In-Law Problems


I have several questions. But let me start at the beginning. My brother got married about two years ago, which wasn’t in the church and both he and his wife are Catholic. To date they still haven’t gotten their marriage blessed, registered in the parish, and they are both receiving communion. My sister-in-law asked me when they first moved here (they moved to Nevada from North Carolina) if it was alright for her to receive communion even though her marriage wasn’t blessed. I explained to her that she and my brother couldn’t, and she began to yell at me that her priest in North Carolina told her that she could. So I tried to calm her down and that is could be that either she misunderstood him or he was wrong, and that if she wanted to she could speak to the priests at our parish about it since they would be able to explain things to her better. She kept yelling at me saying how wrong I was and that I didn’t know what I was talking about.
I want her and my brother to receive the graces from a true sacramental marriage and to receive communion correctly, but how do I help them without starting a fight? :confused:


You could also refer her to CAF. :slight_smile: I don’t think she wants to hear that she’s wrong, though. It doesn’t matter what you say. She wants to hear that she is correct. I bet she screams and yells to get her way in other circumstances, although I don’t know for sure.

You can’t. Obviously, she wants to fight about it. You can pray for her. You can pray for your brother. Prayer does indeed help. You can offer sacrifices for them. You can have Masses said for them. You can point out things to them if they ask. But your SIL has made up her mind based on one priest and right now, she’s not very flexible in her opinion.

How does the rest of the family deal with this, such as your parents, her in-laws?


I highly suggest you refer her to a priest or another source. It is not a good idea to cause trouble with a sibling or inlaw.



How does the rest of the family deal with this, such as your parents, her in-laws?

My dad doesn’t like her at all (mostly because of personality conflicts) and my mom and I like her. I know it hurts my mom to see her go to communion and not in a state of grace. My mom also feels conflicted because she (my mom) is an extraordinary Eucharistic minister (is that the PC way of saying Eucharistic minister?) and has had in the past to give my SIL communion. She too is afraid to say anything, because of what happened between my SIL and I.


Some people want the truth, they just don’t want to hear the truth. The best thing you can do is pray for her, or maybe get a booklet or pamphlet that would explain the church’s position on the subject. God Bless you.


I would advise your mother to speak to her Priest, and ask explain the situation. The priest will advise her what she should do as an EMHC.

Also, advise your sister to set up a meeting with the Priest to discuss her marriage. You might also buy her a copy of the Catechism :smiley:


Your mother needs to go see your pastor, IMO, and talk about this. Your mom knows for a fact that they have not had their marriage blessed. Normally, I would be all for giving them the benefit of the doubt, if your brother and SIL were just people in the parish who maybe did, maybe didn’t have their marriage convalidated, or were living as brother and sister (I take it that is not the case). But your mom knows this for a fact, that they are not married in the Church and they are not living as brother and sister while awaiting convalidation (How she would know this I don’t want to know). Her responsibility in her capacity as a EMHC is to Jesus in the Eucharist, not to family harmony. Surely the pastor, or somebody from the chancery, can figure a way to tell your SIL, or give your mother a procedure or something.


I tried to calm her down and that is could be that either she misunderstood him or he was wrong,

Is there any chance that either YOU misunderstand, or that YOU are wrong?


I have a similar situation and talked to the priest about it. He said to give her communion if she comes to me. (Which out of respect for me she does not because she knows how I feel and how I believe) The priest told me that if “there is a problem” to let him handle it. :crossrc: :crossrc:


I wonder like another poster asked, why did she ask you if she could receive Communion if she already spoke to a priest about it? Maybe she inwardly sensed something wasn’t quite right, (even if she did get an incorrect answer from a priest or if she did not understand him correctly.)

You know for a fact that they are not married in the Church, but don’t make assumptions regarding the state of her soul. I think that especially holds true if she recieved bad advice from a priest. While a sin may objectively be mortal sin, mortal sin also requires full knowledge and full consent of the will.

I understand why you would worry about the state of their souls. I would suggest that you recommend to your **brother **that *he *discuss the matter of their marriage and Communion with a good priest in the Confessional.

In-law problems represent family problems, (although technically speaking if they are not married in the eyes of the Church maybe this woman is not yet a family member.) You mentioned in the original post that your brother also receives Communion when their marriage has not been blessed, yet most of the comments here are about her, not him. If you and your parents want to do something, take up the matter with your brother.


Perhaps talking to your brother first and not his wife? Also perhaps his wife feels she doesn’t know you well enough or trusts you enough for you to be telling her how to practice her religion. I don’t know but I will say a prayer for you and them. Inlaws can be a tricky thing.:crossrc:


As a general comment the “my priest told me it was okay” argument is often used by those who know they are going against the teachings of the Church. It is in no way indicative that they were actually told this by a priest, but in their mind it quickly ends the argument


Her priest may have told her that. My priest told me the church doesn’t deny evolution but God created us separately from the animals hence the missing link. I took that as gospel for 15 years although some on here have said that isn’t so.


Since I first posted this I thought you should know that my mom said that she has talked to both of our priests about someone else in our parish with a similar circumstance and was told that she had to give people communion no matter who came up to her since she wasn’t the priest.

I think I will try a little harder to bring this up with my brother, although I’ve been avoiding it since I’ve been afraid if he brings it up to his wife it will start another fight. And I don’t want to turn anyone off from the Church.


My sister-in-law asked me

How is it that she asked you, and then felt some justification in hollering and screaming about your answer?
Sounds like someone who may want to be confirmed in sin.


We were in the kitchen getting food ready (I think, I’m kinda foggy as to why we were both in the kitchen in the first place) for dinner when she just asked me out of nowhere about her receving Communion. I plainly said that both her and my brother would have to wait until they had their marriage blessed. I also said that getting their marriage blessed was fairly easy to do, all she and my brother had to do was make an appointment at the parish office. I also told her that the worst that could happen would be that it would take them a few weeks and they might be asked to go to Confession, so there was really nothing to worry about. That’s when she started yelling at me.


I don’t know how long ago this was, but if she hasn’t brought it up since, you might want to try the following tactic to put the ball back in her court, then just give it up to God:

When the two of you are alone and relaxed, you might want to say to her, “I was thinking about when you asked me about receiving Holy Communion, and I realized I made a huge mistake. What I said was my opinion, what you need is factual information from a priest. I’m so sorry for how I handled it. Fr. So-and-so would be great to talk to, he can answer all your questions. If you want, I can give you his number. And please forgive me for inserting my opinion instead of suggesting the expertise of a priest.”

By asking for forgiveness and taking the path of humility, you allow her to avoid taking a defensive position. She can save face. If she hears that you made a mistake, she’s less likely focus on her mistake, and more likely to seek out council from a priest.


As someone with in-law problems I can only give feeble advice. She may see at you guys trying to destroy her marriage? How well have you guys made her feel loved and part of the new family? Perhaps you should spend a day with her making her feel loved and part of the family and then just simply mention this is what is expected? I wish you the best and will pray for your brothers marriage. :thumbsup:


What I don’t understand is, if they are both Catholic and never been married before, and want to recieve the HolyEucharist why don’t they just get married in The Catholic Church?:confused:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit