How do I tell my father that I can't attend his wedding?


I agree. My dh had this problem before I married him and before I knew him. His mother got remarried and he told her that she is still married to his dad. She left the Catholic Church long before she got remarried and hated the Church. My dh and my MIL’s sister, who is also Catholic, struggled whether they should go or not because of their belief and Faith. They both consulted two different priests and both of these priests said that by going they were not saying that they agree with the marriage, but that they were there to show their love and respect for that person. Both my dh and his aunt showed up at my MIL’s second marriage. My dh has always told his mother that she is in adultery but she disagrees. She was happy to see both her sister and sons, all three of them, at her wedding. My husband still celebrates his parents wedding anniversary but he keeps it to himself and prays for his parents. His dad just remarried after about 17 years of being alone. DH did not go to his wedding, but it was because we could not afford the trip up North.

I do know how you feel for I struggled also when my cousin, who claims to be a devout Catholic and even works in Catholic Charities, married a man who is divorce outside of the Church. She was a virgin when she married, but unfortunately, she is living in adultery. I did go to the wedding, but went to show her my love and respect. She knew I disagreed with the marriage and most important that the Catholic Church did too for that is why no priest would marry them in the Church. Her fiancee did not get an annulment and in fact is not Catholic, so he sees no need for it. Now that he has her, he won’t get one. I know she told me that one day she will get married again in the Church when her “husband’s” annulment goes through. Her so call husband has not even filed for it either. Living in this sin has caused her to break other laws and one was on birth control. She was on it for a long time but now they want a baby and can’t seem to get pregnant. The sad thing is that she is still receiving Communion. I was told not to judge her and love the person not the sin and that is why I went to her wedding.


  • I too refused to attend my fathers non-annulled “marriage” (He was annulled, “wife” was not. Both are Catholic :rolleyes: and were “married” by a J.P.).

I had attended my M-I-L’s remarriage the year before. At that time, I was unaware of my obligations.

However, after dad’s “marriage”, I did attend my sister’s “wedding” (same situation). I did so because both myself and my mom knew the marriage would be a disaster (she was already pregnant, and the guy was very unstable). We were afraid that she would be to embarrassed to take her baby and leave if it got ugly (it did) b/c of a fear of “I told you so”. -She is now happily (and safely) annulled due to “lack of form”. I would do that again in a heartbeat.

I have also skipped (so far) 1 aunt, 1 uncle, and 2 cousins “weddings” because of lack of annulment (and they are ALL “Catholics”). Yes, it is very hard, and isolating (I was always the only one to skip, out of 60+ CLOSE relatives- (big family))
I did get pestered with “holier than thou”, etc., but **I didn’t get an invitation to the last invalid wedding, so I guess it’s expected now. :wink:

Good luck, and God Bless. Jesus never said that following Him would be easy, in fact, just the opposite. :slight_smile:


I’m not so sure. All the other wedding guests who are there will see my presence (and my daughter’s participation) as approval of the marriage. And that creates scandal.

The big question for you is: can you, your dh and kids handle the fallout from this? It will be mighty, and likely will last for a VERY long time.

Oh, that won’t be a problem. I’ve been dealing with family drama (mostly created by my father) for YEARS. He and my grandparents threatened to boycott both my wedding and my brother’s wedding (we were married 3 mos. apart) because they didn’t like my choice of singers at my wedding. :rolleyes:



Well, I know if I see someone at a wedding, my assumption is that the person present has no objection to the marriage. Otherwise, why would they be there? :shrug:

And yes, they would be wrong. That would be the point. It sends a message that I, as a Catholic, am all hunky-dory with invalid marriages, even when that’s emphatically not the case.


I figure everyone at a wedding cares about the bride and groom. Beyond that, I make no assumptions of approval or disapproval.

While I realize we should do our best to set a good example to others, we can not control what they might think. Could you be giving scandal by not going? Won’t people form opinions about that? What if they think that by not going, you dont love or honor your dad? Would that be a problem? —KCT


My father died two years ago. I would give anything to have one more opportunity to show my love and respect for him.


Off topic, but my dad also died 2 years ago. He was raised Catholic but stopped practicing when I was in elem school. The only Masses he attended in recent years were for my kids sacraments. He came because he knew it meant alot to me. I will always be touched by that. —KCT


Jimmy Akin has said that, “Scandal does not mean offending the sensibilities of the faithful. It means leading the faithful into sin.”

My concern is that my presence there might lead others into sin by making them think that it’s okay for Catholics to enter into invalid marriages.

If I’m not there, people can certainly call and ask why, and I’ll tell them that because I love my dad, and don’t want to condone his sin, that I wasn’t present.


My quandry is that I don’t think that condoning him in his sin is showing him love and respect; in fact, quite the opposite. By not speaking up I’m contributing to the fact that his soul may be in jeopardy.


You have to do it you think is best. Since neither your priest nor the church forbids your attendance I think you’re making way too much out of people perceiving that you’re endorsing an invalid marriage. I consider myself to be a very devout Catholic. But were I in your situation I would not think for a minute about not going to the wedding. I will admit I’m fortunate that my parents never put me in such an awkward situation.

You are obviously faced with the dilemma. My definition of a dilemma is when you look at all options available aint none of them good. You and your father will be in my prayers.


Maybe I am reading this thread wrong? I thought that the OP had already made the decision and was asking for help on how to decline.
Some of the chatter here reminds me of Planned parenthood pro choice people, they are pro choice unless the choice is life.:wink:
This woman made up her mind not to go and I support that. We are told to examine and follow our conciionce. Just because it is not something you would do (have the guts to do). Does not mean she is making an incorrect decision. If this is the hill she wants to be her battle then I say we help her out on the easiest and best way to convey her decision, not debate as to what she should do to change her decision.
Are there other reasons that she doesn’t want to go, I think so… but this is her decision and I support it.


I did answer that, Potato. (At length- including my background experience.)

However, I was addressing the OP’s hidden question, which was: how to tell her dad in a way that he would “understand”, and* would not “hurt his feelings”*. Basically, that can’t be done.

She can tell him any way she wants, (and I support her desire not to attend) but she can’t have her cake and eat it too. There is no magic right way to tell him. He (and other family members) will be mad and hurt. No way around that one.


Dear OP,

To answer your question in your original post, I recommend sitting down and writing a letter explaining your decision not to go. Let him know you love him and respect him and look forward to celebrating other things with him. Gently explain that for spiritual reasons, you do not feel it is appropriate to attend, and leave it at that.

This is one of those situations where there is no right answer. One could attend, nor not attend, and depending on the reasons, that would be okay. I understand how you feel and understand and respect your decision. It is your decision to make. I think writing him a letter reminding him that you love him, but gently explaining why you will not be able to attend, but be one way to relay your decision.

I will keep you in my prayers. You are putting God first, and when you do that, you will never go wrong. Choosing not to attend does not mean you do not love and respect your father. Praying for him, and spending time with him on other days, shows him your love.

I would send them a present. A Catholic Bible, and two rosaries. That way they can pray together. They might not use the rosaries now, but you never know, they might down the road.

Hang in there. I will pray for you and your family.




I love this idea for a gift (not that it helps with how to tell him)! I would definitely do this.

I don’t know how to tell him that you can’t go. I told my mom I wouldn’t go to a cousin’s wedding and she was livid. I can’t imagine her reaction if it was someone closer to our family.

I applaud you in your decision to show your love and respect for your father by not attending his non-wedding. Even if he doesn’t see it, you are standing by him. May God bless you and your family. I don’t believe it shows love and respect to support someone in sin. (I don’t imagine you will provide and assist your children in illicit drug use!:wink: ) (And I am not saying that to argue with those who have chosen otherwise in attending such “weddings.” As stated, it may not be sinful to do so.)


An update on this –

After a LOT of praying and soul-searching, and after a long conversation with a faithful priest in that we know and trust, we decided we could not, in good conscience, attend the wedding or have our daughter participate. We told my father tonight and it did not go well. My husband ended up ordering him to leave the house because he (my dad) was yelling and insulting me to my face, in front of our daughter. His fiancee was actually quite calm and said she understood that we must follow our consciences, though I"m sure she feels hurt too.

My dad thinks that I’m only doing this because I hate him, and he thinks it means that I never want him to see my daughter again. Both are definitely false, but he won’t listen to me. Prayers would very much be appreciated for our family right now. My dad is the type to hold a grudge for decades, and I know I’m going to suffer for this for years to come.

I did talk to my grandparents tonight as well. My grandmother understands our position (even though she’s Lutheran) and is going to try and talk to my dad. My grandpa is still unconvinced, but I’m sure Grandma will bring him around.

I’m sure I’ll have my brother and sister calling me tomorrow to tell me what a horrible child and uptight anal Catholic I am, too. sigh (Especially since my sister’s husband is Catholic and they’re attending the wedding.) But, we must be obedient to Christ above all things, even when it’s hard.




Oh, honey…I am so sorry your father reacted the way he did, but you are certainly blessed to have a husband that stands up and protects his bride, as Christ protects His. And I will keep you in my prayers. If you get the phone calls telling you how uptight you are, just thank them for caring enough to call you and say good-bye.

You are loved…and in my prayers.


I don’t have advice yet, as I need to mull it over a bit longer…but something struck me that you posted, and I just wanted to address that, at least. You indicate that 'it will cause a lot of family drama…" (meaning that your refusal to attend the wedding will cause the drama) To be blunt, your dad has made many choices in his life. They are HIS choices, not yours. Your mom leaving him for another man, could have led to some poor choices, but again, they are HIS choices, not yours. So, he has caused this drama, not you. That being said, I’m not sure if not attending the wedding would be wise, as you can attend it, but not be in the wedding party (I highly recommend against that).

It’s like when someone at work is stealing, and someone else blows the whistle, but before doing so, says…‘I don’t want to get this person fired.’ No, the person stealing got him/herself fired. LOL This is the same thing I see here. You are thinking that by not attending, your dad will be angry, hurt…everyone will be mad at you and see you as stirring a pot. But, really, we all make choices, whether good or bad…and we need to face the consequences, if those around us, loved ones or not, take issue with this decisions.

I think he is making a grave mistake. Marrying out of financial reasons (could be the case here, don’t know) or for reasons other than truly being a true union from God, is never a good thing. I will mull over this some more, and give you some advice later…hopefully. I just wanted to say though, that you are not the cause of drama. You didn’t create this drama, your dad did. Doesn’t matter all the underlying reasons, as from what you say, it sounds very sad, the place he is in, emotionally, and otherwise. But, even so, you didn’t cause him to make the choices he has made after your mom left. So, just hang on to that for now, and go from there.

Talk to you soon.

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