Should I attend the wedding, scenario 2

I did not want to interfere with the OP in a similar post, so I’m adding a new thread.

My grandson (baptized, confirmed Catholic) married a girl outside the church. It lasted just short of a year. He is getting married again June 18th - also outside the church. They have rented a house out of state to have the ceremony in the yard by a JP, and it is almost a 3-hour drive. I really have a problem with all of this, but if I don’t go, I foresee some very hurt feelings that I did not come to their wedding.

Should I attend? If I offer advice privately to him prior to attending, he may not listen, since he has not practiced his faith in many years. How does my witness affect the other guests, considering scandal and all?

Opinions about this tend to be all over the place. My opinion is that you would be doing nothing wrong by attending your grandson’s wedding. He obviously has little regard for Church rules. You’re not going to change that by staying home. But by boycotting this wedding you would not only cause hurt feelings that might affect your relationship for a long, long time, your obvious absence will undoubtedly be the topic of much gossip and tongue wagging.

Thanks, Betty. I was leaning in that direction, to tell the truth. We were all together for Mother’s Day, and he smiled and reminded me about June 18th.

Catholic Answers Apologists recent discussion of attendance of invalid (hetro-sexual – homoesexual ‘weddings’ turns things up many notches further) wedding events:

catholic.com/blog/jim-blackburn/should-i-attend-the-wedding-or-not

catholic.com/blog/jim-blackburn/more-on-wedding-attendance

Another general Catechism reference:

scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s1c1a8.htm#V

These are always tough questions,

However, I am much more of a mind that the issue of scandal is greatly misunderstood and overblown.

That is not to say I think anyone should engage in scandalous behavior; but the first question is, who is going to be scandalized?

Those at the wedding are the most likely group to come to mind.

And how likely are they to be scandalized? Think about it - they are there too… which would imply generally, that they are not scandalized by the wedding ceremony (that is, it means little or nothing to them what the Church teaches on the matter).

And if it matters little to them what the Church teaches, what is the likelihood they will be scandalized by you being there? Slim and none.

It is far more likely that someone who is true to the Church and a practicing Catholic might be scandalized (particularly if they have never had this issue themselves, or if they had it, they didn’t go). The way to deal with that is to not broadcast all over that you are going. This is a personal matter, and one that is best kept that way. Sometimes we seem to have a need to engage in what I call verbal vomit - talking about all that we do to everyone within earshot. Discretion is the better part of it.

And if someone who is likely to not approve of your going is to ask, they have no right to know the answer. I would not lie; I simply would give them a non-answer, and if they pursued it after that, another. Busy bodies often have a need for a bit of juicy gossip, and the need to stand in judgment of others. You have no need morally or otherwise to fill their need.

Wow! I looked all over in AAA for an answer, and did not see such a good response as Jim Blackburn’s. Maybe this is why I am so uncomfortable with it, probably the Spirit convicting me. Problem is, none of the other guests, including my daughter, is practicing their faith either - in fact she’s in her third marriage, without seeking an annulment with regard to the first valid Catholic marriage.

They all know of my deep faith, so I am doubly worried about scandal. As it is now, my grandson has been cohabiting with his fiance for perhaps 6-8 months. Nothing is sacred.

[quote=Otjm]And if it matters little to them what the Church teaches, what is the likelihood they will be scandalized by you being there? Slim and none.

[/quote]

True. Whether I’m there or not, they will still go ahead with the wedding. I would feel like a hypocrite, shaking hands and saying hurrah, when in my heart, I’m truly upset and realize it is not a valid marriage.

I don’t think I am suggesting saying hurrah… I understand the pain, much more than you realize.

I have never hidden my feelings to what has occurred in my family, and none of them have any question as to where I stand on the Catholic Church. But I am not going to burn those bridges. Not now, and not in the future. And for anyone who wishes to criticize me, I suggest they walk a mile in my moccasins.

I don’t think you have to feel like a hypocrite. One can make their position known without shoving it down someone else’s throat, or without getting into a nasty battle. One does not need to go around the wedding saying “Oh, I so do not approve of this” or “You know, they are going to go to hell for this” to be clear with others about one’s position. And neither is it honest to pretend that none of it matters. Those are the two extremes, and the truth usually is not at the extremes.

Catholics who are “attempting” marriage outside the Church --know to not invite me.

I would not attend -but I do of course continue my loving relationship with them (as persons) of the whatever kind that may be (while not showing subsequent approval of the invalid marriage). Truth and charity together.

A great quote for us all to meditate on from time to time in terms of our current difficulties and confusion in the society we live in (to be applied to so many things in life):

"Only in truth does charity shine forth, only in truth can charity be authentically lived.

Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way. In a culture without truth, this is the fatal risk facing love. It falls prey to contingent subjective emotions and opinions, the word “love” is abused and distorted, to the point where it comes to mean the opposite."

~ Pope Benedict XVI

CARITAS IN VERITATE

:smiley: Gotcha!

And neither is it honest to pretend that none of it matters. Those are the two extremes, and the truth usually is not at the extremes.

Isn’t it a shame that others put us in this position of having to deal with their unorthodox decisions? I’ve been on both sides of the fence trying to reconcile how to deal with this. Thanks for offering some very good food for thought.

A great quote for us all to meditate on from time to time in terms of the current difficulties and confusion in the society we live in --and our response (to be applied to so many things in life):

"Only in truth does charity shine forth, only in truth can charity be authentically lived.

Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way. In a culture without truth, this is the fatal risk facing love. It falls prey to contingent subjective emotions and opinions, the word “love” is abused and distorted, to the point where it comes to mean the opposite."

~ Pope Benedict XVI

CARITAS IN VERITATE

Good stuff, Bookcat! :thumbsup:

And I thoroughly respect that. It is not an area where I would suggest anyone blithely make decisions.

Yes truth and charity (see Pope Benedict above) and choosing the best means to the end.

(as opposed to yelling at them or throwing a water balloon at them as they try to wed).

Good end and good means (avoiding approval…with truth and charity etc).

It is an invalid marrige so no you should definitly not go. Say something like “I am very sorry but I love you and cant let you think that i am endorsing a marrige our Church does not recognise. I hope you are happy and that everything goes well for you” Concealing or letting things slide does not help, this may be jut the wake up call that is needed. Make clear to him that you would be happy to intend if he was willing to go through the proper channels to get approval to marry outside the church but that you cant youreself break them.

If we attend invalid marriges then we are seen to support them and this can hinder people seeing the truth. we are celebrating someone living in sin.

I can relate as a similar situation awaits me soon with a relative. (Divorce and remarriage.)

My approach has been to ask why she didn’t investigate a nullity declaration (I think she has a case, and I’m no fan of mass-produced annullments!), to encourage it, but not push it obnoxiously.

For the wedding, we’ll attend, but I won’t be in the wedding party (close relative) and we’ll probably arrive at the (secular) ceremony just in time, sit in back and leave immediately for the reception. She’ll know we came because we love her, but nobody has to think we’re enthusiastic about it.

It’s a real no-win situation when you’re known as the “throwback religious guy” in the family. Participate fully and you send a message of approval. Shun the thing and you look like a self-righteous creep. The above is the best route I can see through the minefield.

Have you ever offered moral advice to your grandson or encouraged him to attend Church?

I have a similar but different scenario - my daughter, baptised and raised Catholic, left the Church some years ago. She’s planning on getting married in a private ceremony (just the 2 witnesses) with a JP. I’m not invited. I would dearly love to be there, just to be with her.

We’ve managed to save just enough money for air fare if she changes her mind.

This is your grandson’s wedding, whether it takes place in a church or as a civil service. There is nothing in Catholic Church teaching that would prohibit someone from attending a wedding, baptism, or for that matter a bar mitzvah or funeral in another church or synagogue. You will commit no wrong against the Church by attending the garden wedding of you grandson but your absence will be sorely felt by those at the ceremony… and it will not reflect well on you.
If you decide not to attend the wedding it will be your own personal decision and not a mandate from the Church. Your grandson will probably wrongly blame the “intolerant Catholic Church” for not “allowing” his grandmother to attend his wedding and you will surely alienate him, his wife, their parents, and your future great grandchildren.
A better path would be to lead by loving example, attend the wedding, hold your tongue, wish them well, and in the meantime, pray without ceasing, like St. Monica the mother of Augustine did, that in due time he and his family will embrace the true faith and at the very least have their children, your great grandchildren, baptized Catholic. Then you may be given the honor and opportunity of teaching the next generation of your family about the beauties of the Catholic faith as only a loving great grandmother can do.

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