Dear Fellow Catholics,
I think I’m facing a great dilemma and would greatly appreciate the advice of other Catholics here, especially learned priests. I am a convert to Catholicism, having been received into the Church in 2004. None of my family are Catholic (nominally Anglican, but in reality nothing really at all), and I don’t think they really ever could understand why I had to convert.
My brother has decided to marry a woman, who by all accounts is very lovely, and it is a decision I support wholeheartedly. His fiancé is a baptised Catholic, but non-practicing, and most probably received no formation during her childhood, though this is subjective. The dilemma is that they evidently have decided to marry outside of the church. I have suspected that this would be the case, but hoped that it wouldn’t be. Tonight it was confirmed, however.
My poor mother has been dreading this, as well, though for the reason that she fears our entire family will be destroyed if I should not go. She has been through a lot this past year, with the death of her twin sister, and the failing health of my father, who has spent much time in hospital and is now very frail. She is petrified that our whole family is about to be destroyed by her recalcitrant Catholic son.
I want more than almost anything to support them, but based on my understanding of Catholic marriage, theirs would not be a valid one. I don’t believe that I would be helping them to come towards the faith by not attending, but I also think that in the eyes of our Lord and His Church, it wouldn’t be valid. My devotion to the faith comes before all else, though, and I feel torn between my faith and my family.
I encountered a similar situation years ago, when a baptised Catholic cousin of my wife, raised with no or little formation in the faith, married outside of the Church. My wife wanted to go to the wedding, but I didn’t think it would be right. I then sought the counsel of a very holy and very learned priest. I promised my wife that I would do whatever he instructed me to do. I explained the situation matter-of-factly to him.
His reply: “we cannot ever support a sacrilege”. That’s really stuck with me.
Any help and insight you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Your prayers also.
Thank you in advance!