger or distance.

My son is straight but If I had a gay child entering into a gay marriage, I would tell my child privately my position on the matter, grounded in Catholicism. I would acknowledge his free will. I would avoid gossiping or complaining about it and would attend the wedding. I would dress for the social expectations of the event and be pleasant. I would ask not to be singled out and not to participate in the ceremony as parents sometimes do. I would be there for one purpose…to maintain my close bond with my son. As in, sure, my son could escort me in and I would sit and enjoy the music and so on, but I would not want to be presented flowers or light candles during the ceremony, for example, as mother’s sometimes are honored. I would gladly wear flowers from my son of given to me privately. The difference is not participating in a marriage ceremony that I consider invalid.

I have been to many weddings which I thought were ill advised. I have had relatives who were too immature to marry, and friends who picked poor matches. My personal free will had zero bearing on the outcome. These marriages all ended in divorce, some annulled (not all were Catholic people,) and because I did not anger or ostracize the individuals, I was able to help them do better later.


I mean everyone. That’s how it happens. The forbidden wedding, the prohibited celebration, the demand to the parish priest. No one is innocent in the situation.

Unnecessarily discussing the faults of another is a sin in and of itself. I think your uncle should mention that in confession.

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