MERGED: Attending weddings of divorced/co-habiting okay?


#1

How does one reconcile this problem? My brother is marrying his longtime significant other who is divorced. Of course they are marrying outside the Church.
I feel like a hypocrite if I attend the wedding and a traitor to my family if I don’t. I fear I will be ostracized from my family if I do not attend. And, I feel like I am ignoring Church teachings if I do attend.
I have also considered skipping the wedding and attending only the reception but even that seems hypocritical.
Please help!


#2

Hard situation. To point out though, there is no rule saying that you cannot attend invalid weddings. See: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=167154. So I do not think you should feel like you are betraying your faith if you attend, if you think they are honestly doing what they think is right, even if they are wrong.


#3

Sadly, you should probably not attend. I would speak with them privately beforehand, so you can in charity and love explain that you can’t go unless they get the Church to approve the marriage. Tell them you love them too much to put on a fake facade and pretend to support something you can’t. Tell them you would heartily support them if they went to the Church.


#4

What do you think Jesus would do?


#5

A few questions (these are merely rhetorical questions, they don’t need an answer):

  1. Has your brother been living together with his significant other?

a) If so, have you gone over to dinner at their house or have you refused all invitations because of them living in sin?

b) If so, have you pulled your brother aside and talked to him about them having an illicit sexual relationship?

  1. Does your brother and/or future (invalid) sister in law go to Mass every week? When they do (assuming they are in a sexual relationship), do they receive Holy Communion?

a) If he (or they) do, have you mentioned it to him (them)?

b) If he (they) don’t, have you discussed with him (them) that it is obligatory to go to Mass each week and Holy Day of Obligation, even if, because of their relationship, they are not to receive Holy Communion?

  1. Since you are afraid of your family’s reaction to not attending, does your family, as a whole, regularly receive the sacraments?

a) If so, have you talked with your family about the importance of a marriage being valid in the eyes of the Church?

b) If not, have you talked to your family and tried to encourage them to come back to the sacraments?

  1. MOST IMPORTANTLY, have you actually talked to your brother about the importance of the marriage being valid in the eyes of the Church? Have they tried to get her earlier marriage declared null and been denied? (if denied, do you know the circumstances of why it was denied?)

The point of the above rhetorical questions is that if you have been doing your job as a Catholic…consistently and charitably defending the Faith, trying to bring your brother (or, possibly, your full family) back to the Faith and doing so out of a sense of concern for the state of his soul…your lack of recognition of the marriage and refusal to acknowledge it through your attendance should not be seen as any kind of a surprise and, I wouldn’t think, result in your ostracization (if they haven’t shunned you yet, then this shouldn’t result in your being shunned). If you’ve done all that and subsequently attend the “marriage” then you would be being inconsistent.

On the other hand, if you have closed your eyes to the situation up until this point and now decide to get a conscience, it’s a little late. It will be perceived as being Pharisaical, and rightfully so.

I think it is important to take a stand for the Faith, but that stand should be consistent throughout time.


#6

I have had several family members in a similar situation and each time I have talked to a priest about it and they all said NO, I should make my reasons very clear to them early on so they won’t be hurt at the last minute. So I disagree with the one who answered the ‘show thread’. We wouldn’t condone a car theft or any other sinful situation. They know I love them enough to pray for them. The greatest gift I could give. Some have even been reconciled to the Church since then. They said it bothered them because I had pointed out why I couldn’t attend. God Bless, Memaw


#7

I can’t imagine not attending a brother’s wedding. He is not some horrible person, he simply has religious beliefs that differ from yours.

From other posters on this thread, it certainly seems that there is no absolute prohibition on your attendance.

Attendance at other non catholic services is fine as long as one doesn’t take communion. Mere attendance doesn’t signify “acceptance” of the other religion. So, I can’t see mere attendance and being a gracious guest as being anything other than polite respect for your brother and fiancee.


#8

What is the Catholic Church say to someone who is a practicing Catholic and is invited to a wedding that the bride has been married in the Catholic Church but has not been annulled?


#9

You say, I’m sorry, I’ve already got plans.

It’s more difficult if it’s a close family member. Sometimes you attend to keep peace in the family but nothing says you can’t say you’d be happier if their marriage was valid – just don’t say it in the receiving line. :wink:


#10

So I am going to assume that it would be a sin in the eyes of God if I attend.


#11

There’s a certain amount of prudential judgment involved.

You might consider what message you’ll send by attending or by not attending. Is one action more likely to lead the couple to make things right with the Church? Will you explain to them why you’re not attending and what your concerns are, or simply not attend the wedding? Will you send a gift? If so, how is a congratulatory gift different from attending the wedding? Will you see the couple after the wedding? Will you visit their home or will you avoid that? Will you invite them to visit your home? Would you take an overnight trip with them or invite them to stay in your home overnight?


#12

Lots from Catholic Answers staff on the subject:

catholic.com/search/content/WEDDING%20ATTENDANCE

Read more than one -there are different responders there.

In all things:* truth with great love and gentleness*.

To which I will add the section from the Catechism that would apply to many things in life:

1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:

  • by participating directly and voluntarily in them;

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

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

  • by protecting evil-doers.

scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s1c1a8.htm#V


#13

Not necessarily sinful but almost certainly not prudent. If you attend, you are publicly letting not just the bride and groom, but a wider circle of friends and family know that you are celebrating this union. Under some circumstances that wouldn’t be grave but in others it might be very wrong.


#14

Lots from Catholic Answers staff on the subject:

catholic.com/search/content/WEDDING%20ATTENDANCE

Read more than one -there are different responders there.

In all things:* truth with great love and gentleness*.

To which I will add the section from the Catechism that would apply to many things in life:

1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:

  • by participating directly and voluntarily in them;

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

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

  • by protecting evil-doers.

scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s1c1a8.htm#V


#15

If it’s sinful, then it’s the sin of ‘scandal’ – your presence there may lead others to understand that you approve (or, as it were, that you believe the Church approves) of this marriage.

On the other hand, are you saying that the marriage is taking place outside the Church, in some other venue? If not – that is, if it’s taking place in a Catholic Church – is it possible that you’re not completely aware of the bride’s situation?


#16

Sorry, jrosse, my quick search of the Catechism of the Catholic Church did not reveal anything regarding attending a marriage ceremony outside the Catholic Church. From what you’ve described, the “bride” had been married in the Catholic Church but you didn’t mention if she is Catholic. If she is Catholic, she is committing the sin of adultery (see CCC 1650, Mark 10:11-12).

That said, I don’t know about attending a marriage service for a divorced person as I presume the “bride” is not being “married” in a Catholic Church.


#17

See my post above. As to the sin of adultery one need not be Catholic to commit such.


#18

I think that, for me, it would depend on my relationship with the person as well as the reasons behind the divorce. If I were a close relative or friend, and I suspected that there were very good grounds for an annulment, it just hasn’t been sought yet, I might consider attending. If the bride was a more distant relative or an acquaintance, and I didn’t know the grounds for divorce, then I would probably decline the invitation.

Perhaps this is a question your priest could help you answer?


#19

I’m not sure the Church has a specific teaching. However, why would you want to attend an invalid wedding. You are certainly bound to give some sort of scandal just by attending. I had to skip my cousin’s invalid marriage. I just told him I only attended first marriages and that I would not attend. It isn’t necessary to draw a picture, they know it is wrong.

Linus2nd


#20

The church does not have any hard rules regarding wedding attendance. It is a matter of personal judgement as to whether to attend. I would recommend against being a formal member of the wedding party, however.


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