Two young Catholics are getting married at the end of May. The problem is that they have been “questioning” their faith and as such have decided, by default, to marry in a Baptist church. Should a practicing Catholic attend this wedding as it will not be seen as valid by the church? Would it be a sin to attend and bear witness? What about the hope that doors could be left open for future discussions about the faith if we were to attend? I am so confused as to what is best to do… Any help would be appreciated.
No, it would not be a sin to attend. You know their marriage is only valid if they were Baptists themselves and done under biblical context “yes protestant marriages are valid folks”, and at the same time, at the end of it, ask them when they plan upon making it legit within a Catholic church, since it sounds like you’ll be the voice of reason on this one.
If they ask you to support this decision to marry outside of the church, make it clear that you do not, yet you will be there regardless if you must. Personally, I’d tell them that they need to do it correctly even though they are questioning their faith and have a second one at their baptist church for what sounds like new friends in the faith, to make sure it’s covered perfectly in God’s eyes, if they cannot make that kind of commitment, how are they going to justify making this commitment to each other for life…
I know how difficult this decision is because I had to make it when our daughter opted to get married outside the Church. In the end I attended because she is my daughter and to have stayed away would have just done more harm to what faith she has left.
If you are not that close to the young people you might opt to stay away from the ceremony, and tell them why, and only attend the reception.
The idea above about having 2 weddings is simply forbidden by the Church.
No it’s not, if you opt to say forbidden, you had darn well back it up with cannon law in quotes. The second would not technically be a wedding, and likely, not even be held in the first place once they realize they have strayed. Nothing in cannon law tells us two weddings are forbidden, the first is valid, the second, is only a ceremony, nothing more, regardless of where it’s at fundie…
Canon 1127. §3. It is forbidden to have another religious celebration of the same marriage to give or renew matrimonial consent before or after the canonical celebration according to the norm of §1. Likewise, there is not to be a religious celebration in which the Catholic who is assisting and a non-Catholic minister together, using their own rites, ask for the consent of the parties.
Granted Canon 1127 deals with mixed marriages but if it’s forbidden in the case of mixed marriages it’s even more forbidden for two Catholics to do so.
In any case, if they married in the Catholic Church first why on earth would they want to go have a fake wedding in the Baptist Church? If they do so in the Baptist Church first then it becomes a case of convalidation and they usually can’t do that right away after contracting an invalid marriage.
My point being here, the valid wedding, in their case is within the Catholic church, any way they do it is fine, and yeah, why on earth indeed, but this is a situation where we have two mixed up, fallen away Catholics, it’s muddy waters here, and at best the OP can sway them to do it in the proper order, at worse, they screw it up with it being out of order, but at least it does get finally, correctly done within the church itself that they belong to.
There’s no clear, easy answer.
Here’s a link to an Ask an Apologist thread on the topic, which I think gives some helpful guidlines in evaluating the situation and deciding what you should do:
I also posted this up in your copy thread in apologetics. Please make sure the couple understands what is required… I sure wish I had…my dad refused to walk me down the aisle…only now do I understand that he would have thought the marriage invalid…but he did not tell me at the time…I SURE wish he would have!
Attend the wedding. Wish them well. I don’t see the problem. It’s not about you, it’s about them.
Actually, it isn’t. As Fr corapi says: I’m not going to hell for anybody.
It’s not a wedding. They are bound by catholic form and matter. What they are esentially doing is publicly stating they are going to live in a public state of fornication. It’s not a real marriage and one can’t do anything that might be considered approval of sinful actions. A person might attend to keep a relationship going, but cannot be an official witness.
I would not attend, and I would explain to the couple why I wasn’t attending. I wonder if they should maybe even postpone the wedding if they are in a faith crisis to the point that they think getting married in a Baptist church is the way to go.
This is the kind of situation where we, as confirmed Catholics, should be stepping up during the “questioning” phase to help them learn the answers to their questions. Once the wedding plans (at a Baptist church?!) have been made, wringing our hands over whether to attend doesn’t help much.
I pray that we all find the strength to stand up for the faith and support others who have questions and doubts.
The problem is that since both are Catholics, they are bound to follow Catholic form which consists of marriage before a Catholic priest or deacon. Unless this wedding, though inside a Baptist church, is presided over by Catholic clergy, the marriage is automatically invalid for both of them. Your presence at the wedding would be seen as a public statement of approval for their actions, and therefore be a source of further scandal.