It is still one of the most frustrating and difficult decisions for a practicing Catholic. And the more one loves the Faith and those who are getting married outside of the Church, the more difficult that decision becomes.
I hope you can appreciate the dilemma. Marriage in the Catholic Church points to a love that is both sacrificial and life giving. It is a public action and oath that ensures for all parties the best possible chances for success. The vows have us say before God and other, even if all should abandon this one, I will not. It is in short, the stuff of fairy tales come alive.
Practicing Catholics want this kind of love for those that they also love, and they know that anything less is below their dignity. And it is because of this that they worry about attending a non-Catholic wedding. There is a fear – a legitimate one – that their presence might signal approval for a lesser love.
But there is also the equally obvious fact that practicing Catholics love those family members and friends who are not practicing Catholics. And the worry is that by not attending the wedding, even a relationship of many years will whither because of a new found distrust for the practicing Catholic and that Church that he represents.
It is at this point that the headache sets in: Should I go or not?
To be brief, let me first say that you can attend the wedding if certain conditions are met. And since there is no outright teaching on attending such weddings it is important that you use your noggin and walk through a simple process. Thankfully, we can sum up this process in a single question: By marrying will this be a step towards fulfilling God’s commandments or a step away from them?
I know this still leaves much to discern but I think it does clarify the matter greatly.
If you can honestly say that this marriage, of which the wedding is its primary step, leads the couple involved to follow the Lord and His statutes more closely then you have something to celebrate. But if the decision to marry is a step away from the Lord and practice of the Faith, or only solidifies and gives public approval of sin, then the decision has already been made for me. I will not go.