Hello, I would like to ask for help to make the right decision as a practicing Catholic. My cousin is going to be married to her fiance in April, after being guaranteed a divorce from his first wife, and they are inviting all of us to go to their wedding. I feel that I shouldn’t go since I feel that it would be like me approving of this marriage. Am I right about not going? Why or why not? I guess what I’m looking for is for some affirmation that I am making the right decision about not going, and some effective ways that I can approach this with my cousin and my family, who are planning to go to the wedding and whom some have been in the same situation as my cousin.
Catholics United for Faith has this:
The Church does not explicitly forbid Catholics from attending presumptively invalid marriages. Catholics must use their own prudential judgment in making the decision, keeping in mind the necessity to uphold the Catholic understanding of the sanctity of marriage. To make such a judgment, you might ask yourself if you believe the couple is doing the best that they can to act honorably and according to the truth that they have. For example, you might decide to attend the presumptively invalid wedding of a couple who is expecting a child (thereby attempting to provide a family for that child); but you might decline to attend the presumptively invalid wedding of a couple you know to have engaged in adultery (thereby destroying previous marriages and families).
While there may be just reason to attend a particular wedding that will be presumptively invalid, I cannot recommend participating as a member of the wedding party in such weddings. There is a difference between attending as a non-participating guest and actively involving yourself in the wedding.
If you are not attending the wedding as a matter of principle, then I cannot recommend attending a reception or giving a gift to honor an occasion that you believe in conscience that you cannot celebrate. I do recommend writing the couple a letter in which you express your love and prayers for them. (If prudence suggests it, it is fine to withhold from them what you will be praying to God that they obtain, such as the grace of repentance and conversion.)
We are called to love one another.
Do you think that by staying away from a family function you will win souls?
Something to think about.
There isn’t really one single, correct approach to this that would exclude all other possibilities as objectively incorrect. There are a lot of variables that influence which choice would be the best one.
We do not know what your relationship with your cousin is like, for example, nor how other members of your family view her upcoming wedding. I know people whose presence at such an event would cause far more confusion/shock/uproar/hullabaloo than their absence would ever generate. I also know people for whom the opposite is true. None of us here can tell you which applies in your case.
Personally, I would go. Me not being there isn’t going to stop the wedding, and I wouldn’t want to alienate my cousin.
I don’t know. I guess I just feel like I need to do or say something against their marriage because I know what they’re doing is wrong and that they are placing their salvation on the line, re-marrying as divorced couples instead of getting an annulment first, which is considered as adultery in our LORD’s eyes, and I see that not going to their wedding is the only way that I can indirectly direct them to the right path without hurting them and avoiding getting hurt by them. I also feel that if I don’t do or say anything, I would be committing a mortal sin, a mortal sinful omission. It’s hard because I know that I’m going to end up hurting them and I’m going to end up getting hurt by them if I tried any other way, but if it’s for the sake of their salvation, then I’m willing to do so.
If she was raised Catholic she probably already knows that the Catholic position is against what she’s doing. I guess I don’t really see the need to tell her, or think it would change anything except make her feel upset with you. Personally I think it’d be kind of rude and inappropriate on your part to say anything unless she specifically asks for your views on it.
You are not committing a sin neither by going to the wedding nor by not telling your cousin something that she already knows. As someone already posted, it is not against Church teaching for a Catholic to go to an invalid wedding.
I think you ought to ask your priest for advice specific to your situation, but if the family is likely to think you approve of their adultery by attending, you ought not to go. The idea that it won’t save souls by avoiding isn’t something any of us can know, for one thing.
If the couple is too set in their lifestyle to change, perhaps someone else will be edified and confirmed in their Faith at seeing a Catholic actually stand up for the Church’s teachings on marriage. Or perhaps not going will prick at the couples’ consciences, eventually leading them to return to the Church.
The fact is, as Catholics, we are somewhat set apart from the rest of society, which can’t say fast enough how all marriages are the same and we should all support whatever a couple wants. It’s not rude to charitably, but firmly, stand up for the truth when we say that certain there is a fundamental difference between a validly married couple and one which only pretends to be.