Questions on Wedding Attendace


Dear all on the CAF,

I’ve been puzzling over this question for some weeks now, and I’m not sure what the answer is, so I’m in need of help.

My best friend is a lapsed Catholic. He stopped attending Mass a few years ago, but he has been attending a Protestant church since then, and plans to have a non-Catholic ceremony with myself as his best man. He has not made any formal act of defection/apostasy, nor does he have any desire to do so. However, the Church changed the rule in 2010 so that formal defection no longer releases one from the merely ecclesiastical laws of the Church. He is also unwilling to get a dispensation from the bishop in order to get married in a Protestant ceremony.

While I cannot be his best man, I’m not confused about whether I can even attend at all. I’m seriously considering not attending at all, since the marriage will be invalid, and I feel that my presence would cause scandal.

Would I be correct in not attending?


You’ll get a variety of answers here. Best to ask a trusted priest.


I too would not attend a wedding that is going to be invalid…how can I “celebrate” such? Nor do I give a gift etc. I love them and remain friends etc but I do not attend.


It is a very difficult situation. But if I was in your shoes and was being honest with myself, I don’t see how I could attend in good conscious.


It’s very difficult. One priest I know recommends attending only the reception. You wouldn’t be witnessing the ceremony that way and would only be attending a party. You might be in a real bind at the ceremony if the officiant asks if anyone present knows why this man and woman should not be joined together, as you will know of a very good reason. Very difficult.

I will add that the Church does not forbid us to attend such ceremonies and that it is not inherently sinful to do so. Each of us must decide for themselves.


I would ask a trusted priest as well. It is a hard situation.

I myself will be going down this same road this year for 2 friends and my brother so I know how hard it is. I will pray that the Lord lead you to the right answer :slight_smile:


I was the best man at such a wedding but in title only. Didn’t participate in the ceremony. Did give a speech at the reception.

Whether you attend or participate is a matter of prudential judgment. It’s not forbidden by the Church. In general, there’s usually no harm in attending. Participating is a bit tougher.


Its not Valid if its non catholic


Always ask a trusted priest. This can be a very divisive topic.

The problem with this scenario is that a a couple can have their baby baptized, and *never * take the child to Mass, never teach them anything about the Church or God.

Then 30 years later the man wants to get married and according to the Church, he is suppose to be married in the Church.

People here talk about Catholic in Name Only, meaning people that don’t fully practice their faith. For me, someone like I described is a CINO.


That’s a good point. I found myself in an invalid marriage having not been to Church since first communion and having had no idea that there even were such creatures as invalid marriages. Thankfully, by the grave of God and the work of a good priest, I was brought home and had my marital situation normalized.


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