Concerning the question posted below, regarding a rebellious daughter, baptized Catholic, who is contemplating marriage outside the Church (titled Can I Participate…), I am confused by your apologist’s response. She begins:
[quote=Michelle Arnold]If your daughter is a former Catholic (i.e., she has left the faith), she is not formally bound by Catholic marital law. Assuming that there are no obvious impediments to the marriage (e.g., previous marriage, close blood relationship), the Church would presume the marriage to be valid. If both parties are baptized, the Church would presume the marriage to be sacramental.
However, if your daughter is a lapsed Catholic – as there are indications from your account that she is – then she is bound by Catholic marital law. She would need to obtain from her local bishop a dispensation from cult to marry a non-Catholic and a dispensation from form to marry in a non-Catholic ritual. These are fairly routine procedures that her local parish can obtain for her on her behalf. If such dispensations are granted, the marriage would be presumed valid (sacramental, if both are baptized Christians).
I would like to know the foundation for these affirmations. I have always believed that “once a Catholic, always a Catholic,” since one cannot reasonably turn away from the truth as taught by Christ through his Church without committing sin (assuming mental faculties are intact).
If the (“American”?) Church has changed its teachings regarding marriage to accommodate the eroding morals of our society, then (according to what I was taught in Catholic high school many years ago) this would in itself (at that time) be considered the sin of “human respect,” wherein we have higher regard for the opinions of others than we do for the truths which lead us to eternal life.
The response given by your apologist seems to bend one in that direction – despite the kind concern for the pain that likely follows a bold affirmation of faith.
After reading your response – and then the article by CUF linked at its end – I feel that the Church is failing to be clear on this very important issue – an issue which deeply affects family relationships – because the content and tone of both seem to conflict.
These questions are most painful for me because I have lost my only close relative since we were both raised Catholic and (as charitably as I could) I explained that I could not attend her second wedding in good conscience. Now I am about to be faced with this same wrenching situation again, since a nephew and his fiancee (both baptized and raised Catholic) are about to marry outside the Church.