Response to family members second marriage


Ok, so here is the dilemma:
Sue’s sister Jane’s first marriage was to a non church going Catholic. They were married in an Episcopal church with both Episcopal and Catholic priests present. Jane raises the family in the Episcopal Church. 25+ years later, Jane and first husband separate. Jane moves out of state and in with her boyfriend, Joe, a divorced church going Catholic.

Eventually Jane divorces first husband and Jane & Joe, who are living together now for a couple of years, get engaged. Although Joe would like to get remarried in the Catholic Church and looks into annulment process, Jane & Joe decided to get married in the Episcopal Church.

The couple, who are in their early 60s, both have children from their first marriages and plan to invite about 100 guest to their wedding and reception. What is the appropriate response by Sue (a Catholic) and other Catholic family members to Jane & Joe’s engagement and anticipated wedding/marriage.


Life has certainly gotten more complicated hasn’t it? You can find the answer by looking through questions and answers by the apologists on this site. I know because I ran into a similar question. The bottom line however is that you can attend any wedding in any church between any two people—EXCEPT a same sex marriage. I’d say that if you’re friends with this couple and don’t want to offend them, then go. If it makes you uncomfortable then don’t. The church does not ask or expect you to pass judgment on any marriage except a homosexual one which, of course, can never be valid. :thumbsup:


What made Joe change his mind? Just out of curiosity.


…is Jane Catholic?



My understanding was that a Catholic can not attend a marriage they know to be an invalid marriage.

Janes first marriage was both valid and sacramental. Valid because we are to assume all marriages are valid until shown otherwise. Sacramental because the Priest would not have attended if it wasn’t.

If Sue knows that Jane has not obtained an annulment (and been Janes sister this is believeable) then she can not attend.

The marriage between Jane and Joe does not exist any more than a sacramental marriage can exist between two members of the same gender.


The first marriage was sacramental because both were baptized Christians. It was valid because presumably, since there was a Catholic priest there, the proper dispensations for marrying outside of the Catholic Church were obtained.

A priest may attend a non-sacramental but valid wedding. He can be the presider who witnesses the vows. If a Catholic marries a non-baptized person in the Catholic Church, or in another church with the proper dispensations, the marriage is valid, but not sacramental. Baptism is what makes the marriage sacramental. If a Catholic marries in a non-Catholic church without proper dispensation from the Bishop, the marriage is invalid.


While it was a valid marriage, Jane has never been anything but Episcopal, so the marriage is not against her church’s rules. Jane’s family can probably attend in good conscious. Joe’s family can probably attend too, but they have more reason to be concerned for how this will affect his soul as he probably has better understanding of Church teaching on the matter. In general, if it is not a gay marriage, I would probably go ahead and attend for peace and harmony in the family. If a brother’s gay marriage, I might attend, but they would know what I thought of the matter.


You love them right? Easy answer. If so don’t be a holier than thou (you know what) and go to the wedding. :thumbsup:


“Best wishes.”


I am curious as well; have indirectly asked but received no response. Not sure if it required too much time/effort, annulment denied or what? I’m thinking both marriage would require annulments as both had Catholics involved and Catholic priest present.


Jane is not, though she attends Mass and receives Holy Communion. Joe is Catholic.


I think the only thing worse than a family member not attending my wedding would be a family member attending my wedding but going ‘tsk tsk’ the whole time.


Maybe he figured he get the annulments after the fact, then get get the marriage Convalidated? Is that allowed/an option?


Seriously, the person who asked this question should take the time to go back through the apologetics topics here on CAF. None of us is required to grapple with whether or not a marriage is valid. That is between the couple and the church. They can attend this wedding–or not–as they choose. The only situation where a Catholic absolutely cannot attend or participate in a wedding is one between two homosexuals, as those marriages are not valid ever and across the board. They are sinful by very nature and thus they are off bounds for Catholics.


You misread. They would know upfront how I felt about the situation. I would be well-behaved that day.


I’m not saying you wouldn’t be well-behaved…but you assumedly wouldn’t be looking overjoyed when you were there. They would be able to tell, you know?


Exactly. You wish them all the best. In your mind, “all the best” means you are praying that they regularize their situation and come into full communion with the Church.

This recognizes that they made an (adult) choice that you may not agree with but recognizes their free will to make their own choices in life (and we all make some real bloopers at some point; we are after all sinners), and that you love them and wish the best for them, but in no way verbally communicates approval.


Well, no, I’m not going to be overjoyed about someone putting their soul in grave danger. I’d kind of like to see them in the next life.


When my sister divorced her first husband, got an annulment (after three children) when annulments in the USA were handed out like candy and married another man, I did not attend the wedding because I knew that the first marriage was a valid sacrament. I feel attending a wedding is giving your public approval of that marriage. When a Catholic divorces and remarries it is adultery. It should even be that way for any Bible believing Christian. Matthew 19:9 Mark 10:11 Luke 16:18


How about a polygamous marriage where the man will have two wives after the wedding you’re invited to?

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