Would you attend this wedding?

My father in law is getting re-married this summer and I’m not sure whether to attend the wedding or not. I would appreciate your thoughts.

The situation is this: my husband’s parents are protestants and got married in their church. They divorced several years ago. Now, my FIL is getting re-married in the Anglican church although neither him or the fiancee are Anglicans. (They never attend church and consider themselves ‘spiritual but not religious’. )

The church in which my FIL was originally married allows divorce and remarriage. I have found a source according to which the priest in the Anglican church decides in every individual case whether remarriage is allowed.

I really don’t want to attend this wedding. It just seems offensive to God on so many levels. My husband is not impressed by it all but has agreed to go to the wedding in order to avoid family drama (which I completely understand - it is a long and painful story). I have an excuse, however, and am very tempted to use it and not go.

I was in a similar situation with my MIL…Go to the wedding. The drama it will cause in the family is not worth it.

This is your husband’s father you’re talking about? IMOHO,Yes, I’d go to the wedding. If he was practicing his religion, whichever one he is, it would make a difference. But he is non-practicing and wouldn’t understand the significance of you boycotting the wedding anyway. What would you hope to accomplish by not going? Have you ever told him how you feel about the situation?

I just don’t see the point in hurting them for living their lives as they choose is best for them. And it will hurt your husband. But you have to do what’s best for you. Do you only attend Catholic weddings of practicing Catholics only? If so, I understand. But at what point do we allow for freedom of religion (which even the Church recognizes)?

Why don’t you ask your priest? If you explain all the details to him, he can properly council you.

I think it depends upon what is involved in the “long and painful story.” From the way you describe the wedding scenerio, I would say the right thing to do is to attend the wedding. But if there is much more involved behind the scenes, that may change what I would do personally,

As long as the first spouse is living and there has been no review by the tribunal and both of the parties of the first marriage were never baptized Catholic, first marriage is considered valid. I would not attend a marriage that is presumed invalid.

Apparently Kage has no problem burning bridges…

with who? a person or with God? Kage is standing up for the truth, and isn’t going to go to hell for anyone…

For people to attempt an invalid marriage, they are publicly declaring their act of adultery. Not something to celebrate really.

Neither party is Catholic nor intends on becoming Catholic. Why would they seek “approval” from the Catholic Church when they have nothing to do with the Catholic church? It make NO sense to me.

I have family and friends who respect each other’s faith. Neither my family nor my friends would expect me, let alone INSIST, that I do something that is against my Faith.

We also don’t invite our Amish friends to rock concerts nor our Jewish friends to pig roasts.

Go to the wedding in support of your husband, not in support of the marriage. Do not join them on the alter, just sit and observe and be there for your husband. Your participation is not required to validate or invalidate the ceremony, but it is required to support your husband and not be a contributing factor to the drama.

Yes, this is the issue for me. What you describe is exactly the situation my husband’s parents are in. Their divorce was a civil affair and it never went thorugh their church. However, I don’t know if this is an issue for that church or not - maybe a civil divorce is enough. I can’t find any information on that.

I agree with this as well. My husband completely understands my position and agrees with me but would love to have me there, as support. This is the only reason I’m actually considering going.

As for me contributing to the drama, that would probably not happen. I will be only a few weeks away from giving birth at that point and could use that as an excuse not to go since the wedding would require me to travel (not far, but still). I know this is not the way to stand up for the faith and morality but at least it would not cause a rift between me and my FIL. Also, I don’t thing that FIL and fiancee would understand my point and what the big deal is.

Families can be so difficult…

Does it really matter what that denomination believes about divorce? I don’t think they have the authority to annul marriages.

While I do not know whether you are obligated or not, I personally would not attend that wedding since you are allowing someone who was not annuled to be married. It seems to me that consummation would be an act of adultery (Matthew 19:9). I would not be comfortable attending a ceremony if it meant showing support for adultery.

Non-Catholic churches don’ t provide annulments, so the divorce doesn’t go “through” the church. What is confusing in reading about this is why you are expecting non-Catholics to be following the Catholic rules related to marriage?

According to the church where they will be married this is acceptable (as you stated the church decides in each individual case), so unlike a Catholic ignoring Catholic teaching, there is no objective culpability here-they aren’t doing something they know to be wrong.

Were they ever to become Catholic this would be problematic for them, but it wouldn’t currently be a sin for them. If you choose not to go, that’s fine, but be careful how you state the reasoning for your decision so as not to place the onus on them.

This is a good resource:

The Church does not explicitly forbid Catholics from attending presumptively-invalid marriages. Catholics must use their own prudential judgment in making the decision, keeping in mind the need to uphold the Catholic understanding of the sanctity of marriage. One rule of thumb that may be helpful in making such decisions might be to ask yourself if you believe the couple is doing the best that they can to act honorably and according to the truth that they have. So, for example, you might decide to attend the presumptively-invalid wedding of a couple who is expecting a child; but decline to attend the presumptively-invalid wedding of a couple who have engaged in adultery and destroyed previous marriages and families.


If you have a valid excuse not to go, I wouldn’t. Sure, you could go just to support your husband, but everyone there would be under the impression that you were there to support the couple getting married. That could potentially create scandal.

I didn’t go to my father’s presumptively-invalid wedding and it did cause a *lot *of unpleasant family drama. However, in the end I’m very glad I made that decision, as he and his partner civilly divorced six months later. Silver lining is that if I’m ever in the same situation (and I likely will be, as my [Protestant] brother just got a divorce), my family will already know why I can’t attend a presumptively-invalid wedding.

Thank you for your replies everybody. I appreciate it.

God’s law, what Jesus said in the New Testament, about re-marriage after divorce, applies to everyone - even people from that church.

But aren’t you applying Catholic teachings on divorce and remarriage to a religion that doesn’t follow our teachings?. Your reasoning about rock concerts and pig roasts would mean we shouldn’t also participate in either of those events because of Amish and Jewish beliefs.

It is a sin for ME to celebrate an invalid wedding, it is the sin of supporting the sin of another and the sin of scandal. My friends and family will not ask me to do something I consider sinful.

My Protestant family feel that praying a Rosary for them is sin, so, I don’t ask them to pray the rosary with me.

It is a sin for my Jewish friends to eat pork, so, I don’t ask them to eat a ham at my house.

We respect each other’s beliefs.

That is partly the point I was making. BUT, if a protestant church doesn’t see a remarriage as invalid, shouldn’t we as Catholics respect their belief? I have always understood it to be in Church teachings that we can attend remarriages of other religions, as long as their religion believes it is a valid marriage and neither the groom or the bride was ever a Catholic.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.