Is it a sin to witness a non-Catholic wedding ceremony?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread
I am engaged to marry a non-Catholic, and because he does not want to convert, we will be married by a Presbyterian minister. My sister is a nun, and has told my parents that it will be a sin if they attend the wedding, because this is not a Catholic Church sanctioned wedding. Or is it true that if they do attend that they are going against any church rules, because their attendance is, in essence, a blessing of this non-Catholic union? Thanks for any advice you can give, as this is causing a family rift.
-- Deborah Daly (email@example.com), April 08, 2003
Deborah - It appears your nun has been cloistered far too long and needs to get the blinkers off.
-- jean bouchard (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 08, 2003.
I asked the same question to my priest, who also is a traditional and knowledgable priest. My old roomate who was Catholic was marrying a non-Catholic woman and my priest said that out of the friendship that my roomate and I had together, it wouold be permissible for me to attend the wedding ceremony. So I assume your parents could certainly attend out of the fact that they are your parents. The concern of sanctioning an event is real but in this case your family bond takes priority.
Ask your priest anyway, to be sure for yourself. It is good for us to let our priests know what we are thinking and establish a relationship with them.
-- Mike H. (email@example.com), April 08, 2003.
No, a Catholic should not be witnessing the wedding of a Catholic in a non-Catholic ceremony. The Church has certain rules and one of them is that you follow its teachings in regards to marriage. You may be married in a Presbyterian church with the minister present, but you must have a Catholic priest present to make it a valid Catholic marriage. Is there a problem with that? Having the priest there to bless the marriage would make it "kosher" in the eyes of the Church.
-- Christina (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 08, 2003.
Deborah - our family had a similar dilemma/rift several years ago when my brother married a Catholic lady who was divorced but her annulment was in process. Without getting into details as to why they couldn't or didn't want to wait, suffice it to say that he married her outside the church. My older sister refused to come to the wedding so as not to condone what in her view was a sinful act.
Jesus dined with sinners and prostitutes. Are we not to attend weddings not officially sanctioned by the Church? What would Jesus do in this situation? I have a pretty good idea, but of course I am not quoting the Catechism when I state my opinion. So, my opinion is just that, my opinion. I can tell you this - there are hard feelings to this date and I doubt that this will ever be eradicated - what a shame...
-- Bob M (email@example.com), April 08, 2003.
Jesus never did anything that would give the impression of approval or support of a sinful situation. A Catholic who goes through the motions of a non-Catholic wedding is entering into a state of overt ongoing fornication. Jesus said that no fornicator would enter His Kingdom. Do you suppose then that He would show up to support, let alone celebrate, such an occasion? I am sure they love each other, and I am sure their intentions are good, but good intentions do not nullify objective evil. Your sister was right, and what she did demonstrated not only personal courage, but a godly commitment to truth. It's so easy to pin the blame for hard feelings on the one who upsets the apple cart by acting morally. The hard feelings that still linger are the result of sin, not the result of your sister's refusal to encourage sin.
-- Paul (PaulCyp@cox.net), April 09, 2003.
I see it differently Paul. As you know, Jesus was criticized for dining and associating with prostitutes. Some argued (wrongly I might add) that His doing so gave the impression of approval or support of the prostitutes' lifestyles/tendencies. Help me understand how or why this is any different. My sister's attendance of this wedding would be a reflection of her support and love for her brother. My brother has to answer to God for his actions (as do we all of course), not my sister. I believe my sister's intentions were good, but to steal your phrase, good intentions do not nullify her judgmental behavior.
-- Bob M (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 09, 2003.
I was the maid of honor years ago for a non-Catholic couple in their protestant church. Did I do something wrong?
-- Anna <>< (email@example.com), April 09, 2003.
Your sister's behavior was not in any way judgmental. She made no personal judgment at all. She simply went by the objective truth, as defined by the Church, which is authorized by Christ to speak for Him. "Judgmental" is a term that is loosely tossed about whenever someone doesn't like the outcome of a situation, but judgment consists of looking at the evidence and forming ONE'S OWN OPINION regarding the acceptability of an act. That's what a judge does. Following the teaching of the Church is never judgmental, as there is no personal decision to be made regarding the acceptability of an act. The Church has already provided the truth. The only decision to be made is whether to follow the truth or reject it. Your sister chose to follow the truth. Your brother chose to reject it. Neither of those actions was judgmental. However, your sister's action was morally right, your brother's action morally wrong.
Actually it is you who are being judgmental. You are making a personal judgement about the acceptability of your sister's actions, based on nothing but personal feelings, and without regard for the objective truth of the situation.
The fact that Jesus accepted sinners as children of God, and called them to repentance rather than rejecting them outright, certainly does not suggest that he approved of their sin. We are called to treat people the same way. If Jesus had joined them in the very act of their sin, and said or done nothing to oppose their sin, or had celebrated with them over an action that opposed the will of God, that could be taken as a sign of tacit approval. However, Jesus never did such a thing. He accepted sinners as people, and told them "go and sin no more".
-- Paul (PaulCyp@cox.net), April 09, 2003.
You are not in a worst-case scenario ... it is my understanding that a priest can marry you outside of the Catholic Church when you are marrying a non-Catholic with a strong anti-Catholic bias so as not to impose the Catholic beliefs on the non-Catholic party (after the proper dispensation is issued, of course). I found this information out because we had a situation arise in our family wherein my niece and her fiancé, both Catholics, decided to marry in a non- denominational ceremony and church because "they liked the place." They asked the fiancé's long-standing parish priest (Fr. O'Shea) to come to the ceremony and bless it, and he refused, for the same reasons your sister refuses to come to your wedding -- he would have been witnessing a sin. My niece and her fiancé were hurt by the priest's attitude alleging that the Church should be more flexible. I asked a second opinion from a priest who is a very good friend of mine, and this is what he said:
Regarding Marriage and the Church - the Church states that two Catholics seeking a Catholic Marriage (blessing from the Church) must be married by a priest in a Catholic Church. Are there exceptions? Yes. If the church is damaged, under repair and there is no Catholic Church close by - then by all means arrangements can be made at a local Protestant Church - but the "building" is used - the rest of the ceremony, priest and all - is Catholic.
In your niece's case - both were Catholic - no churches were damaged and inadequate. Your niece said it herself - we looked for a church that "felt" good for us. My challenge to her is this - why would two Catholics seek marriage in a "building" where Jesus is not present in the Blessed Sacrament - because it made them feel good? Marriage is about asking God's blessing and witnessing to it in the presence of your church and your family. Going outside your church and the sacramental presence of God shows a lack of understanding. I would have done the same thing that Fr. O'Shea did. Regardless of our friendship - the fact that they could disrespect him, the Church and their faith by turning their back on it at such a crucial time - I would take it as a personal insult and I would not go to the wedding either - it would be like me witnessing a farce (and a sin) - and doing nothing about it and being forced to celebrate with the family that a sin has taken place - I'm not a hypocrite, I couldn't do it.
As to the Church compromising - yes we do - when it is necessary. But she said it herself - in the everchanging views and opinions or our time - well - truth does not change (may have a different outlook, but it doesn't change). The Church allows marriages outside the Catholic Church for Catholics who marry Non-Christians or Protestants whose families have an anti-Catholic bias. To maintain harmony in both families and not to impose our beliefs on the non- Catholic/Christian party, we allow weddings in hotels, clubs, etc. - as long as it is dignified and respectful. That's quite a compromise.
Again, where two Catholics are concerned - we impose - because they're both playing for the same team. If you play on a soccer team, but you say it's easier to use your hands - I'm sorry you can't - those are the rules - and if you want to play to have to follow those rules - there is no compromise - if you don't like it - join a team sport that lets you do it.
The Church is very forgiving and very lenient in many aspects (individually among the priests) - but one thing we have learned as priests is that brides and grooms are monsters to work with - everything must be done the way they want it - because it's their wedding. Well, I have news for you - the ceremony belongs to God - the party to the couple. Sometimes brides and grooms have a hard time accepting the truth that the ceremony is the most important part - and we have 2000 years experience running it - the prayers are there for a reason - the ceremony is there for a reason - if they actually listened they might learn to love each other more and endure the problems.
Based upon this information, why don't you ask your parish priest if he can perform the ceremony outside of a Catholic Church so long as you obtain the proper dispensation? Your fiancé would not have to convert and the marriage would be recognized by the Church. It would be a good compromise that could make everyone happy. Hope this insight helps.
Best of luck.
-- Bert D. (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 09, 2003.
Bert - good suggestion and reasoning.
Paul - thank you for your comments and reply. While I better understand your perspective now, I don't entirely agree or accept it. At the risk of opening myself up to criticism and ridicule, I don't think everything in life is as black and white as sometimes we'd like or make it out to be. My brother discussed this at length with his parish priest, who counseled him to go ahead and marry outside the church. Now, I suspect that you and others will simply conclude that the priest erred in his interpretation of the truth and did my brother a disservice. I'm not so sure, but that is my point. I render no judgment on my brother's action - right or wrong. I believe that is up to God to judge. And this is my point. I can understand my sister's concern, and even her compulsion to discuss this with my brother. But for her to stand in judgment of the acceptability of his actions is in my opinion wrong, and to compound as much by refusing to attend the wedding is insult to injury.
I understand that you see this as a black and white truth which is not subject to interpretation or exceptions. Perhaps you are right. If nothing else, you have motivated me to study up on this further to better understand it.
-- Bob M (email@example.com), April 09, 2003.
Hello, Bob M.
In your first post on the thread, you wrote: "... our family had a similar dilemma/rift several years ago when my brother married a Catholic lady who was divorced but her annulment was in process. Without getting into details as to why they couldn't or didn't want to wait, suffice it to say that he married her outside the church. My older sister refused to come to the wedding so as not to condone what in her view was a sinful act."
May I ask if, subsequently the Catholic lady did receive a Declaration of Nullity pertaining to her "marriage"? And, if so, whether your brother and she have done what is necessary so that they now have a union recognized by the Catholic Church? If so, then it would be good for them to be reconciled with your sister.
Bob, I have not been able to find words in a Vatican document to support your sister's action, but the truth is that what Paul (a deacon) has told you is exactly what I have always seen orthodox Catholic priests advising people to do. (I am speaking of priests who give public advice via diocesan newspapers, magazines, EWTN Catholic TV, Catholic radio broadcasts, etc..) Invariably, priests who are obedient to the pope, who teach the Catechism as reliable, who obey Canon Law, etc., will advise Catholic relatives and friends of an engaged couple (who cannot be validly married) not to attend the ceremony. They do not say that we should shun the couple, but only that we should not be present when vows are exchanged.
The reason for this is that attendance at the ceremony implies an approval of (and a recognition of the validity of) the mortally sinful (and invalid) arrangement upon which the couple is embarking. And so, your sister's action, though painful for you to think about, was courageous, these priests would say. It could be that her action was an even more painful and sad experience for her than for anyone else.
You stated: "Jesus dined with sinners and prostitutes. Are we not to attend weddings not officially sanctioned by the Church? What would Jesus do in this situation?"
Jesues dined with prostitutes, not to approve of their sin (at the commission of which he was not present), but as a way of keeping communications open and helping to draw them into repentance and reconciliation. Likewise, family members can dine with an invalidly married couple.
If one would argue that we can/should attend an invalid wedding ceremony because Jesus dined with prostitutes, it would follow (by analogy) that Jesus could/should have silently (seemingly approvingly) witnessed the sin of those prostitutes (or at least their agreement to enter into sin). If you can see that it would have been wrong for Jesus to do this, then it follows that it would be wrong for us to do something similar (appearing to approve of the grave sin of our family member).
God bless you.
-- J. F. Gecik (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 13, 2003.
John (or anyone)
The reason for this is that attendance at the ceremony implies an approval of (and a recognition of the validity of) the mortally sinful (and invalid) arrangement upon which the couple is embarking.
(Other posters beside John say that basic idea also)
1) Obviously (according to this thread) I was told wrong by my priest. Anyway, this rule, of not attending such a ceremony, may be what orthodox Catholic priests teach, but do they say it is binding under pain of mortal sin?
2) There seems to be an incongruity when one compares this to rules on Catholic attendence of Protestant Church services when a symbolic holy communion is being distibuted. I am allowed to attend those services as long as I don't recieve communion. And the reason for this restriction on reception of a merely symbolic communion is the same reason you mention above. It implies an approval of their theology on the Eucharist, even if I know and admit that it is not the Real Presence when I take it. However, why would not my mere presence at the Protestant service having the Lord's Supper celebrated imply an approval of their theology of the Eucharist? The reasoning used concerning not attending an immoral wedding ceremony might be used here as well but it is not. There is an inconsistancy of discipline in these two situations (it seems). Both situations involve a sacrament. And you might say, in the case of the Protestant communion service, no mortal sin is taking place, no Catholic is taking the symbolic communion, so I can watch. But in the wedding ceremony a sin is committed. None-the-less, the two events still seem very similar, but one I can attend and one I can't.
-- Mike H. (email@example.com), April 13, 2003.
Hey, if nobody wants to answer my question, how about this...Is it a sin to witness a non-Catholic wedding ceremony ,in the original question above, if there is a dispensation (or something like it) granted by the Catholic person's bishop?
-- Mike H. (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 15, 2003.
John G - sorry for the delay in replying but I've been unplugged for a few days (out of town and left the laptop behind)...
Thanks for your comments and insight, much appreciated... Regrettably, my sister-in-law never did receive a declaration of nullity (I know, I know, bad news...). Why not and what happened, I can't answer as I really don't know. But clearly it was a disappointment to many in the family to put it mildly.
You and Paul have helped me see this much more clearly, and yes, my reasoning re: Jesus dining with prostitutes lacks relevance and logic when the wedding itself is viewed within the context of being THE sinful act. I was looking at it differently, more along the lines of how we should behave toward others whose actions we believe to be sinful. But your distinction helps me see this differently now.
Thanks again for taking time to clarify this for me. It disturbs me now that I see it in this light.
P.S. what does 'jmj' mean?
-- Bob M (email@example.com), April 15, 2003.
The answer to your question in the title of this thread is NO! It is not a sin for a Catholic to attend a non-Catholic wedding ceremony, unless of course their specific intent in doing so was to harm the Church through scandal. The real issue at the heart of your question is scandal.
Scandal is a technical term used by the Church to describe those actions by individuals which when witnessed by other innocent individuals, are reasonably perceived by them in a way that could conceivably influence their choice of good over evil in the future. In other words, could anything your parents do by attending the (invalid) wedding of their daughter reasonably have an influence on others to sufficiently cause them to sin sometime in the future? It would be obvious to anyone in attendance that your parents’ presence is primarily due to their relationship to you and that their intent is to attend out of love for you and not to cause scandal to the Church in any way. Similarly, any Catholic friends and relatives should not be reluctant to attend your wedding and show you their love in doing so. As concerned Catholic parents however, your parents should do everything in their power to convince you to have a valid wedding ceremony.
Any Catholics who attend your wedding ceremony, including your parents, should not actively participate in the service (eg. receive communion, etc.). Additionally, it is not recommended that Catholics act in any “official” capacity such as bridesmaid or best man at such invalid marriages. Participating as a member of the “official” wedding party at such marriages can only send the message that the participant is indeed supplying his/her tacit approval to the ceremony.
-- Ed (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 16, 2003.
Hello, Ed L.
To the best of my knowledge, the Vatican has not directly addressed this specific subject in a document. Thus it is has been left to orthodox moral theologians and pastors to consider all the factors and give us their learned counsel.
Ed L, your reply to Deborah appears to be partly contrary to the replies given by Paul and myself. You did not state the source of your position, so I don't know if it is (1) one that was imparted to you by an orthodox pastor or theologian or (2) one at which you arrived at through your own reasoning. I can't speak for Paul, but I know that the position relayed above by me did not come from within me, but from orthodox, official sources, some of which I'd now like to quote:
Fr. William Saunders is a pastor and very brilliant man, former head of the Notre Dame Catechetical Institute in Virginia. In this diocesan newspaper article, he commends the father of a bride-to-be when the man refuses to attend the ceremony of an invalid "union."
From the site of Sacred Heart Parish in Suffern, New York:
"Our modern experience has been that, in most situations where a Catholic is getting married in a non-Catholic ceremony, the proper permissions have not been sought, in which case the Catholic party is invalidly attempting marriage. The marriage is therefore invalid in the eyes of the Church, the Catholic party is committing a serious sin, and Catholics are urged not to attend such ceremonies."
Fr. Edmund Dunne, a Redemptorist, writes:
"If however the marriage is celebrated in a non-Christian Church or temple, it is my opinion that they should not attend, in order not to give any scandal by being present. Being present in itself shows some approval. They should explain why they cannot attend."
A recently deceased priest, who was an expert in apologetics and who went by the pseudonym "Fr. Mateo," wrote this: "If ... a person ... is ... a Catholic ...[, he/she] is bound by Catholic marriage laws. Hence a marriage [(involving a Catholic lacking a dispensation) that is] attempted before a non-Catholic minister or a judge will be invalid. Catholics should not attend such ceremonies. But if the strain within the family is foreseen to be very great, [and] if you [thus decide to] attend, care must be taken to avoid scandal, the appearance of approving an invalid union. The couple (or at least the fallen-away person) should be kindly told that your attendance signifies family affection, but not approval of the union. Other relatives and friends who might be scandalized should also be so informed."
A Catholic lay theologian (and "expert" at the EWTN site), Dr. David Gregson, once replied, 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."
Ed L, your approval of attendance (by Catholic family or friend) at a sinful union was conditional, expressed as follows: "It is not a sin for a Catholic to attend a non-Catholic wedding ceremony, unless of course their specific intent in doing so was to harm the Church through scandal."
I cannot agree that the rightness/wrongness of the act of attendance is rooted in the mere "intent" of the attendees. Besides intent, we must also take into account the actual, and even potential, negative effect of the attendees action, as my quoted sources explain. Unless great pains are taken (in advance) to prevent a negative effect, one's attendance would have such an effect on someone else (through the perception of implied approval of something that may never be approved). For example, the parents attending the invalid union of their eldest child could make more likely the invalid union of their younger children -- even though the parents had no "intent ... to harm the Church through scandal" (to use your words).
God bless you.
-- J. F. Gecik (email@example.com), April 18, 2003.
Hello, Mike H and Bob M.
Bob, thank you for your kind words to Paul and me. I'm very happy that I had an opportunity to talk this over with you.
You asked about "Jmj." It stands for the names of the members of the Holy Family, with the first "J" being capitalized to indicate the pre-eminence and divinity of Jesus.
Mike H, I found very interesting your reflections on the acceptability of attending non-Catholic worship services (in general) -- in contrast to our being counseled not to attend a wedding ceremony that begins an invalid union. (Sorry that it has taken me so long to read your comments and get back to you. I have been having trouble keeping up with forum activity as well as I used to.)
In my opinion, Mike, you gradually arrived at a good answer to your own question as you reflected on the factors involved. You closed by saying: "... in the case of the Protestant communion service, no mortal sin is taking place, no Catholic is taking the symbolic communion, so I can watch. But in the wedding ceremony a sin is committed."
Yes. In an ordinary Protestant service, there is no sinful action occurring, while at the wedding the Catholic "spouse" (at least) is committing a sin. Therefore, by attending, we are not in danger of signalling approval of a sin in the first case, but we are in danger of sending such a signal in the second case.
You stated: "[W]hy would not my mere presence at the Protestant service having the Lord's Supper celebrated imply an approval of their [improper] theology of the Eucharist? The reasoning used concerning not attending an immoral wedding ceremony might be used here as well but it is not."
I think that there is another critical difference (besides no sin being present at a general service). If you attend a sham wedding, you have no way of openly showing disapproval and disbelief in the faulty action and theology that you witness. But if you attend a general service, you can (and must) openly show that your lack of approval/belief by not partaking in the ingestion of the symbolic elements. (You can and should do the same by not joining in prayers or hymns that express flawed theology.) [By the way, I believe (though I would need to check, to be sure) that the Church does not approve of our regularly attending non-Catholic worship services without a serious reason.]
Mike, you also asked: "Is it a sin to witness a non-Catholic wedding ceremony, in the original question above, if there is a dispensation (or something like it) granted by the Catholic person's bishop?"
No, there is definitely no chance of sin in that case! Everything is licit. I think that the Catholic spouse should take the trouble of letting all Catholic invitees know that the bishop's permission has been obtained, so that they will have peace of mind and not be reluctant to attend.
God bless you.
-- J. F. Gecik (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 18, 2003.
Sorry to barge in on this conversation but was looking for an answer to a personal dilemna myself. I'd gone to Google and typed in "Is it a sin to attend the wedding of a Catholic marrying outside the Church?" and this thread came up. My situation is that after hearing from two priests (one from the pulpit and one in a private conversation) that it is a mortal sin to attend such a wedding, I went to a third priest to confess that I am contemplating committing a mortal sin...then explained that my nephew/God-son was marrying a non Catholic outside the church...having a Protestant minister marry them (don't know what religion...not that it matters) and they aren't even getting married in a Protestant Church... they are getting married ON THE BEACH! My immediate reaction when I heard this was I can't go and I told my nephew why. He was very upset.. I asked him why he can't get married in the church since he has no impediments which would prevent him...no prior marriages (no divorces, no annulments, etc.) He said his fiance's mother spent a lot of money on the wedding and he didn't think she really wanted a Catholic wedding. I asked about raising kids Catholic and he said he didn't know. So his mother called my sister crying and all upset saying he really wanted us to be there and there wouldn't be very many family members on the grooms side if the family didn't come. I think my sister is going and of course my brother (his dad) and probably a few others in the family who are fallen away Catholics. So this third priest that I confessed to feels that I would cause a division within the family if I didn't go that could drive my nephew away from the Catholic faith forever. On the other hand he said if I went not so much as a witness but just to let him know the have my prayers, then possibly he will at some time in the future be more open to returning to his faith and having the kids baptized and raised Catholic. However, this priest said he did not want to go against what the other two priests said so basically I left just as confused although now I was leaning towards attending (and then probably going back to confession to confess that I had gone) But since I still don't feel right about it, I really am looking for something DEFINITIVE.... like a rule written in a Church document. I told Fr that I thought I read something in the old Baltimore Catechism because I didn't remember reading anything about it in the new Catechism and he said lots of "rules" changed with Vatican II. I have the Vat II documents but confess I haven't read them but I really can't see where it would have said now Catholics can now attend weddings outside the church of Catholics marrying non Catholics....just can't see it. Anyway, I'm still scratching my head on this one and the wedding is coming up very soon. Opinions are nice, but does anybody know of any authoritative text within the Church that leaves no room for doubt as to what the church teaches on this? Any help appreciated. Thanks in advance! God bless, Monique
-- Monique Hutchinson (email@example.com), April 28, 2003.
In no way shape or form does the Bible condem this. Stop listening to men, and put your faith in God. God promised that the Bible is his word. Do you not trust him? We are warned here about doctrine of devils. 1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 1Ti 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 1Ti 4:3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
Wake up before you are standing before God on Judgment day and God says
Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. I wish none to perish, repent and be saved.
-- Dan Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 11, 2003.
Dan... you pot smokin protester! you are an idiot!
-- hersoldier (email@example.com), January 27, 2005.
Dan... you pot smokin protester! you are an idiot!
Hersoldier, Dan Smith needs prayers to take the blinders off his eyes and not insults.
-- DJ (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 27, 2005.
I have been completely ignorant of this until now. I've attended the protestant weddings of my fallen-away Catholic brother and a fallen-away Catholic cousin.
Only thing that bothers me is that there's no way I'm going to be able to deny an invitation, the next time a lapsed member of my family wants to get married, without giving the appearance of slapping everybody right in the face and spitting on their shoes.
Yes, Jesus came to bring division, I understand. Doesn't make me any more eager to cheerfuly inform my relatives that they're living in the stench of contumacious fornication.
-- anon (email@example.com), January 27, 2005.
>"In no way shape or form does the Bible condem this."
A: The Bible doesn't condemn anything on its own. The Bible is a record of the teaching of the early Church. It is the Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, which defines moral and doctrinal teaching. There is nothing in the Bible that the Church was not already teaching before the Bible came into being. That's how this teaching got into the Bible in the first place. The Bible clearly describes the authority of the Church, and nowhere does it claim to have greater authority than the Church which compiled it.
> "Stop listening to men, and put your faith in God."
A: If you truly put your faith in God you listen to the Church, because that is what God commanded us to do. The Bible reveals that God told the leaders of the Church He founded, and no other, "he who hears you hears Me; he who rejects you rejects Me". That's pretty sound reason to listen carefully to the leaders of His Church, for in so doing you listen to Him. (Or was he lying when He said this?)
-- Paul M. (PaulCyp@cox.net), January 28, 2005.
didn't jesus said that there would be many fold which he all will unite in one?
-- sdqa (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 29, 2005.
You have it backwards. Jesus first founded one Church for all mankind, and said that all men were to be members of that one Church. He prayed to His Father in heaven that they would remain unified, just as He and His Father are one. (John 17:21). However, after He revealing this divine plan, He also predicted that men would violate God's plan by founding denominations. (2 Tim 4:3-4)
-- Paul M. (PaulCyp@cox.net), January 29, 2005.