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Theophan:

Thank you for replying. I am 6+ years into the Melkite tradition, so please clarify things for me. I thought that since the Melkite church was united with Rome, that she abided by the same beliefs/practices about marriage, divorce, annulment, 2nd marriages etc. Kind of like she does with contraception. Or am I wrong there too?

If this marriage was valid or okay or whatever word you want to use (bride = previously married; groom = previously married twice; neither are Christian), I wouldn't have brought this up initially because there would be nothing to discuss in this forum. And no one would be needing to chime in.

Again, please clarify things for me. Tell me where I have things wrong.

Having said all that, I'd still like to know why someone would decline attending a wedding, but go to the reception. Aren't we sending mixed messages if we do that? Of course, I know you suggested going to the wedding, but others have suggested otherwise.

God Be With You,
Kathleen

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If I may weigh in here . . .

First of all, the Catholic Church recognizes as valid ALL civil marriages (i.e. that are done by a Justice of the Peace or at city hall).

The term "validity" is most certainly used by EC marriage tribunals, regardless of whether this is a Latin canonical term or not. And the Catholic Church, as I've said, recognizes as valid any civil marriage and would never call the offspring of such "bastards" or the like.

I didn't know this until recently when my wife's cousin received a Catholic Church annulment from his marriage of over 20 years. He and his former wife (the one who never was a wife to him to begin with wink ) have two children.

Now, his former live-in whatever you call her said that her husband has now made his two children "bastards" since the annulment asserts he never was validly married to her.

And, as it turns out, those children are not "bastards" NOT because the Church ever recognized that they were at one time validly married, but that the Church recognizes as valid the civil marriage certificate that was signed on the day their Church marriage took place.

I'm assuming these two friends of yours will have such a civil marriage certificate so, according to Catholic Church teaching, their marriage is valid - regardless of which rites or whatever ceremonies they will use.

On the other hand, you are entirely free to attend any celebration that your friends decide to have and your presence at them in no way means that you affirm their "validity" or not.

If they are your good friends and this is an important event for them and they have invited you - you are more than entitled to attend and celebrate with them.

The same would be true if your friends were Hindus, Buddhists etc.

And please don't get me started on what I think of the current Catholic Church practice regarding annulments . . .

Alex


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My thoughts with regard to attending the reception but not the wedding is thus:

I couldn't accept this as a true marriage because according to my belief marriage is until death. And so not attending the wedding would be in agreement with my conscience.

I know attending the reception may be considered hypocritical, and can't really argue that point. However, there are mitigating circumstances. One of the partners may be an employer, fellow employee, family or important social or government associate. Liken it to a funeral, where one is present at the visitation, but not there at a....say.... Masonic service, or Heaven forbid, a demonic service at the insistence of a family member responsible for the arrangements. In this case one is respecting the dignity of a person without giving credibility to the details of the event.

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Situation - I have been invited to a wedding between non-Catholics.
Bride - Secular Jew, Previously married, civilly divorced.
Groom - Went to Unitarian church with his Dad on occasion growing up, self-proclaimed atheist for at least a few years. Was previously married, civilly divorced - twice, to two different women.

Kathleen:

My understanding of "validity" with baptized Christians and sacramental marriage. I don't understand Alex's comments about how this upcoming marriage is "valid."

I understand that it is legal in the eyes of the state. But I don't understand how it would be considered within the parameters of Christian marriage. You have a secular Jew and a Unitarian--neither one a Christian. So how does sacramental validity enter?

Bob

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Dear Bob,

The Catholic Church would indeed recognize this marriage as "valid" - how it does is something you will have to consult others.

The Church recognizes civil marriages as "valid." This isn't from me, but from the Catholic Church itself.

When the Church annuls a marriage of a Catholic couple with children, those children do not become "illegitimate" as a result. Otherwise, they would be.

This is what a member of a Catholic marriage tribunal told me directly - and what I've read elsewhere subsequently.

Perhaps it has something to do with how the sacrament of marriage is understood in the West as opposed to how it is understood in the East.

In any event, I don't see how attending this wedding would in any way compromise one's faith and the like.

One is certainly entitled not to attend this or any other wedding.

But that really is up to the person invited.

I just don't understand what might be termed the "hang-up" with respect to this here.

Alex

Last edited by Orthodox Catholic; 10/08/15 10:10 PM.
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From a Roman Catholic point of view, isn't this kind of marriage under the aegis of "natural law"?, to expand on Alex's statement.

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Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
Dear Bob,

The Catholic Church would indeed recognize this marriage as "valid" - how it does is something you will have to consult others.

The Church recognizes civil marriages as "valid." This isn't from me, but from the Catholic Church itself.

When the Church annuls a marriage of a Catholic couple with children, those children do not become "illegitimate" as a result. Otherwise, they would be.

This is what a member of a Catholic marriage tribunal told me directly - and what I've read elsewhere subsequently.

Perhaps it has something to do with how the sacrament of marriage is understood in the West as opposed to how it is understood in the East.

In any event, I don't see how attending this wedding would in any way compromise one's faith and the like.

One is certainly entitled not to attend this or any other wedding.

But that really is up to the person invited.

I just don't understand what might be termed the "hang-up" with respect to this here.

Alex
Not all civil marriages are valid. The Catholic Church recognizes civil marriages as being valid when the parties are free to marry. If either is not free to marry, it's not valid.

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Originally Posted by theophan
Quote
Situation - I have been invited to a wedding between non-Catholics.
Bride - Secular Jew, Previously married, civilly divorced.
Groom - Went to Unitarian church with his Dad on occasion growing up, self-proclaimed atheist for at least a few years. Was previously married, civilly divorced - twice, to two different women.

Kathleen:

My understanding of "validity" with baptized Christians and sacramental marriage. I don't understand Alex's comments about how this upcoming marriage is "valid."

I understand that it is legal in the eyes of the state. But I don't understand how it would be considered within the parameters of Christian marriage. You have a secular Jew and a Unitarian--neither one a Christian. So how does sacramental validity enter?

Bob
There is the concept of valid natural marriage when the parties are not baptized. However, in order for there to be a valid natural marriage, both parties have to be free to marry.

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Absolutely!

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Please keep me in your prayers. The wedding is this weekend and I am still not sure what I am going to do. There doesn't seem to be a straightforward answer... and on such an important topic. I say this after asking a few priests (Eastern & Western), fellow Eastern and Western Catholics, including you; I even called Catholic Answers. I've had a lot of time and I continued to ask because I haven't gotten a consistent answer. And maybe there isn't one.

Thank you for joining the discussion. I really appreciate it!

In Christ,
Kathleen +

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Kathleen:

Christ is in our midst!!

I stand by my original post to you. Go to the wedding. Go to the reception. If their friendship is worth something to you, go.

Whether they are free to marry or not, that is not your problem. You're only answerable to the Lord for your actions. ISTM, if you're not an official witness, you're in the clear. Burdening yourself with questions about whether they are free to marry is beyond your and my pay grade.

I remember the day many years ago when we Catholics were told that we could not attend a wedding in our extended family because two Protestants were being married in a Protestant church. Our pastor finally gave us permission when it was going to cause a lot of hard feelings but told us we couldn't join in the Lord's Prayer if it was recited.

Bob

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Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
Wiccans (from which "wicked" is derived) is a pagan religion very similar to that of the pagan Slavs.

"witch" in English usage predates the very existence of "wiccans" by centuries.

"Wicca" does not trace to paganism; it was spun out of whole cloth with pagan references/pretensions fairly recently.

I've long toyed with writing a novel in which wiccans encounter and perhaps are infiltrated by a actual witches . . .

hawk

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