How to deal with divided families and remarriage?


#1

I tried to pick a good title hoping it will draw people into this discussion as I'm sure all if not most have this going on in their families. I have some questions concerning some of the things I have heard from close relatives on this and have kinda come to the conclusion that it all goes back leads back to scandal and hypocrisy to why many have walked away from the faith.

I have several aunts, and uncles etc. that either got remarried outside the Catholic Church or just plain out decided they were going to live with their significant other regardless what is said by anyone, even the Church. I know it's hard not to judge what to conclude from this but I find it amazing that less and less care the longer it goes on. When they send their kids to Mass to learn the faith, I'm sure they might look back one day and say Daddy isn't doing what they are teaching me here. Evidently, I'm sure Daddy will think of a pretty good excuse for his daughter when she wonders if the Church is lying or is Daddy being a hypocrite. It's a sad situation. I think kids and even adults young and old will take the side of example set by the parents most of the times. Even over Church teachings unless God changes it. Most within my family have flat out given up. My one uncle said it's okay to sin because God understands our actions and there is plenty of room in purgatory. That may be true about purgatory, but why would you just give up on your faith and settle for this? It's seems as if he already "knows" somehow that either he is going to purgatory himself and others who are bad situations are as good as in. Is this wrong to think this way? Wouldn't you be abusing God's mercy by assuming this? Are we not supposed to grow in faith daily?

My other question I have is a discussion I had with my mother that questioned me on if some of my aunts and uncles who are committing adultery can be saved. She said, they are already remarried and walked away from the Church and the family has no choice but to accept them. But what would they need to do now if they wanted to reconcile with God, she asks? They are in a stuck in a position of public scandal by what they accepted, so it's too late she says. Just accept it because even if they went to confession what does that mean now that they must split up? Who's going to do that? I said someone that loves God would want to get right and have the Church investigate if the first marriage was valid in the first place etc. Unfortunately, who's going to go through all of that. It's easier to do what you want to do and after all, everyone else is doing it.

It's a wonder why the family is broken apart. Can anyone offer up any insight on this discouragement I tend to find myself in when I think of this. Again, I think this all leads back to the parents and the scandal they give on their kids to why they walked away from the faith. Their own parents have let them down, so therefore they accept sin going off the deep end.


#2

Ok, your going to hate my answer. I just hope you don't hate the dude giving it.

Remember one thing crucial-"there but for the grace of God, go I".

Never, ever, ever feel morally superior to anyone who has had a divorce, or is struggling with their faith.

Be VERY careful when you say the word, Hypocrite.Hypocrisy is a funny word. It's better to admit there is a standard of morality and have trouble keeping it than just saying, "there are no standards". Example-I think swearing is a classless and tasteless thing to do. Yet, there are times when I do swear. I think it's a terrible habit~I try not too, and I would tell someone to watch their mouth if they where swearing in front of women and children. Does that make me a hypocrite? Guess so. Is that a bad thing? No.

You may not agree with your family, but they are ALWAYS your family. You treat them with respect, and when the time comes, if they ask your opinion, then tell them. I don't agree with everything my family members do, but they're still my family and I love them.

Just my thoughts.


#3

I don't act this way so please don't think that I'm superior to anyone in anyway. I guess what I'm trying to ask is if as a Catholic, must I tolerate all things or tolerate only the good? There's a drift that I see that is asking me to give in like everyone else. To laugh at this or that immoral joke or accept evil things as good. I seriously do love my family members and I do want the highest and best thing for them, heaven. Also, the question comes to mind if honoring your parents/friends/family is the same as agreeing with them? If if one disagrees, couldn't that lead to saying you are not honoring them? Where is the fine line between honoring and disagreeing? They seem to be very closely related.

For example, if my sister is getting married again for a second time, is that a good thing or a bad thing? How does one give honor to this but yet disagree with it in my heart? Would I be a hypocrite? I'm confused on 1868 in the CCC.

Please don't label me as a tyrant who goes around bashing others for their sins. I just want to know how handle things to find peace and be a good example. I find CCC 1868 hard to come by on a personal level. I just want peace. Please believe me.


#4

Love the person, but, depending on your relationship, bring up the annulment process (in the example of a remarriage). I have had no problem bringing it up to my family. But also, before doing that, do your research on the subject so that you can explain what it is and isn't. I'm sure you're quite aware of all the misconceptions out there in regards to Catholic teachings and procedures, so it's important to be armed with what is true, not what is rumor.


#5

I know I can not assume others to know that remarriage is wrong or other sins etc. But what if I was to bring it up in a kind sincere way to my family and then it's still rejected as no big deal. What do you do then?


#6

[quote="dfp42, post:5, topic:202991"]
I know I can not assume others to know that remarriage is wrong or other sins etc. But what if I was to bring it up in a kind sincere way to my family and then it's still rejected as no big deal. What do you do then?

[/quote]

It's simple. Love em' like crazy, pray for them like nuts. Remember that no one likes a holier-than-thou zealot who won't shut up.

"Tolerate" implies dislike. I "tolerate" eating food I don't like at the home of a guest because I don't want to insult anyone. Tolerate does NOT mean approval, quite the opposite.


#7

[quote="dfp42, post:5, topic:202991"]
I know I can not assume others to know that remarriage is wrong or other sins etc. But what if I was to bring it up in a kind sincere way to my family and then it's still rejected as no big deal. What do you do then?

[/quote]

You still love them and pray for them. But, remember, that in a few years, bringing up the topic again isn't bad. I've done that with many family members. Sometimes things just need to stew a bit.


#8

You're right, I think we can all sympathize with your situation. I recommend talking all this over with a priest or trusted spiritual director.

It really is a difficult situation we find ourselves in. Now that cohabitation and divorce have found mainstream acceptance, it complicates things greatly. I can see how it would be easy, once those decisions have been made, to get to a point where you simply toss up your hands and pray for mercy.

I don't think there's any easy, formulaic answer on how to respond beyond the general principle of "charity in truth" that should guide all of our interactions. It would be a bit overbearing to remind each of our family members incessantly about how they are "living in sin" each time we see them. But neither do we want to give the impression that we wholeheartedly endorse their life choices.

You might find a book like Patrick Madrid's Search and Rescue to offer some helpful advice.

Let's take a look at CCC 1868:

- by participating directly and voluntarily in them;

You're not really guilty of this unless you are officiating the wedding or something to that effect.

- by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;

You're not ordering your sister to get married. You're not advising her to do so. As long as you don't praise her for it or tell her you approve, then you're all set. :)

- by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;

I suspect this is where your concern lies. To what extent do we have an obligation to "hinder" our family and what does this mean? I think that depends upon the family member. Obviously, you would have the most obligation for a child. You would have more of an obligation towards a parent or sibling than a cousin or aunt or uncle.

IMHO, we can simply let our family members know that we may not approve but we still love them anyway. We don't have to be argumentative or confrontational about it. The way you go about this would vary depending upon your relationship with them and their sensibilities.

*- by protecting evil-doers. *

I don't think you have to worry about this one either. :)


#9

"by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;

You're not ordering your sister to get married. You're not advising her to do so. As long as you don't praise her for it or tell her you approve, then you're all set."

My problem is with the praising and approving part. People that I think should know better and are Catholic doing this. Not just in this situation but in many others. My mom wants her to get re-married on the beach and sees nothing wrong with this. I would think she would want it done in the Church.

I guess I'm guilty to this part to because out of not wanting to offend my sister's text message showing off her ring, I told her congrats and that I loved her. Was I wrong for saying congrats? I would get criticized by my mom and sisters if I didn't give her some type of praise, even if she doesn't deserve it. Again, I still love her either way.

I will need to talk to my priest about these issues like you said...


#10

[quote="Joe_5859, post:8, topic:202991"]
You're right, I think we can all sympathize with your situation. I recommend talking all this over with a priest or trusted spiritual director.

It really is a difficult situation we find ourselves in. Now that cohabitation and divorce have found mainstream acceptance, it complicates things greatly. I can see how it would be easy, once those decisions have been made, to get to a point where you simply toss up your hands and pray for mercy.

I don't think there's any easy, formulaic answer on how to respond beyond the general principle of "charity in truth" that should guide all of our interactions. It would be a bit overbearing to remind each of our family members incessantly about how they are "living in sin" each time we see them. But neither do we want to give the impression that we wholeheartedly endorse their life choices.

You might find a book like Patrick Madrid's Search and Rescue to offer some helpful advice.

Let's take a look at CCC 1868:

- by participating directly and voluntarily in them;

You're not really guilty of this unless you are officiating the wedding or something to that effect.

- by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;

You're not ordering your sister to get married. You're not advising her to do so. As long as you don't praise her for it or tell her you approve, then you're all set. :)

- by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;

I suspect this is where your concern lies. To what extent do we have an obligation to "hinder" our family and what does this mean? I think that depends upon the family member. Obviously, you would have the most obligation for a child. You would have more of an obligation towards a parent or sibling than a cousin or aunt or uncle.

IMHO, we can simply let our family members know that we may not approve but we still love them anyway. We don't have to be argumentative or confrontational about it. The way you go about this would vary depending upon your relationship with them and their sensibilities.

*- by protecting evil-doers. *

I don't think you have to worry about this one either. :)

[/quote]

Here are the facts of my situation. My sister-in-law entered into a Catholic marriage with a gentleman from which she is now legally divorced, but without an annulment. She and this man share a 10-year old son.

Later, my sister-in-law civilly married my brother, who had previously never been married. They share a 3-year old son. My wife and I are the Catholic godparents of the 3-yr old.

Obviously, both my sister-in-law and brother are living in sin. I certainly pray that they cease their sinful behavior and resolve this via the annulment process, if possible.

My dilemma is regarding my social interaction with them. Often times, my wife and I have gone out to dinner with them or visited each other's homes. However, I can't help but wonder what kind of message I am sending my children when I implicitly allow this couple to "hold themselves out" as husband and wife before my children? How should I handle this matter? In particular, should I refrain from interacting with them if they stubbornly insist on continuing this sinful behavior?


#11

[quote="Catholic_Austin, post:10, topic:202991"]
Here are the facts of my situation. My sister-in-law entered into a Catholic marriage with a gentleman from which she is now legally divorced, but without an annulment. She and this man share a 10-year old son.

Later, my sister-in-law civilly married my brother, who had previously never been married. They share a 3-year old son. My wife and I are the Catholic godparents of the 3-yr old.

Obviously, both my sister-in-law and brother are living in sin. I certainly pray that they cease their sinful behavior and resolve this via the annulment process, if possible.

My dilemma is regarding my social interaction with them. Often times, my wife and I have gone out to dinner with them or visited each other's homes. However, I can't help but wonder what kind of message I am sending my children when I implicitly allow this couple to "hold themselves out" as husband and wife before my children? How should I handle this matter? In particular, should I refrain from interacting with them if they stubbornly insist on continuing this sinful behavior?

[/quote]

Of course, every family dynamic is a little bit different, but I don't see how cutting ties would produce any good fruit. I don't think spending time with a person indicates that one agrees with and endorses their each and every life choice.

If I refrained from interacting with anyone in my family in an irregular marriage situation, I would (sadly) not be talking to many of them. My children are still small, though, so I guess time will tell how I will handle it in the future. I see no reason to address the issue before questions are asked. But if they ask, I will simply state that we love our family no matter what they do and we pray for them. That doesn't mean we approve of their actions. We simply witness to them in the ways that we are able.


#12

[quote="dfp42, post:1, topic:202991"]
It's a wonder why the family is broken apart. Can anyone offer up any insight on this discouragement I tend to find myself in when I think of this. Again, I think this all leads back to the parents and the scandal they give on their kids to why they walked away from the faith. Their own parents have let them down, so therefore they accept sin going off the deep end.

[/quote]

On the path to maturity we each come to the startling realization that people are sometimes hypocrits. And by people, I mean all people: you, me, everybody. You know that phrase Do as I say but not as I do? Yeah...

An example: my grandfather would lecture me on the evils of smoking. It was a filthy habit. It was expensive. Cigarettes were coffin nails. I would ruin my health. Etc., etc., etc. He usually had a cigarette hanging out from his lower lip when he was telling me this stuff. And when I was a little kid I just accepted what he was saying without question. The irony was completely lost on me. Grandpa said smoking was bad, so it was bad.

When I got older, however, I thought, "Hang on, old man. Why is it Okay for you to go through a pack of these things a day, but you tell me you'll disown me if I take up smoking? I know why, you're a hypocrit!" And then I'd try to correct his behavior, point out the error of his ways, get him to admit he was doing wrong. This led to some spirited conversations between grandpa and me.

Eventually I realized that although grandpa was himself a smoker, he was genuine in his concern for me not to become a smoker. And although I wasn't happy he smoked, I knew it was beyond my power to get him to quit, and I could either accept that or fight him until we couldn't have a good relationship.

Religion is like that, too. Other than pray for your family members who aren't living in the Church and living a good Catholic life yourself, there's not a lot you can do to affect their behavior with creating an awful lot of family discord.

And don't get discouraged. Yes, the parents may not be "good Catholics," but that's no guarantee that their kids won't come back to the Church. After all, I'm not a smoker. :)


#13

[quote="dfp42, post:3, topic:202991"]
I* guess what I'm trying to ask is if as a Catholic, must I tolerate all things or tolerate only the good? There's a drift that I see that is asking me to give in like everyone else.

Also, the question comes to mind if honoring your parents/friends/family is the same as agreeing with them? *

[/quote]

This is something that I seriously agonise over. A few months ago I started a thread with a similar topic. People said: love the sinner - hate the sin, pray for them, don't judge, etc. Not very helpful, is it? Because you find that you have to congratulate a close family member on living in sin and act happy about it, the example being your sister's re-marriage. Otherwise people get upset, maybe even call you a fanatic and a religious nut.

I've realised that I'm going to lose many friends and alienate family members if I stick to my faith and don't approve of sin. And that is difficult. Many people can't handle this 'charity in truth' we are supposed to do. But we simply have to stand up for the faith and tell them the truth. For example, telling your sister you are happy she is happy but that you are also sad at the same time because things aren't completely right, and that you hope she will one day regulate her marriage. Basically, you can't do much more. You can't make her do the right thing, you can only suggest it and help her if she needs it.

The important thing is that you don't lose your way and follow their example. Don't give in. No, you don't have to tolerate everything you encounter in life. It is difficult to live like that but we are not alone. God is with us and He will help you figure things out. Just pray and you will find peace, even if you are caught in a family storm.


#14

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