still confused

i need some well thought answers please.

i know i already posted this so pleasae be patient

invitation to a wedding what the groom is divorced, niether party is cahotlic. divorce and remarriage are an objective sin against God usually, why is most of the advice i’m getting making it seem like it’s no big deat it, it’s not a sin. l if i attend? and how is attending not approving of their sin?

i am sincerely trying to understand, so if i get people yelling at me or saying i’m being uncharitable, i’d prefer if you just didn’t answer.

and yes i did talk to a priest, before i even gave him any details, he just said don’t worry about it, it’s not a sin. so i’m even more confused. i’m sorry for asking again.

has anyone else ever been in a similar situation?

It’s because non-Catholics do not realize/know that they are sinning.

If this was a Catholic wedding, the reason you would not want to go isn’t because of the sin; but because the Catholic party is “protesting” or “disobeying” the Church, especially if the Catholic party knows full well that they are disobeying Jesus & the Church.

I hope this helps.

I think I heard someone on the Catholic Answers Live show answer a similar question just in the last few days, and if I remember correctly, the explanation was that if both persons in the couple are not baptized as Catholics, the church does not hold them responsible for understanding marriage as the Church does, and therefore a Catholic is not canonically bound to decline an invitation to the wedding. They did mention that if a remarried couple were to convert to Catholicism later on, they would have to have their previous marriages annulled before they could be fully initiated into the Church or have their marriage convalidated.

So, the bottom line is, yes, you are allowed to go, assuming neither one of them was baptized in the Catholic Church.

That being said, if you are still uncomfortable going, it is ok to make a polite excuse with minimal explanation (“So sorry I can’t make it!”) and not go.

using that logic, what about noncatholic homosexual weddings? or noncathotic abortions? they don’t necessarily know they are sinning either. what’s the fdifference?

Just re-read the previous post. Even though some responses seemed uncharitable, all in all the issues were discussed and the current Church position outlined.

Only you can make the decision to attend or not. The Church does not hold you to either option.

Yes. I have a friend, Christian but not Catholic, who re-married and I chose to attend the wedding. I didn’t even know him when he was previously married, and by all accounts it wasn’t a great marriage. If he was Catholic, he presumably would have sought an annulment, but I’m not certain he would have sought one or been granted one.

But what was to be gained by me not attending? Likely causing great offense and ending a friendship. He remains a Christian, and is now a great husband and father. It’s not my place to judge that what he did, or is doing, is personally sinful (even if it objectively may be).

There are some casing where I would choose to not attend, for example if the relationship was born out of adultery which destroyed existing families.

Anyway, you must make your own choice here. Either way, you should ask yourself what is to be gained or lost in your choice. And if you feel you shouldn’t attend, whether you can simply offer a polite decline, but no explanation.


There are really two issues here: first, objectively speaking, what’s the status of your friend? Second, what’s your responsibility in the context of witnessing his marriage?

To answer the first question, we’d need more info than you’ve given here. Perhaps the priest you asked made assumptions about the situation; perhaps he was mistaken; perhaps he was simply overly optimistic. We can’t really say. The question about your friend’s status would have to do with whether he’s a baptized Christian (as well as whether his first wife was baptized), and, strictly speaking, when they were baptized (before, during, or after the marriage). In addition, the baptismal status of his fiancee is also relevant. What it comes down to is this: any marriage in which there are two baptized Christians has the possibility of being a sacramental marriage; the Catholic Church believes that a sacramental marriage is a life-long commitment, as long as it’s entered in to properly.

With respect to the second question, a Catholic should only witness a marriage that is valid – valid marriages can happen between unbaptized persons, between an unbaptized person and a Christian, between two Christians, between a Christian and a Catholic Christian, and between two Catholic Christians. The first type (between two unbaptized persons) can be valid, but is not sacramental; the others can be valid and can be sacramental. Depending on the situation, a Catholic would make a decision about attending a marriage based on the validity of the marriage. In the case of an invalid marriage, a Catholic might still attend, but only if there is a reason that outweighs the possible scandal that someone might experience if they encountered a “valid Catholic” witnessing an invalid marriage.

Does that help?

my acquaintances are not christians at all. th guy isn’t e guy is a teammate from sports so i do have to see him on a regular basis. also to make issues more complicated, my parents are in an invalid marriage themselves so me not going is seen as being uncharitable to them and “judging”. sigh… i don’t know if that would count as outweighing attending an invalid marriage or not. i don’t know anything about his first marriage at all, he was already divorced when i met him. i don’t think his current fiancee is a christian either, not that i’ve asked but i highly doubt it

You did :), I listened to the podcast just today. It was Steve Ray talking to Patrick about his 6 rules for dealing with non-Catholics.

Oh, and Tim Staples here.

OK. It’s not really possible to answer your questions, though, if we don’t know the particulars of the situation, don’t you agree?

However, in general, if your friend and his first wife are non-Christian, then their marriage is natural but not sacramental. If he or his ex were to want to marry a Catholic, then it would be possible, since Scripture tells us that it’s possible to dissolve a marriage in favor of the faith.

In any case, though, if your friend, his ex, and his fiancee are non-Christian, then the Church really doesn’t exert jurisdiction over them, per se. So, the question for you isn’t one of whether they’re obeying Church laws, but rather, what it is that they’re doing in this marriage. Are they saying something about the permanence of marriage? Are they saying something about the way that we are created and how our actions reflect our respect of our Creator’s intent? More to the point, does your participation or attendance at their wedding reflect your beliefs about what is good and true in God’s creation and God’s plan for humanity?

also to make issues more complicated, my parents are in an invalid marriage themselves so me not going is seen as being uncharitable to them and “judging”.

This would seem to be a much more important question for you, personally, and rightly so! Since you mention that your parents’ marriage is ‘invalid’, though, that would seem to imply that they are at least Christian, if not Catholic, and/or they’re in a second marriage. If this is true, then this means that their situation is vastly different from your friend’s situation. In other words, your decisions in the case of your friend do not reflect, in any way, your feelings toward your parents or your ability to be charitable toward them! After all, your decision about your non-Christian friend wouldn’t say anything about your thoughts about Christian parents, would it?

(I’m a sports guy, so a sports analogy comes to mind: if your folks were Chicago White Sox fans, and you told them that you were a Cubs devotee, then your decision would be a slap in their face. But, if you told them that you were a Blackhawks fan, what would that have to do with their love of the Sox? After all… different situations; different contexts! :wink: )

Hope this helps…


sorry, forgot to mention that my parents are the coaches for the sport so therefore they were invited as well. that’s what makes the situation precarious.

i’m not talking about church law per say but about how divorce and remarriage is considered adultery, that’s God’s law, not church law. now why would that not apply to nonchristians? we wouldn’t support homosexual weddings of nonchrstians would we? or abortions of nonchristians? they don’t necessarily know they’re sinning either

the podcast won’t work for me, but why would adultery not apply to nonchristians is my question

Objectively it would. They would be in an objective state of adultery.

But subjectively they may have no culpability for this sin, given the teachings of the faith they belong to and/or societal norms. This is not to defend divorce and re-marriage, but to point out that people can do such things in good faith.

And yes, people can (hypothetically) commit the terrible sin of abortion and have limited or no culpability for it, depending on understanding and circumstances.

But…abortion is different in that the objective sin is so serious that it cannot be looked over. There is always a grave injustice to the victim of abortion. The same is not always, or even often (arguably), the case when someone remarries after divorce. If the previous spouse no longer wishes for reconcilliation and the adultery did not cause the breakdown of a marriage and/or family, then it may be an objective sin that has no direct victim.

As Catholics we recognise that sins have different gravity. Abortion is very much towards the top of the tree. It is such a terrible sin. That is not to say adultery isn’t serious, but there’s not much that Catholics consider to be as serious as abortion.

OK… different situation, then. Still, why would they think that you’re making a statement about them at a wedding for your friend? :confused:

i’m not talking about church law per say but about how divorce and remarriage is considered adultery, that’s God’s law, not church law. now why would that not apply to nonchristians?

Because God identifies that adultery is sinful; but the laws of the Church (when it comes down to particular details) identify what is adultery and what is not. So, adultery is always sinful. When we’re talking about sex outside of marriage, in general, we’re always talking about sin. But, when we’re talking about difficult situations – that is, situations on the ‘boundaries’ of the law – the Church will, naturally (since they have the authority to regulate the sacraments), make pronouncements that have an effect on what is considered ‘adultery’ and what is not.

Why would it not apply to non-Christians? On one hand, God’s law is God’s law; marriage was intended to have certain meanings. Yet, marriage is also meant to be a sacrament; and that meaning, properly speaking, applies to Christians. So, if we wish to speak about the responsibilities of non-Christians in marriage, we have to distinguish between sacramental responsibilities and natural responsibilities. Moreover, we have to recognize that non-Christians aren’t bound by Catholic canon law. (In a manner of speaking, the question we’re asking here is akin to asking whether I, as a citizen of the U.S., am bound by the laws of Canada. Clearly, I’m bound to moral standards that are common to all humans; but, can I be coerced into obedience of Canadian law, as I sit here in the U.S.?)

So, the question is, at the very least (!), rather complex. But, if we distinguish between natural law and ecclesiastical law; and if we distinguish between Catholics, non-Catholics, and non-Christians, we can come up with reasonable distinctions in terms of responsibilities and jurisdictions…

we wouldn’t support homosexual weddings of nonchrstians would we? or abortions of nonchristians? they don’t necessarily know they’re sinning either

The notion of same-sex weddings speaks to natural law; that is, to God’s law that applies to everyone. So, too, do abortions – everyone is called not to murder innocent human life. In these cases, it’s not a matter of Church (i.e., ecclesiastical) law; it’s not the case that only Catholics should not murder – all people are called to hold to this same standard. That’s a different standard, of course, than the ecclesiastical standards for a valid Catholic (sacramental) marriage… :wink:

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