Would you attend this wedding?

My wife and I are contemplating whether we should go to a wedding. The wedding is for a friend of my wife’s, they have been good friends for nearly 30 years. The bride-to-be was raised marginally Hindu, but is non-practicing and effectively non-religious at this time. The groom-to-be is not religious to our knowledge.

The problem arises in that they have chosen to be married by a friend of theirs. In our state, you can only officiate a wedding if you are an ordained minister. Therefore, this friend has obtained an online minister ordination certificate through the Universal Life Church or a similar website. This creates the difficulty in our minds.

As practicing Catholics, we are wondering if it is appropriate to attend this wedding. We have no reservations about attending a non-Catholic wedding among believers of different faiths. Even had they merely gone with a justice of the peace for officiating a non-religious ceremony, we would likely be attending. However, the idea that they are getting married by someone passing themselves off as a minister, obtaining credentials through an on-line website, seems to be misdirected. Moreover, it almost seems to be an attempt to make a mockery of ministers and people of faith in general.

Would you attend this wedding? If so, how can we best live out our Catholic faith in such an instance? If not, why? Would our attendance be supporting the cultural trend at marginalizing true religious beliefs?

I attended a wedding that did this exact thing last year. To me, it was no different than if they were married by a judge.

The participants are not necessarily mocking religious life. ULC was formed, in part, to allow anyone of any religion to perform wedding ceremonies, so they are just following the policy of that “church”. Further, the “church” only requires members to believe in the creed “Do only that which is right”, which the “minister” probably does. So, the “minister” probably meets all the requirements of that “religion” to be “ordained”. Thus, they are not mocking it.

Besides, the normal Hindu ceremony involves various “lords” descending from the “Sun Circle” and inhabiting various statues (and flames) on the stage. Then, everyone in the crowd comes up to “bless” the couple. Personally, I have more of an issue with that than attending a secular ceremony.

Would our attendance be supporting the cultural trend at marginalizing true religious beliefs?

Is marriage restricted to only those who are religious?

In our state, you can only officiate a wedding if you are an ordained minister.

**Are you saying that certain civil magistrates are not empowerd to officiate at weddings in your state?

A state law saying it must be done by an ordained minister is actually a violation of the freedom of those who choose not to practice any religion.**

It could be worse!.

Every state in the US allows judges to marry, so I doubt anyone’s freedom is being violated.

In my state, you can officiate your own wedding. i.e., you don’t have to have a priest, judge, minister, or pastor…once you sign your marriage license in the presence of two witnesses…you’re married.

I agree that this is not making a mockery of religion, they probably think that they are doing something very touching by asking a good friend to marry them. :shrug:

Are you so sure that other ministers who you’ve seen marry two people have gone through any more training than that?

For example, in some Protestant Churches, the pastor just read the Bible one day, came to a conclusion, and started a Church. Is there much difference between that, and going online and printing out a certificate?

It does not seen that there are many religious beliefs to marginalize in this instance. If you feel he has done something illegal, then you need to take that up with the state.

Have you seen the rebuttal?


I’m not quite sure what to think about that one. At least it’s not in a church.

I don’t think this is really a problem - everyone knows the friend isn’t really a minister, and that the certificate signifies nothing, so there is no intent to deceive. It is just a way of getting around a rule that puts them in a difficult position. It would be worse if they lied to a real minister or priest to get married, and it would be a difficult position for a minister to marry them knowing they are not religious. (I have known ministers who do this in places where this is the law, they don’t act as a minister really, but they find it difficult. It puts them in a compromising situation.)

Wow. Well, it looks like they really practiced a lot.

I don’t think it is a problem. They have met the requirements of the state albeit in a loophole kind of way but still the state requirements are met. It seems to be a legal, valid wedding.

I would think that under the circumstances, the wedding ‘ceremony’ itself will be rather short. No scripture readings or hymns to slow things down! :stuck_out_tongue:

Perhaps you can easily skipt the ceremony part and just show up for the reception.

I wouldn’t bet on it. The one I went to first had the processional, then a soloist sing, then the officiant explained who he was and why the couple wanted him to marry them (and romantically: the officiant “hooked up” with the bride one night while they were both “trashed”, and the next morning, when the two of them woke up, she met the officiant’s roommate who turned out to be the groom - and yes, that’s how it was described at the wedding), then had “poems” by the bride and groom, then each member of the bridal party told a story about the bride and groom, then the officiant rambled on in a sort of quasi-homily, then there was another soloist performance, then there were was some sort of ring ceremony, then the mothers did a unity candle followed by a poem, then there was a tribute to the bride’s father, then they did their vows (which used the word “sex” more times than I was comfortable hearing), and finally the recessional.

The whole thing took about an 75 mins. I was so embarrassed for the couple after the fact (I was a “+1” so I didn’t know them). Oh… and the reception… don’t get me started on that.

Then again, I’ve also witnessed a court wedding that lasted 10 minutes.

I don’t see anything wrong with going to this wedding, since none of them are Catholic.

It was funny!:rotfl:

I don’t see a problem with attending. A lot of people want to have a friend officiate at their wedding rather than a judge or minister whom they do not know (and as others have pointed out, a minister who will travel around to perform a ceremony at an outdoor location, etc. may not have any formal training. They may themseleves have nothing more than an on-line ordination.)

I have two friends who have obtained on-line “ordinations” to preside at weddings of their friends. By doing this, I don’t think they intend to mock or denigrate more formal, organized religion. They are simply looking for a legally recognized way to perform a service for their friends. A number of states have now done away with the requirement that clergy perform wedding ceremonies, and simply allow people to obtain a civil authorization to do so. Personally, I think this is probably preferable, and hope that more states will do this as well.

Neither is baptized Catholic or has been married before, that means we can assume they are free to marry. Have a slice of cake for me!

I see no problem with attending the wedding. one of my employees was married by a frind of their last month-a friend who had gotten a mail order ministry license. I see no difference between this and going to a JP

Oh MY :eek: :eek: I am so glad I’ve never been to a wedding like that!:blush:

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