Would it be sinful for me to attend my sister's civil ceremony


the issue of my sister’s wedding seems more complicated the more I think about it. My sis is marrying this weekend in a civil ceremony (she is catholic and fiancee is an unbeliever). Would my attendence be considered a validation on my part of their union unrecognized by the Church?


I’m sure you’ll get many of responses saying not to go, but I never understood that. I have friends from all types of religions. I have been to different weddings. I go because I am very TRULY happy for them and WANT them to be happy. Some people’s religious attention ebbs and flows and some will always be different from our own.

If you are truly against their marriage and would be willing to stand up and say that, then don’t go. If you want your sister to be happy and think the wedding is a good thing, then go by all means.

Sometimes a marriage will start of one way, but end up in another. Our in-laws wouldn’t be caught dead in a church before they were married in a civil ceremony. As they grew together as a couple and contemplated children, their views changed and they were pulled back into their faith. It was a wonderful transformation - like a butterfly’s life!


I heard a talk on this very topic this week. It was said that by our presence we are witnesses to and agreeing that we support the union which may be not valid. I personally am torn between the same situation.


Out of love and charity, I would go…your sister is aware of your feelings and beliefs. Love as you know is the greatest commandment…Your sister isn’t celebrating a Sacrament, but you both know that. It is no more than a legal agreement and is understood at that level. If you alienate your sister and her husband you may cause resentment that could block her later wish to validate her marriage and return to the Church, and hence their children may have less chance of ever knowing God and faith.

If you are unable to discern what is right would you consider consulting your priest?


A similar question was posted before…and I found this link helpful:



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