Wedding Reception


Long story short. I do not want to go to either the wedding or reception of my wife’s shirttail relation because 1. he left the church and 2 is now marrying a non-catholic. I understand that family unity is important. I get it that we are to love them but why should I act like it is ok. It is not ok. He was confirmed in the Catholic Church. Last time I checked that was an indelible mark and just because the Church “isn’t working out for you” is not a good reason to drop out and join a protestant church. To me going to this wedding and reception further diminishes the gravity of leaving the Church, Joining a protestant church and then choosing to marry a non-Catholic. My wife says we push them further away. I am not intending to never speak to them again like the Jehovah’s Witnesses would do but why should we celibrate in any way shape or form this marriage. I am happy to invite them to all other family gatherings. Happy to greet them with all sincerity and love in all other situations but come on… As a Father of five I am not intereseted in my kids ever getting a message that what this relative is doing is ok or right by any means. what do you guys think???


There are many threads on this topic, and opinions abound. I’m with you, I’d stay home.


If the marriage would be invalid, I would agree with you that you should not show your support by going. Make 100% sure of what the Church’s position on the validity of this marriage would be before you make a decision. My husband did not attend his mother’s last wedding because she would be committing adultery. Everyone hounded him for awhile trying to get him to go, but he refused to endorse it with his presence. Things went back to normal shortly after the wedding between him and his mom…

Of course people are going to think you are being unreasonable. Somehow the people who are sinning are made out to be the “victims” and the people standing up for what’s right are cruel and extreme. Just the way Satan wants things to seem–white is black and black is white.

If this isn’t a very “close” relative, you may be able to avoid the situation all together by having an excuse not to go. That’s the easy way out… but if you give them the real reason, be prepared to explain the ins and outs of valid and invalid marriages. Better yet, flip the argument and put the pressure on them to convince YOU as why this marriage would be valid, and why you ought to accept their concepts on marriage.


Thank you both Stelline and Kage_ar for your replys.

It is unfortunate that the same zeal that our fallen away friends and relatives express for their new found “truth” we rock solid Roman Catholics are not allowed to have.

It is not so much the validity of the marriage that concerns me as the message that “hey, its ok, he left the church and now he is getting married in another church” and in fact many of the family members most closely related feel that it doesn’t matter all churches are the same. No, it is not ok and no, all Churches are not the same.

I solidly believe that participation in non-Catholic religious celebration under circumstances like this may be allowed and not sinful but the better, narrower path is to not go.

I do have an “out” our baby sitter fell thru at the last minute. My wife insists on going and is disappointed in me for taking it. I am taking it by the way. I will use that flip you mentioned.
God Bless you both


This is a “frequent flyer” thread, and an oft-asked question at Ask An Apologist here on CAF.

I’ll post some links to threads, but the Church does not teach one way or the other. It’s up to you. As you say, it’s a shirttail relation of your wife, not your son or daughter or parents. At this point, the only person you have to please is your wife and yourself. If she’s OK with you not going, perhaps she could go by herself. You’re the one who has to live with her.


Well, if the marriage is in fact valid, then the issue becomes more gray than black and white. You won’t be able to use the “invalid marriage” defense… Going or not going to the wedding could be justified either way. I don’t think you are trying to be uncharitable towards this person, and I do understand you’re frustration at how people are becoming more lax and tolerant of leaving the Church, among other things.

By the way, welcome to the forums! :tiphat:


I’m going to voice the opposing view, and I trust that you will read it thoughtfully and at least consider it. If you just wanted validation of your own tendency, then I don’t think you would have posted on CAF. I think you want to hear someone tell you “no.”

I would keep the door open.

My father didn’t attend my daughter’s wedding a few weeks ago. She was extremely hurt and so was I. I have no idea why he didn’t come, but I suspect that he just doesn’t care.

I still love him, but I don’t plan to put myself out for him in the future. I’ll do my duty as a daughter, but frankly, this was a door-closer. I didn’t send him a Father’s Day card. Why should I lie and tell him what a great father he is?

Is this the future you want for your relations?

It may be that by coming to the wedding, you will leave the door open so that someday, when disillusionment sets in and the new Protestant discovers all the flaws in the Protestant churches (and yes, chances are good that they will do a lot of church-hopping), they will then come to you, someone that they trust and perceive as kind and welcoming. You may be the one they ask to help them find the Catholic Church.

(BTW, I am a convert to the Catholic Church from evangelical Protestantism.)

By not attending the wedding/reception, you aren’t accomplishing anything, are you? If you truly want to express your disapproval of their situation, then do it with a letter or better, with a face-to-face meeting, and give them the opportunity to debate with you. Treat them like human beings, not like some television show that you can ignore because you find it objectionable.

By not attending the wedding, all you’ll accomplish is looking like a jerk–like my father. And people will feel the same way about you as I do about my father right now.

Just remember that Christ’s first miracle happened at a wedding. God works through weddings, even non-Catholic weddings. Go to the wedding and pray that God will use the day to begin to bring this couple home to the Catholic Church.


I agree that this is an option worth considering if the marriage is going to be valid.

By not attending the wedding, all you’ll accomplish is looking like a jerk–like my father. And people will feel the same way about you as I do about my father right now.

That may or may not be true… it all depends on the circumstances, and if you give some other excuse. Pray and do what you think will be most beneficial. Generally speaking though, you shouldn’t make moral decisions based on what others will think of you. Do what you think is right even if people will think you are a jerk or worse. However, in a morally “fuzzy” situation, one should avoid appearing as a jerk if at all possible. :stuck_out_tongue:


Tough call . . .

When I hear about these situations, I wonder why the guests and family members have to be so ‘open minded’ and ‘tolerant’. Why can’t the bride and groom be ‘tolerant’ enough to respect your opinion and not want to harm the relationship?

I rarely see that it works both ways. It’s only the guests/ family members who are expected to preserve the relationship and go against their consciences. I have yet to see anyone suggest that the bride and groom do that.


Any chance of you not attending the wedding ceremony, but still going to the reception?

That way you can still show your disapproval of the wedding, but still show support of your wife’s family by attending the gathering of her family.

In my mind, attending a reception is not the same as attending the wedding ceremony. That way you have both made your point and show that you still love the relation and are not “shunning” them, but are still going to treat them like family.

Also, in my opinion you would only need to tell the bride and groom your reasons, you wouldn’t need to explain it to every guest.


You are SO right on about that! The one-sidedness of “tolerance” is ridiculous.


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