Son marrying in civil ceremony, I support him

Hi, I am new here. I’m a lapsed Catholic, divorced. My son is marrying in a non- religious, but spiritual ceremony. I and my brother support him. But my cousin, who is a priest, won’t even answer my phone calls. He has been distant since I stopped going to church ten years ago, never visits. Although I supported him 15 years ago when he was ordained. Is this normal, should I expect such negativity from him and his Mother? He is my first cousin. I wold hope he would at least talk to me. But I have given up.

It may be that he does not wish to give the impression that he approves of the way that you’re living your life (remember what Catholics believe - to abandon the Sacraments is to put your soul in grave danger.) It would not be correct, from a Catholic point of view, to say, “I’m OK and you’re OK however we do things.” If you are persistent about abandoning your faith, then he may choose to pray for you at a distance instead. It’s not my first choice for people I love who are lapsed - and it may not have been his either, depending on your relationship.

That said, maybe he is just uncomfortable. Maybe something else is going on. Maybe he is busy. People can drift apart from each other without any kind of ill intention whatsoever.

It depends on what you mean by “support.” Your family members who are still practicing Catholics are very likely to not attend your son’s “wedding” (if he was baptized Catholic, he’s obligated to have a Catholic wedding). To do so would be to support sinful behavior. True support would be to pray for his (and your) reversion and hopefully your family members are doing that.

I don’t say this to be harsh, but to offer a Catholic perspective.

Thank you for your reply. I guess I’m surprised that, being a priest, he wouldn’t even return my calls. I’ve tried calling for 2 months, left messages. Doesn’t seem very Christian to me.
I think the real issue requires a new topic. Thank you.

No this is not normal. A priest should not be behaving so uncharitable. He should at least answer your phone calls.

Thank you, I appreciate your thoughts. I’ve just put a new thread up, I see this is the problem now, not my son’s wedding.

Welcome to the forums!

May I ask what your relationship has been like with your cousin the past 10 years? Do you communicate regularly and see and visit with one another? Does he usually call you back? Have you had a generally friendly and loving relationship?

I cannot tell from your post if you have a good relationship with your cousin who is a priest and suddenly he is avoiding you, or if you have not seen him for years and out of the blue you are calling him and expecting him to call you back right away.

What king of message did you leave him? Did you leave him a warm and friendly message asking him to meet for coffee? Or did you leave him a message asking him to go to your son’s wedding OR ELSE? It is true that it is good Christian behavior to reach out and return phone calls and communicate! However if the two of you had an argument previously or something happened or the tone of your message was unpleasant…perhaps he discerned that it was best to stay away for a while as not to inflame the situation. It’s hard to say without more information.

God bless you.

Hi Monica, we didn’t talk but there was no argument. With the wedding approaching, I called with friendly messages. Also emails saying I want to talk to him. I only got auto replies back. He is obviously judging me for not attending Mass, but I feel he is a coward fornot telling me to my face. There’s nothing else I can do, so I’m done.

What is a spiritual but not “religious” wedding?

The celebrant is a woman who writes marriage ceremonies using various spiritual traditions, after talking to the couple. My son and his bride chose her, since a priest will not perform a wedding outside a church. They wanted the wedding to be in a specific place, and it was their decision. Personally, i Think priests should go to other places, like a rabbi or minister will. I mean, if The Pope can say mass at Yankee Stadium, why not? But that’s another topic.


This post displays a lot of ignorance about Catholic teaching. I can understand your frustration with your cousin, but after reading this and your other thread I had a fleeting thought that I could very well understand why your cousin does not choose to keep in touch with you.

You come off as very strong here, as if you know best. That is a pretty brazen thing to do in a forum made up of people who are going to mostly disagree with you (since the majority of posters here are practicing Catholics.) If your “tone” here matches the way you speak to people in your everyday life, including your Catholic relatives, I could very well understand the impulse to avoid that. That doesn’t mean that your cousin is completely in the right, of course, but even if his response is not the most appropriate, it doesn’t mean that you have no responsibility for the way the relationship is now.

Aren’t auto replies for when someone is not available to answer their emails? That’s what I get when friends are out of town or on vacation.

Auto replies? Could he possibly be out of the area where he maybe doesn’t have reception on his phone or access to his emails? Sometimes, for example, priests do go on extended weeks-long retreats where they will give up the distractions of technology such as mobiles and emails during that time.

First, you might not want to assume he hasnt called you back due to the wedding. Priests are very busy. I once didnt call call some family for a month. I knew there was no emergency and I was working late into the nights and not really taking any lunch. Any spare time went to simply rest and deal with the most urgent personal issues. Priests are even busier!

However even it is, you are looking at it only from your side. You forget that your decision to ignore your faith is a very serious issue for those who devoutly practice their faith. This is not say anyone should be rude : that would not be practicing their faith appropriately. But, as another poster already mentioned it is not an indelicate issue for a priest to address, particularly within his own family. I am sure he is struggling about what to do. Your non practicing family have put him in a difficult situation. Yes, it is always proper to love your family. However, the world wants you to believe that love is simply always condoning what the another person does. That is not true Christian love.

Abandoning your faith is a very serious issue for you personally, for your broader family and for the Body of Christ, which includes me and those of us posting here. But most importantly, your lack of faith is a VERY serious issue for you and those who have followed you. Your cousin the priest should love his family and anyone for that matter regardless of their behavior. However, giving support to a non Catholic wedding is not necessarily the most charitable act either. It could be very easy , I am sure, for him to just acknowledge and participate in the wedding. And I bet he wishes he could. But that would be a lie to God and to the rest of us and to you. It is very sad to him and to us that you do not have the faith you were raised in. It is always sad when any family member drifts away. We want you to share in the joy and happiness, and strength that knowing a loving God provides!

To simply acknowledge you sons wedding as just another event would be a lie to your cousin. The most loving thing he can do is try to find a way to let you know that your lack of faith is a very serious issue. How we communicate that sometimes is very hard to do. But do not think for a moment that his silence is only due to disrespect and lack of care. His silence could very well be from a very great desire to love you and your son. He may not have just yet figured out the way to communicate his familial love for you and also share the love of God with you. Simply attending your sons wedding as though it were a non issue is NOT true Christian love. God cares too much for you to let you think your family’s lack of faith is simply another option in vast array of lifestyle options. Your cousin an I long for you to know God and His infinite love! Saying nothing at this point may seem rude or inconsiderate, but it could also be a sign of great love! It could be a sign your cousin is struggling mightily to find a way to share his love for his family and at the same time be clear about the Gods love for you.

It is great that you supported his ordination. And you should have. But can you really expect your family in Christ to simply accept and support your falling away from the faith as though your agnosticism were just another hobby or sport you were involved in? That isnt to say there should be any lack of warmth, let alone hostility. But this wedding represents just another step your non practicing family is taking to reject the Body of Christ. It is another door being shut. Those of us with faith in Jesus Christ and His Father, including your cousin , are perhaps not communicating the most delicately and appropriately, but we are trying to get your attention!! GOD LOVES YOU , we love you and we want you to be in heaven with us for eternity! And it is so sad that you are, or any family member, is not in communion with Christs love for all of us!

Your sons wedding should be a sacrament. A wedding is not just another activity on Saturday like shopping or cutting the lawn. It is an opportunity to receive the grace of God! You and your son have decided to throw away that opportunity. It hurts me even. And I am sure its exponentially painful for your cousin. Dont judge him too harshly. If he is a good priest, he is not judging you and your son at all. He is only grieving at your loss. And I am sad for you too!

In any event, God bless you. May He find a way to penetrate your heart. May you find His loving hand touch you and your family at your sons wedding in a way that makes His love palpable and makes it incapable of living without. Im sure your cousin has these same prayers. And I will certainly be thinking and praying about you and your son and his wedding.


So much to reply to. Thanks everyone for your opinions. First, my cousin is local and I know he wasn’t away for 2 months. I hope I’m entitled to my humble opinion about whether priests should perform weddings in other places. I see changes down the line with Pope Francis, change is healthy. Brazen? Moi? :slight_smile: funny.
I will not hold it against The Church that my cousin is snubbing me. That’s the most i can say. Thank you.

A well-taught Catholic will understand that this is not a sacramental marriage, which is for a Catholic like mere co-habitation.

I told my children that if they married outside the Church, since I knew for a fact that they knew they rules, that I would not attend.

All things being equal, a priest should be returning your phone calls. But I have no idea why he might not be doing so, it might be because he perceives that calling you would cause an argument or unpleasant confrontation, I have no idea.

In any case, when somebody chooses to have a wedding that is against the teaching of the Church, you should expect that a Catholic priest won’t attend.

Wow, I wish that you were in my family and were around May of a couple of years ago.


Waiting for changes with Pope Francis? Don’t hold your breath.

It sounds like you were trying to get him involved in this to marry them or something. If so, or if he thinks that, then that could be part of it.

Also, the idea that everybody should just do whatever I want whenever I want with no regard to what they feel or believe is an idea that may work great for you, but probably not the people you want to be your loyal subjects.

White sheep, no, I wouldn’t expect that under the circumstances. Just wanted the respect I extended to him.

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