How to feel for people who marry outside the Church


I’m sure everyone reading this has seen situations like this.

A person was married in the Church, got a divorce, then remarried civilly or in another denomination. Oftentimes the first marriage was abusive, and the second marriage gave the person a better home life.

Or, they married for the first time in a non-Sacramental ceremony. The couple was both baptized Catholic, but either doesn’t practice or practices lightly and doesn’t comprehend or care about the importance of a Church wedding.

How do you respond? Be happy for them even though it is objectively adultery? I could never understand how Sola Scriptura protestants let this happen even though our Lord was clear about the first case being adulterous.

Would you attend such a wedding? Would it be a sin to attend what could be considered a legalization of adultery?


I would, very seriously, mind my own affairs unless I was asked.

Ours not ever to judge.


Regarding your two hypothetical examples you may not attend the wedding if asked because that would be affirming that what the Church teaches is wrong. If asked you would just have to explain politely why you could not attend.
You would similarly have to refuse to attend a gay wedding.


Both my brother and sister entered such marriages. In both cases, their spouses were non-Catholic Christians, so they believed that they were properly respecting their spouses by not getting married in the Church (actually, there’s a common misconception that weddings in the Church are reserved for couples in which both prospective spouses are Catholic). Both of my siblings lived with their legal spouses before they married them. I attended their weddings out of respect for them being my siblings - but I pray for them that they may one day come to understand and accept the Church’s teachings on marriage and otherwise (both my siblings are lapsed Catholics - my brother still considers himself Catholic, but I believe he attends his wife’s church; my sister respects my mom taking her to Mass on Christmas, but is pretty much a practicing agnostic).


If you could condense this question a bit I think it would be an excellent question ask an apologist.


Are you 1,000% sure that they did not get an annulment? If not I would take Rosebud77’s advice and mind your own business.


Read the Baltimore Catechism.

It covers all this stuff.

When we gave up the Baltimore Catechism, it really hurt.


Is the Baltimore Catechism still valid? I mean as I recall it all but forbids mixed marriages for instance as I recall. In a manner that the RCC no longer does today.


The Baltimore Catechism is still valid.

Read it.


I have, and it conflicts with post Vatican 2 teaching on many issues, for instance mixed marriages


Unless you have insider knowledge, I would mind my own business. I used to look down my nose at people who didn’t get an annulment, until it took over six years for mine, and I’m still not done.


Why would you need an annulment if you are to be married for life?


What? Because abusive putative marriages have to be ended for the protection of the innocent spouse and the children. And there is no chance to start over without investigating the marriage.

I have suffered through people making awful assumptions about me, and I won’t believe second hand information about anybody else.


When people aren’t Catholic, I figure that they have no way of knowing that what they are doing is wrong, and frankly, in most of the cases if for whatever reason the first marriages were examined by a tribunal I would expect them to be found null (in every case I know of in real life, they got married because of pregnancy, then subsequently divorced.)

In cases where there are children, I’m usually glad that home life will now be more stable. The legal ties established are better than just shacking up when it comes to them.

I find myself praying for these people often. It’s a hard business all around.


I do find myself wondering how non Catholics can be held to the same standard as Catholics. My experience before I converted was that marriage was for life in the sense that divorce was forbidden, but everybody believed that marriage was truly and completely broken by divorce. Whether one could remarry or not depended on whether one divorced on Biblical grounds or not (i.e. it was punitive), and had nothing to do with the exchange of consent. People just had to persuade a pastor to remarry them, and if one wouldn’t, another one likely would.


I say turn a blind eye. I do not know why people think it is their place to have an opinion about things that do not necessarily engage them. You can still have an opinion but keep it to yourself. I try not to consider such arrangements sins.


But then you miss out on all the fun of being indignant and judgemental.



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