Saturday, September 17, 2022

Attending Ex-Catholics’ “Weddings”

 From Pilgrim Priest:

Why then would you participate in the simulation of the great sacrament of Matrimony?  Getting married outside the Catholic Church is a mortal sin for a baptized Catholic.  If you encourage another’s mortal sin, you obviously place yourself in mortal sin, too. Every Catholic knew this 100 years ago.  Remember that the traditional Magisterium of the Catholic Church listed nine ways to being an accessory to another’s sin:

1. By counsel
2. By command
3. By consent
4. By provocation
5. By praise or flattery
6. By concealment
7. By partaking
8. By silence
9. By defense of the ill done.

Therefore, attending an ex-Catholic’s “wedding” outside the Catholic Church would make you an accomplice in another’s mortal sin by consentby praiseby partaking and by silence.  (See numbers 3, 5, 7 and 8 above.)   That is, unless you’re going to stand up at the fake-wedding and scream and try to stop such a farce, silence at such an event makes you nearly as guilty as the fiancés executing such an invalid simulation of a sacrament.

Or don’t you believe Matrimony to be a Holy Sacrament of the Catholic Church?

Another part of classic morality that most priests hide from their lay people is that for an ethical decision to be moral, all three of the following items must be morally good:
1) the object (deed) and
2) the intention and
3) the circumstances.

If even one of those is missing from the proposed act, the traditional Magisterium teaches that the whole act is bad: Bonum ex causa integer; malum ex quocumque defectu.  Therefore, having a good intention to “win your daughter back to the Catholic Church” by attending her invalid “wedding” outside the Church will not only backfire (these things never work because adult children then see their parents’ religion as a joke to them when they don’t stick to their guns on conviction) but it’s also an offense against God.  Even if the intention part is good (“keeping the the bonds of charity with your adult child”) the object (or deed) remains evil.  Again,  malum ex quocumque defectu:  If one of the three aspects of a moral act (object, circumstance, intention) is defective, the whole shebang is rotten. It doesn’t matter how good your intention is.

A totally different question may be tackled here:  Can Catholics attend non-Catholics’ weddings who were never Catholic?   The Church recognizes the natural marriage of non-Catholics getting married outside the Catholic Church, even if she soesn’t’ recognize the sacramental marriage of a non-Catholic couple.  There is some debate as to whether baptized Protestants (who were never Catholic) effect the sacramental bond of Holy Matrimony.  That debate aside, I spoke to a traditional Catholic with a PhD on the topic of Catholics attending other religion’s weddings.  We are open to correction on this point, but we came to the conclusion that is probably morally acceptable for lay Catholics (not clergy) to attend the weddings of Eastern Orthodox, Protestants or Jews and maybe even secular services, with the proviso that neither fiancé(e) was ever Catholic.  Keep in mind a Catholic may never engage verbally in any liturgical prayer of non-Catholic sects, whether that setting be a wedding or anything else. (Read more.)


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