Must I recognize this man as my uncle?

My mother’s sister (a lapsed Catholic) married a rather bad man. They have one child together. They were married outside of the Church by a Baptist minister and now do not attend church. Because my aunt is a Catholic still under the laws of the Church, must I recognize her invalidly married “husband” as my uncle?

I ask because this man does not have the best interest of his wife nor his child in his heart but my family refuses to “excommunicate” him from the family because they consider him a part of it. Must I recognize this man as my uncle and a part of my family? Or does the fact that they are invalidly married sever any ties he could have had?

You do not say why you think your aunt’s husband is “a rather bad man,” other than that he “does not have the best interest of his wife nor his child in his heart” (which is a subjective and unsubstantiated opinion of yours). Therefore I can only assume that your family has good reason for not wanting to shun him.

I cannot imagine what possible good it could do for you to ignite a feud in your family by shunning your aunt’s husband. I can only recommend treating him civilly, if only for the sake of your aunt and cousin. What you might do is explain to your mother your discomfort in calling this man “Uncle” and ask her for ideas for a respectful alternative.

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