My Conscience vs. Family (Urgent)


#1

Tough Moral Question:

My older brother got married to a woman outside of the Church after the priest told them they could not be married in the Church until they worked out some issues. A side note is that though the deacons were told by the priest not to be present at the wedding outside the Church, one of the deacon's who was a close family friend was present in the congregation at the non-Catholic Wedding.

Needless to say the marriage didn't work out.

While still going through the civil divorce he started dating someone else who was also going through a civil divorce. Once there divorces were final they got married in some wedding chapel.

Now they have a baby and we were going to visit them in the hospital, but they were discharged early and my conscience is telling me not to visit them at home because they are not married in the eyes of the Church and he is still married to his other wife in the eyes of the Church. At least from what I could tell.

Now, not visiting them at their home will bring with it many problems within the family because no one else sees a problem with this situation.

So my question is: Is it a scandal to visit their home? Does this show that we validate their relationship? And does it matter that an Ordained Deacon was present at the First Marriage even if he had no part in the ceremony?

This is an urgent request as we have been invited to their house this afternoon!


#2

I would say you can visit your brother as you do not want to cause a family rift. i would take him aside and let him know your concerns and that he may want to discuss his situation with a local priest. And above all things PRAY Hard for him.


#3

I don't know why you consider your brother to have had a valid first marriage, since by your own accounting it had such a serious defect in form that Catholic clergy were not allowed to officiate by the priest who was most aware of the situation. (This is not the same as attending, BTW.) He's Catholic and did not marry according to canon law. He would have to document the defect in form in order to show himself free to marry in the Church, but there is no way he's married to his first wife in the eyes of the Church. (You don't say what the circumstances are with his second wife's first marriage, but it could be the same thing.)

It is not a sin, per se, to visit people whose lives have willful faults or sins. We are allowed to visit and dine with people, even other Catholics, who aren't married in the eyes of the Church, who don't think they have to pay their taxes or support the Church, who are nasty bosses or dishonest employees, and so on. This is particularly true when they are members of the immediate family.

It would seem most likely to faciliate the eventual convalidation of your brother's civil marriage if you were to stay on good terms with him and his wife. He wanted his first attempt at marriage to be a marriage in the Church, but that didn't happen. He may have mixed emotions about Church weddings now. Do more listening than talking, but pray for him, continue to treat him as a brother, and plan to encourage him and his wife to marry in the Church and have their new baby baptised.


#4

[quote="Chesterhead22, post:1, topic:253059"]
Tough Moral Question:

My older brother got married to a woman outside of the Church after the priest told them they could not be married in the Church until they worked out some issues. A side note is that though the deacons were told by the priest not to be present at the wedding outside the Church, one of the deacon's who was a close family friend was present in the congregation at the non-Catholic Wedding.

Needless to say the marriage didn't work out.

While still going through the civil divorce he started dating someone else who was also going through a civil divorce. Once there divorces were final they got married in some wedding chapel.

Now they have a baby and we were going to visit them in the hospital, but they were discharged early and my conscience is telling me not to visit them at home because they are not married in the eyes of the Church and he is still married to his other wife in the eyes of the Church. At least from what I could tell.

Now, not visiting them at their home will bring with it many problems within the family because no one else sees a problem with this situation.

So my question is: Is it a scandal to visit their home? Does this show that we validate their relationship?
This is an urgent request as we have been invited to their house this afternoon!

[/quote]

By "visit" do you mean drop by, kiss the baby, give the baby a gift and go home after a few hours? If so, nothing wrong with that. They are still this baby's parents regardless of their irregular marriage situation.

If by "visit" you mean go and stay a few days/weeks, that might be more of an issue because they are living "in sin" but it still isn't a validation of their choices.

And does it matter that an Ordained Deacon was present at the First Marriage even if he had no part in the ceremony?

No, the marriage is still invalid. Even a priest in the congregation wouldn't change that. A marriage outside the Church can only be valid with a dispensation.


#5

While you may not want to invite your brother and his new wife for dinner, going to see your newborn niece/ nephew is a very different story.

A child is a blessing whether born in or out of wedlock and I would hope that the whole family will ALWAYS be by this child’s side and through all of the celebrations of the life that God has gifted him/ her. This is by o means an endorsement of your brother’s union but a charitable and normal recognition of their child who is WILLED and CREATED by God.

You can perhaps explain to your brother all of this so that he doesn’t get the wrong impression but more important than showing your disapproval for his wrongdoing is showing love and care for your family, especially the one who though a fruit of this wrong union is innocent and a blessing in him/herself


#6

I guess the questions are:

-how old are you?
-do you still live at home?
-are your brother and his wife in the area or do you have to travel an hour or more to visit?

That may help determine if you can get away with not visiting at this time if you feel uncomfortable.


#7

This new baby is a niece or nephew, a blood relative. You have to be social, and putting it off isn’t going to help. Unlike a girlfriend that you don’t care for, this brother’s child is not going anywhere. The marriage could break up, the brother (heaven forbid) could even die or lose custody, and the child will still be a relative. What are you going to do, put off visiting your brother at his house until the kid is inviting you to school programs? The kid’s wedding? You have to make a visit before your behavior amounts to shunning the poor child. That is when it gets uncomfortable.


#8

Thanks everyone for the comments. THough i didn't get them before, we decided to visit for about an hour and when i read the replies I felt a lot better. So thanks again. God Bless!


#9

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