This is a convoluted situation, so bear with me.
I was born to Lutheran parents and raised Lutheran. My husband and I converted to Catholicism in 2003.
My parents had a messy divorce when I was 14. The main (but not only) reason for the divorce was an affair on the part of my mother. She married the guy she had the affair with shortly after the divorce was final. They’ve now been married for 12 years.
My father called me up a few weeks ago and told me he was getting married. This was a surprise given that ever since the divorce he has changed girlfriends every 4-6 months. It had gotten to the point where my siblings and I referred to each new girlfriend as “the flavor of the month.”
The situation gets stickier. He met this woman on July 21st. They plan to get married on November 3 (which, to add insult to injury, is my birthday). I have met his fiancee once, and then only for about five minutes.
My father told me she is a divorcee who was raised Catholic but is now Lutheran. I have no idea if her former marriage was in the Catholic Church, or how long she’s been attending a Lutheran Church. They are getting married in a Lutheran chapel by a Lutheran minister. Even worse, he is moving in with her at the end of the month and they intend to live together until their marriage.
I haven’t had a chance to talk in-depth with him about the marriage, but so far he’s said he’s marrying her so soon because he “doesn’t want to be alone at Christmas” and because she reminds him of a former girlfriend whom he wishes he’d have married. :eek: Yes, he said that.
I also suspect part of his reasoning is financial. He has a criminal record (long story) and has difficulty getting a decent job. I think he’s to the point where he’s about to be evicted from his apartment – a mutual friend told me he hasn’t paid his rent since July.
At any rate, I have bad, bad feelings about this marriage. I talked to our parish priest at length about the situation. He didn’t say anything concrete one way or the other about whether or not I should attend the wedding, but he did encourage me to talk to my dad about my reservations, which I plan to do, but I’ve come to the conclusion, after much research and prayer, that I can’t go.
It’s an invalid marriage to begin with given that both are divorced. Moreover, the fiancee is a Catholic and is still obligated to observe the Catholic form of marriage even if she doesn’t recognize the Church’s authority.
Anyway, to get to the crux of the issue – how do I explain this to my father? I know it will break his heart, and make him very angry, hurt, and bitter. He already is somewhat anti-Catholic, having once told me that “Catholics weren’t really Christian.” (This was before I was Catholic, and at the time I told him he was nuts – who did he think that guy up on the Crucifix was??) I’m afraid that our refusal to attend will give him even more justification (in his mind) to be prejudiced against the Church.
He’s going to claim that this means I don’t love him, given that I attended my mother’s wedding when SHE remarried. At the time of my mother’s wedding, I was 14 and still Lutheran, and I simply didn’t know any better.
What’s worse is that he has his heart set on my daughter (age 2.5) being his flowergirl (along with my 2-year-old nephew as ringbearer), and it will break his heart not to have his only granddaughter there.
I know it’s going to cause a ton of family drama as well. I’ll probably have my siblings and grandparents calling me and telling me what an awful person I am. My brother is Lutheran; my sister is Lutheran as well but is married to a Catholic. I’m sure her husband plans on attending the wedding too.
Basically, I want to speak the truth with love and kindness, but I don’t know how to tell him in a way he will understand, or how to explain that this isn’t a reflection on how much I love him, but that I need to follow my conscience and not create scandal.
Anyone BTDT? Any advice? If you’ve made it this far, thanks for bearing with me.