Groomsmen in non-Catholic weddings?


If my brother, who is a practicing Catholic, gets married in a Baptist Church (with no priest or deacon present), am I permitted to stand in as a groomsmen (since the wedding is non sacramental and he is abandoning his faith)?


You can attend and participate only if he receives a dispensation to marry outside the Catholic form.

If he does not, then no, you should not attend or participate in the wedding ceremony.


My wife and I were married in a non-denominational church of Christ. (It was her family’s church, in her hometown.) We got a dispensation from the bishop. Now, as far as I know, my sister was the only one in the wedding party (other than myself) that I would say was a practicing Catholic at the time. So, it didn’t seem all that odd. My only regret is that we did not ask our Deacon to be there and be part of the ceremony. He was instructing the RCIA program my wife was going through at the time (I was her sponsor).

Anyway, back on subject.

Now, what’s more odd? Catholics in a wedding party at a non-denominational church. OR same said sister’s wedding 2 weeks ago, in a Catholic church, with a nuptial Mass, and NONE of the wedding party outside of the bride and groom were able to receive communion. Either because they were fallen-away Catholics or not Catholic at all.


I’m with 1ke, I don’t think you can go to the wedding, either, assuming there’s not a dispensation. You’d be witnessing (participating in/approving of) an invalid marriage, which is fornication on the part of the Catholic person who is getting married.

You said your brother was “practicing” but then said later that he’s “abandoning his faith.” That’s a little bit confusing. :whacky: :smiley: If he’s still a practicing Catholic, perhaps he got a dispensation to marry outside the Church… Is there a way you can find out for sure? When is the wedding date (i.e., do you have time to find out)?


To the issue of “abandoning the Faith” - to take this step is also a formal process. One does not just decide to not be a Catholic and viola! Should this (prayers that it is not) be what your brother desires, he will need to go through a formal process of defection from the Faith.


This is the old “church vs family” debate. And in my opinion, family support always should come first. This blood is the thickest here. I would go and support him as much as possible and help him enjoy his day.

If you want to try to get him into a formal Catholic wedding mass, that can be a discussion for a later time. Please do not burn any family bridges over this, they are very hard to rebuild.


What a difficult situation! I’m very sorry to read of your dilemma. Properly speaking, if he has not received a dispensation, then you should not be standing up. Is his future wife so virulently opposed to Catholicism she won’t allow a Catholic con-celebrant? I hearken to Jesus words about the necessity of leaving even your own family for His sake. i.e., Nothing, not even family, should come between your brother and Christ (and especially the Sacraments).

What makes it worse for you is that weddings are stressful events to begin with, and probably a difficult time to approach your brother and try to reason with him on his choice of not having a Catholic concelebrant. But it’s your duty, as his loving brother, to at least say something (as an act of mercy).

Again, what a difficult position you’re in. I’m sure the Lord and our Blessed Mother sympathize with your sorrow.


I can see your point of view but for Catholics that does not apply. They are bound by the doctrines and disciplines of the Church. To us it in not “church vs family debate” but it is “Church the Bride of Christ vs self centered behaviors” debate.


Exactly, why would one choose your earthly family over your eternal one? The Church is the family, what better example to set for the souls of your loved ones than to be obedient to your hevenly Father. This coming from someone who is the only Catholic in my family.


My own personal opinion, I agree with 1ke. HOWEVER,

My husband faced the same exact situation with his best friend from high school. We spoke with our priest, mostly at my insistence because I felt it was wrong to even attend.

Our priest advised us that because my husband had stated his opposition to the non-Catholic ceremony without a dispensation, he ought to still go and be in the wedding in the interest of maintaining a relationship that will hopefully soften his heart to return to the Church fully with his non-Catholic wife. He said the consideration would be one of scandal rather than validity of the ceremony.

Similarly, the groom’s father only attended at the insistence of their pastor, who also attended the wedding. Both priests are faithful to the magisterium, and felt attendance and participation were not forbidden. :shrug: I suspect that as a pastoral matter, priests long to shepherd their flock back to the church instead of alienating them.

I still didn’t go, because my conscience was too torn to put forth the effort to get off work for a Tuesday wedding out of town.


much ado about nothing.

i was a groomsman last year for an old pal. he was Catholic, isn’t practicing and got married by a JP in the woods. I’ve been best friends with him since he was 3. I can’t control his religious choosings… i walked people up the aisle and posed for pictures. it was no big moral dilemma for me. it was just a day i had to get my tux cleaned for…

you can’t control other people’s ideas on religion.


I guess it boils down to this: do I set a better example by voicing the Church’s concern, stand-in, and keep the piece to hopefully pull them back to the Church: OR do I set a better example by not recongizing the marriage thus showing importance of sacrament of Marriage?


Tough situation. I was my brother’s Best Man at his non-Catholic wedding. At the time, I was not the man i am today but I think I would still do it. Maybe I would talk to a priest first. I’m not sure. It’s so hard. Do you risk upsetting hundreds of people and never get them back to the church because of their angst toward your actions, or do you tell your brother your dilemma, support him, and leave the door open for them to re-enter the church without having insulted them? I can’t say. This is really hard.

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