My fiance's mother is angry with us for not having a Catholic wedding. She will not attend. What is best?

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Hello, My fiance's mother is angry at her and I over our marriage, planned for next year. We are not having a Catholic ceremony. My fiance and I are both very faithful people and we live with God and Jesus in our hearts and lives every day. God will be the bigest part of our marriage. We will be married in a christian church, with a christian minister. We are both hurt over the idea that her mother said things like "I will be letting my God down if I attend my daughter's wedding and it is not in a Catholic church with a catholic ceremony". She said she's failed as a mother and she acts as if our marriage will not be real. I've heard that the Catholic church recognizes a marriage that is not done with a Catholic service, as long as it is done at a church, with a minister and in the eyes of God. Is this true? We wouldn't dare not include God in our lives or marriage. My fiance an I both wish for her mother to be there and be happy for us. Unfortunately her mother did this to her sister. She told her sister she would not attend her wedding, then showed up at the last minute. While at the wedding, her mother made undesirable comments and gave the bride and groom dirty looks. I've prayed over this and asked God to do what he knows is best here. It seems that no matter how nicely we try to approach her mother, she becomes angry and defensive and seems to be attacking my fiance and I. We've decided to do our wedding our way, in our church but we don't want to hurt her mother. This has caused some stress for us in our planning though we will not let it ruin our day. We wish we could reach out to her mom and explain our feelings, discussing it objectively and calmly. IT seems as if we can't. Everyone else has been so happy for us and supports our wedding so much. It's slightly confusing. I don't want anyone to get hurt, however I am upset that my fiance's mother hurt her. Any wisdom or advice that anyone could share would be greatly appreciated :) Thanks, Shawn.

-- Shawn Keenan (mrshawn@yahoo.com), December 16, 2002

Answers

Hello, Shawn.

There is one thing you have not made 100% clear.
Do you consider yourself Catholic? Does your fiance consider herself Catholic? I noticed that you referred to having the wedding in "our church" -- i.e., a non-Catholic church, so I think that both of you have formally left Catholicism, but it is vitally important to be sure about that.

If you have both abandoned Catholicism and joined a protestant denomination, then that is something very sad to me, as a Catholic. However, it will mean that you will be free to marry each other in your protestant church, and it will mean that your fiance's mother can attend the wedding with a clear conscience (though with some pain, I'm sure).

However, if one or both of you have not left the Catholic Church formally, then you would still be bound by Canon Law. Catholic marriage law would then require that you marry in a Catholic ceremony ... or, if only one of you is still Catholic, that you obtain the bishop's permission to marry in a non-Catholic ceremony.

God bless you.
John

-- J. F. Gecik (jfgecik@hotmail.com), December 16, 2002.


Hi Shawn,

I think that Gecik's answer is a reliable one. If you are no longer Catholics, I think that is unfortunate but you can have your marriage outside the Church; but if either of you still is a Catholic then the marriage you are about to enter into outside the Church is not considered to be a true marriage.

My wife & I were married 6 months ago in the Catholic Church, my wife's sister was married a month later by a JP. We decided to go after asking advice from various priests, but my wife could not be teh bridesmaid & wittness officially at her sisters wedding because both she and her fiance weere baptized Catholic and had not really forsaken their faith. It was especially difficult becaus my wife's sister was her bridesmaid at our wedding, and we couldn't return the favor in conscience. I suggest that you pray about what God's will is for you, and do some soul searching, get some advice from someone you can trust, and follow your conscience. If you are merely a lapsed Catholic and dissagree with some teachings perhaps (birth control & contraception maybe) then you need to really address those issues before calling yourself a non Catholic. I will pray for you and your fiance, as well as her mother. Remember you are marrying not only your finace, but in a sense her family too!

Joe

-- Joe Biltz (jcb@net.net), December 16, 2002.


Joe, John and other's who have/will respond(ed), I want to first thank you for your response. To clarify one point, my fiancÚ and I are both Christian but not Catholic. We have no specific denomination. I'm not actually sure what Protestants believe. We do put our faith into action every day by being open, honest, kind, caring, compassionate and paying attention to God, Jesus Christ and their words. We both consider God our greatest love and the reason we are so blessed in many different ways.

Please know that this message is not meant to be presented with any disrespect and is not aimed at anyone here. Mainly I throw this out as discussion and not as an attack. With so many different types of organized religions, I don't understand which can rightfully judge who is right and wrong. I've spoken to so many people from different backgrounds who believe they are the ones who practice God's will correctly. Many of them seem to feel as if their faith is enlightened and the next is not. I believe that I am not given the right to judge people for God, as judgment can only be done with his authority. However, there is a line somewhere. I know people who kill, steal, lie, etc. are making bad choices but what about people who simply practice their faith in different ways? I know no religion in which everyone involved practices and lives in exactly the same way as the next person. As we all have different relationships with each other because we are all different, would every person have the same relationship with God? I apologize if I seem to be attacking any one religion. That is not my goal. I know that within every faith there are people who pay attention to God and people who don't, including mine. I guess my confusion comes from wondering why we don't support each other more even though our practices are slightly different. If one person is a child of God, gives their life to him and practices his will, and I do as well then how is it that we would be divided? I'm not pointing this at one person. I understand we differ in some of our opinions but, in spite of that, I still saw blessings and good wishes from the responses I've already received and I feel blessed to have other children of God say those things.

Joe and John, I do feel sad for those who do not wish to get married with, or live with God. It hurts me to imagine being without him because I know what it's like. John I think it was really great of you to go to that wedding still. My brother recently married and it was more of a neutral wedding. God was not really brought into it. I felt the best thing I could do was support him, not be judgmental at the wedding, and hope that someday he will get to know God. I knew that totally denying him would only tear us apart. I have a few friends who've seen God and became closer to him because they saw him in me. Judging them and denying them would have torn me away from them and they may not have come to know God. You both seem as if you are not judging me and I appreciate that.

I apologize for the lengthy letter but I have one more question. Is there any source of information that pertains to this situation that you all would trust? I would prefer something on the Internet. I'm specifically looking for a piece of information that says we are free to marry in our church and that her mother can attend with a clear conscience.

I thank all of you for your time. You've helped me a lot. God bless you all :) -Shawn

-- Shawn Keenan (mrshawn@yahoo.com), December 16, 2002.


John, I think I wrote a response to a similar post months ago that is pertinent. I hate to be an advocate for myself, but if you remember which one I'm speaking of, could you help me find it?

-- Skoobouy (skoobouy@hotmail.com), December 17, 2002.

AHA! Found it. Not perfectly congruous, but possibly educational. My contribution is the lengthy post towards the end. Ignore Joan's. :)Why am I rejected by my boyfriend's Catholic mother?

-- Skoobouy (skoobouy@hotmail.com), December 17, 2002.


Dear Shawn, if you and your fiancee are not Catholics, then your marriage in a Protestant church will be valid and your fiancee's mother should be able to attend with a clear conscience.

It would be another matter if one or both of you were Catholics and were REFUSING to marry in the Church - in that case, she'd be right to be upset. But if you are not (or are no longer) members of the Cahtolic Church, then there is no problem. (Though I'm sure I speak for everyone in this Forum when I say, we'd be more than happy to welcome you back, if you ever change your minds! ;-) )

Anyway, God bless you both and I will pray that everything works out for the best in your marriage and in your relation with your future mom-in-law! :-)

-- Christine L. :-) (christine_lehman@hotmail.com), December 18, 2002.


congrants to the happy couple! i only have a technical note to add. If both of you do not consider yourselves Catholic, then you mother- in-law should be able to attend with a clear conscious. my point being that if you fiancee' has recieved any sacraments in the Catholic chrurch (such as baptism, first communion, or confirmation) then your mother-in-law may consider her daughter very "catholic" still. This may be what concerns her. If that is the case then she may need to talk to your fiancee and other daughter to relfect and come to terms with may be the real problem not whether you have a Catholic ceremony. On any note, i hope that the wedding is beautiful and blessed.

-- vera_true (themexican18@hotmail.com), December 26, 2002.

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