Need advice please : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread

Hello, I need some advice on this matter please. My brother has been living with a woman for over twenty years now and I just recently found out they are getting married in a courthouse(their getting married because of some tax reason). He was raised Catholic but has'nt gone to church in over fifteen years, his religion is, just be a good person and you can go to heaven. His woman friend I think is an athiest. My mother and I are not sure if we should go to the reception. We feel like this might be sending the wrong message that we our condoning their relationship. Their marriage would'nt be considered valid in the eyes of God would it? Thanks for any help. God Bless

-- Thomas Paul (, September 06, 2001



Hello, Thomas. [Please disregard the previous answer, which is from a banned visitor.]

To be able to answer your question properly, we need one piece of missing information. Speaking of your brother, you wrote:
"He was raised Catholic but has'nt gone to church in over fifteen years, his religion is, just be a good person and you can go to heaven."

The question is ... Would he answer "yes" or "no" if you asked him, "Are you still a Catholic?"

If he answers, "no," then that means he has formally rejected Catholicism and joined another faith (or none at all). Perhaps never in his life did he truly embrace the Catholic faith, believing that it was founded by Jesus as a necessary instrument of salvation. In such a regrettable situation, you could approach the marriage just as you would that of a Protestant or Jewish co-worker. You could attend the ceremony and the reception.

But if he answers, "yes" ("I am still a Catholic"), then you could not attend the (invalid) "wedding," as your presence would be a kind of lie. As to the reception, opinions that I have read are divided, with the great majority coming down against your attending. One advisor, Dr. David Gregson, stated it this way, concerning a female relative:
"If [she] marries outside the Faith without permission from the Bishop, her marriage will be invalid in the Church's eyes. In that case, if you attend her wedding or reception, it will imply consent to a sin, which is itself a sin. However, if you have influence with [her], maybe you can prevail on her to talk to her parish priest about getting permission from the Bishop. If she marries without permission, Christian charity will still require that you not cut yourself off from her. You may want to give her a gift, in circumstances and at a time that would dissociate it from her wedding (perhaps for her birthday, or at Christmas), to show your continuing affection. You may also want to pray, and have Masses said, for her change of heart. She could perhaps get her marriage validated after the fact, again with her Bishop's permission, if she states her intention to keep her [Catholic] religion and do all she can to raise her children as Catholics."

God bless you.

-- (jgecik@amdg.ihs), September 06, 2001.

Oh, I forgot to clarify something.
The reason I said that it would be OK to attend if he answers, "No, I am no longer a Catholic," is that the Catholic Church recognizes the potential validity -- one could even say assumes the validity, until proved otherwise -- of a marriage between two non-Catholics (which your brother and his wife would then be).

-- (jgecik@amdg.ihs), September 06, 2001.

Thomas Paul-- Disregard the person who just answered your post. He is a false prophet, and wants to disparage the Catholic Church, not give you good advice.

About your brother, here is a suggestion. No one here is qualified to advise you on worldly decisions; we aren't Dear Abbey. You don't need the advice of strangers.

Do as your heart tells you. If you attend the reception, do it with Christian charity for the sinner. You may tell your brother privately you don't approve of the way he's abandoned his faith. He is his own boss, so have respect for his freedom, while setting a good example.

If you do NOT go, at least offer him your good wishes out of common courtesy. It isn't the Christian way to make a brother your enemy, no matter how disappointed you are in him. Say that you're praying for him and the woman he's chosen. Explain how you want him to return to the Church someday, even if it's in the last hour of his life. Then let him know you can't come to be with him. Just wish him happiness, and keep on praying for him. God can save even the most hardened sinner. Have faith in Him.

-- eugene c. chavez (, September 06, 2001.

Hi, Gene.
You just told Thomas Paul, "Disregard the person who just answered your post."
Could you please reassure me (and let Thomas Paul know) that your comment referred to Alex Ruiz [alias = Jesus is the way of marriage], rather than to me?
I think that you and I had one of the almost-simultaneous-posting clashes.
Thanks. JFG

-- (jgecik@amdg.ihs), September 07, 2001.

Yes, John-- the coincidence of our postings were embarrassing. Thomas Paul can probably see at a glance that I couldn't be referring to you. It's a little late, but I acknowledge here your request: Thomas; I was speaking of the imbecilic Alex Ruiz Jr. He is a plague around here, I'm sorry to say. I am too, in his eyes. You may judge between us for yourself. God be with you!

-- eugene c. chavez (, September 07, 2001.

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