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Caitlin Kennell Kim
Mary
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Bible
Mike Hayes
Swingman/Editor
 
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Our readers asked:

Can I Attend a Gay Wedding?

Neela Kale Answers:

Question: I understand and agree with the Church’s stance on same-sex marriage. However, is it wrong to congratulate people or attend the wedding of a same-sex couple? Wouldn’t it be similar to going to a wedding of a different religion?

While the Catholic Church teaches that marriage is reserved to one man and one woman, this doesn’t preclude Catholics from attending celebrations that aren’t Catholic sacramental weddings. Civil weddings don’t pass muster in the Catholic Church, nor do some unions celebrated in other religious communities. That’s not the point here. Mere presence at an event does not mean approval of everything that is taking place. If you were to take a poll of everyone gathered to celebrate any wedding, you would likely find a wide range of opinions, convictions, and experiences with respect to marriage. Some people in attendance might not even approve of the marriage being celebrated, or of marriage at all! But all the guests would probably express love and friendship for the couple and a desire to support them at an important time in their lives. If someone invites you to a gay wedding or to a wedding of a different religion — especially if that someone is a friend or relative of yours — don’t hesitate to go. You are called first and foremost to love that person and to honor the relationship you have with him or her. There is another time and place to discuss the teaching of the Church with respect to marriage. And if you are concerned about scandal, remember this: There’s a difference between a Catholic priest presiding at a gay wedding and you attending one.

 
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The Author : Neela Kale
Neela Kale is a writer and catechetical minister based in the Archdiocese of Portland. She served with the Incarnate Word Missionaries in Mexico and earned a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology. Some of her best theological reflection happens on two wheels as she rides her bike around the hills of western Oregon.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Mike

    Did Jesus atten the Roman orgies?

  • lweisenthal

    Many people disagree with the advice given by Ms. Kale. Firstly, if this were crystal clear, then I’d think that Cardinal Dolon, Archbishop Cordileone, and/or someone else from the magisterium would have stated it just as strongly as all of you did. But there’s no “official” Catholic policy on this. Even, in the case of the Rhode Island archbishop (you can Google him), there was a loophole you could drive a truck through. We are supposed to search our souls and be wary that our souls may be in jeopardy, if we do the wrong thing.

    Well, let’s suppose, after searching, that we decide that it would be the right thing to do.

    e.g. Your good friends, parents of a hypothetical young woman in question are heartbroken, but they feel that they have to support their daughter. This is certainly understandable that the lesbian couple in question might want to commit to each other and that the parents would — in the end — not be able to turn their backs on their daughter. And then there is you. The wedding is going to happen anyway. And now it’s down to human terms. If you don’t attend, what does everyone think? Is anyone going to be even slightly persuaded differently? Could you not, instead, say, please understand, my church teaches that same gender “marriage” is wrong, but I love you both and I love your daughter and all I can do is to pray for her and you, while being there for you as a friend, as I know that you’d be there for me.

    Now, in doing that, you’d be giving powerful witness to both Catholic morality and Catholic compassion. In contrast, by refusing to attend, you’d just be reinforcing stereotypes, forever changing the parameters of your friendship, and achieving nothing beyond — in your own mind — safeguarding the certainty of your own salvation.

    Now, if you truly searched your heart and evaluated it in this manner, and truly believed in your heart that it would serve all purposes better to attend than not to attend, then does not Catholic teaching say that God would hold you harmless, in the absence of direct teaching from scripture, magisterium, or tradition to the contrary? I think that this is what the Rhode Island archbishop was really saying. “I’m not going to tell you what to do, and neither is the Church, but you should be warned that you are getting into a very sketchy area and you’d better take the time to ponder it and pray about it and be certain that, under all the circumstances which are present, that you really believe that you are doing the right thing.”

    - Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach CA

  • Michael

    This thread has been an interesting yet unenlightening read. The commentors seem to be struggling, as we all do from time to time, with two very similar yet diametrically opposed concepts: Judgment and Prudence. Judgment ca be sin and is best left to God to administer, while prudence is a virtue and should be sought by each of us. When I find myself confronted with decisions of this nature I find comfort and guidance in prayerfully asking, what would Jesus do? When He replys to my heart I try to follow His advice. I strongly believe that the answer one receives from Him may not agree with the answer received by an equally devoted spiritual person because of slight variations in the context under which the question is asked. This is not to say that there are no absolutes between sin and righteousness. Only that we should trust the advice of our Lord in such matters of subtle nuance rather than trying to resolve such issues using our frail human capacities of intellect and reason, or by following a one-size-fits-all edict without Divinely inspired spiritual reflection.

  • Chris

    Beautifully and pastorally said, Neela.

  • Proud father of a gay son

    Anyone who has a gay son or daughter, or is a close fried of a gay or lesbian, knows that being gay is NOT a choice! Pope Francis’ message of acceptance is one of the most Christ-like actions I have seen in my lifetime.

    • Inge Loots

      You’re right it is not a choice to be gay. I am bisexual. But you have a choice in regards to your actions. Being a Catholic, I chose the celibate life. But somehow, people don’t accept that. They want me to ‘embrace my sexual identity’, ‘be free’.

      I was baptized at age 22 hoping that I was free from this being bullyied into a sinful life, but to my great dismay even Catholics, well meaning, tell me that it is okay to live an unchaste life and that they don’t agree with the Church.
      So much for acceptance of my Christian lifestyle. So much for pushing your fellow LBGT Catholic sister in the abyss of mortal sin. I’m very disappointed in so called ‘liberal Catholics’, it makes them obviously feel good, so it must be good, right?

      Would I, as a bisexual Catholic who tries to live a life faithful to the teachings of the Church, attend a ‘gay wedding’? Absolutely not. For starters, it’s not a wedding and I would be doing the same thing other people try to do to me: push them into the abyss of mortal sin by celebrating their sinful union. The Christian thing to do is trying to save their souls by praying and loving conversations.

      • Chris

        Dear Inge,

        Whilst I completely understand your concerns and support your choice to be celibate, please be careful in your use of the term ‘mortal sin’ and placing people in that state. I’m sure you’re aware that the Church teaches that there are three conditions for being in a state of mortal sin – and that all must be met. They are: grave matter, full knowledge and deliberate consent. (Catechism 1857). The Church also teaches that a variety of things can mitigate
        - even remove – the imputability of a sin e.g. ignorance, external pressure, internal pressures such a pathological disorders;
        even things such as passions and feelings. (CCC 1860)

        However, let us say that there are absolutely no mitigating agents; in such a situation, the 3 conditions mentioned in 1857 must all be met at the same time. Let’s briefly consider
        a same-sex relationship in the light of each condition.

        1. Grave matter:
        Here we presume the couple is sexually active. According to the Church, non-martial sex falls into this category and thus the condition of grave matter is fulfilled.

        2. Full knowledge:
        This presumes that the couple not only knows non-marital sex is grave matter but that this may break the relationship with God – not only now, but eternally. This is pretty deep stuff – especially the last bit – that only those involved can determine. However, let us say a couple does know.

        3. Full consent:
        This is the clincher, the most difficult, because it encompasses an actual desire to be separated from God – for all eternity. It is not a choice any sane person would accept and the Church very wisely has this as a condition which must be met to be in mortal sin. No.1 is easy. No.2 is tricky. No.3 is highly unlikely.

        For the sake of argument, let us presume that there is actually a person who fulfils all three conditions; even then, the Church refuses to say that person goes to Hell after death. Consider the very last sentence in paragraph 1861 of the Catechism:

        “Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not
        redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offence, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God”

      • Inge Loots

        Dear Chris,
        I know what mortal sin is. I also know that swimming against the tide of our modern culture is hard. There are a lot of temptations to give in to desires. To tell Jesus that I can’t do it, that I rather give in to my feelings.

        I know that going back to where I came from, go back to gay culture would trap me. My feelings would take over and I would be lost forever. So in that case the three conditions are met, but I know you won’t understand because I can just tell the way you write that you have no idea what your are talking about.

      • John

        Inge, thank you for your insightful response and the courage to live your faith. You are an inspiration!

    • geeteekay

      You invest in love and acceptance so your kids don’t have to invest in anti-depressants down the road. I love it. Proud of you, dad. Keep up the good work.

  • Mike Hayes

    Everyone seems to be missing the point here. Attendance does not equal approval. And disapproval does not require not attending. The marriage itself is not a Catholic marriage and the church cannot bless the union of same-sex couples. But the church also doesn’t bless the wedding of two protestants or two atheists either and I would wonder if one would hesitate at attending a wedding under those circumstances?

    • UAWildcatx2

      I’m not entirely sure we are, though. While it is true that the Church does not bless non-Catholic weddings, the fact of the matter is that those weddings are still recognized by the Church should one partner get divorced, and later wish to enter the Church. They would have to go through the annulment process to remarry, should they wish. Plus, those marriages are still (as far as we know), open to life, and naturally ordered. There is a similar issue with couples of have been married within the Church herself. Permit me to introduce the issue I’m currently facing: that of a Catholic
      who has been divorced, not seeking annulment, and pursuing a
      relationship which will, in all likelihood, result in non-church wedding. Can I
      attend his wedding? My answer is an unequivocal “no,” since the Church teaches that marriage is a life-long bond that we human beings cannot break. My attendance, I know, would cause my friends to say, “well, it must not be that important to him, he still came.”

    • Sonja Flater

      People attend a wedding to witness the union. So, yes, it does equal approval.

      • Inge Loots

        This.

  • UAWildcatx2

    Unfortunately, this article and some of the comments to it represent the “squishy, happy happy joy joy” distortion of what true love (agape) really is (“But all the guests would probably express love and friendship for the
    couple and a desire to support them at an important time in their live”). Sometimes, love is tough. Sometimes, love means saying no. But what really hit me was the comment “And if you are concerned about scandal, remember this: There’s a
    difference between a Catholic priest presiding at a gay wedding and you
    attending one.” finishing the article above. It assumes that the only people capable of causing scandal to the faithful are priests, and that’s it. What is the author’s opinion, then, on self-proclaimed Catholics in the public sphere who voice support for abortion? Since it’s not a priest, it isn’t really scandal?

    • Mike Hayes

      No, UA…that is not the author’s intent at all. The point she makes with the last comment is that there is a HUGE difference between a priest blessing a wedding of a gay couple and someone else merely attending. To attend does not mean you approve of the marriage per se. But a presider would be blessing the nuptials and that would be a de facto approval of it.

      • UAWildcatx2

        Thanks for the reply, Mike!

        Let me propose a scenario here: say that John is a faithful Catholic, attending mass daily, possibly even a Knight of Columbus. He lives his live as faithfully as he can. So much so that those around him see how faithful and religious he is. So John is invited to a “wedding” by his gay co-worker. If he goes, isn’t it possible that people will look at him, and think, “well, John is here, and I know that John is a good Catholic. So if he’s here, then the Church may not be right on this issue?” I can almost guarantee you that people would wonder if the Church was “off” on this issue. While John can’t control the thoughts of those around him, his presence can lead rise to scandal. My main point previously was that scandal can be caused by any of the faithful giving the impression that the support things to which the Church is opposed.

      • Matthew Abid

        Jesus never seemed to worry about scandal ad moreover neither does Pope Francis. What would the saints do? I struggle to believe Augustine, Francis, PJP2 ect would tell us to not be Christ in these moments. The holy rollers in Catholicism seem to worry a lot about scandal yet Jesus neve said don’t show love to those in sin because of scandal. We would do well to worry about our own scandal.

      • UAWildcatx2

        Matthew, thanks for your comments! You mentioned not showing love to those in sin. I wonder, though, how that love should be manifested. To me, sometimes love means saying, “I love you as a human being, but I cannot support you in this choice” as a way of demonstrating to them my belief and faith. We’re called to look after our own souls first, which, to be sure. includes tending to our own issues, scandals, etc. But that doesn’t mean that we celebrate things that we know are against Church teaching. I also don’t believe that Augustine, Francis, JP2, et al would advise us to attend a gay “wedding” to (to quote the original story) “support them (in this sin) at an important time in their lives.”

      • cajaquarius

        I much prefer your approach. By avoiding my unions and treating my love and romantic identity as invalid you are being more honest. I wish more people would just admit they don’t see us as valid persons and quite trying to candy coat their disgust. I respect foes who have the conviction to cut themselves out of my life. Makes things less confusing all around.

  • cd06

    God is love. Your purpose is to serve God. Spread love, do not judge. Other people’s sins will be taken care of by God. It is not your responsibility to cast anyone out. Trust God that He will handle other people’s decisions. Your only job is to love one another. With that said, you live YOUR life to what is pleasing to God. Let it be known that you live your life to serve God, but not do His job. You encourage others to have a relationship with Him, but you will love them no matter what because God loves them. God will guide you and God will guide them.

  • Tracy

    As Pope Francis said yesterday of gay priests: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” If we all spend more time perfecting ourselves and less time judging others, the world will be a better place. If you are already perfect, great! Get out there and mingle with the sinners, as Jesus did.

    • Sus

      Pope Francis’ response was to a reporter’s question about homosexual priests who are living a celibate life.

      The Pope said nothing new or contrary to the teachings of the church.

      We must all be more vigilant in our research when it comes to reading/believing media reports.

      • geeteekay

        If you ask yourself WWJD, and the answer that comes back is “Condemn gays.”, you’re doing it wrong.

      • Inge Loots

        I am gay, yet I am condemning a gay lifestyle including their ‘wedding’. According to your logic I am condeming myself. Interesting. Apparently the distinction between a person (who we never should condemn) and his or her actions (which we can disapprove of) is difficult for some people.

      • geeteekay

        Bummer.

  • Peter

    Here are two situations. Please tell me which is the correct wedding to attend.

    Sam and Pat have been together for 2 years. They have not had sex before marriage. They would like to get married, to affirm their commitment to each other before their friends, family, and God.

    Francis and Jordan have been together for 10 years. They, too, have not had sex before marriage. They would like to get married to affirm their commitment to each other before their friends, family, and God.

    Which couple, do you believe, “should” get married?

  • Raymond Moon Sr.

    A Catholic cannot/CANNOT attend a “gay” wedding. You cannot give ascent to an observable sin. The union between same sex is an obvious mortal sin. The idea of a Catholic attending a non-sacramental wedding of another tradition is a different question altogether. That would still be a marriage between a man and a women (supposedly). Also, the comments I have seen about asking questions of peoples sexual activities before their wedding is another red herring and does not speak to the issue or question at hand.

    • Matthew Abid

      So you spend no time with those in mortal sin? Never been to a wedding where cohabitation was happening? Or where they’ve had sex before marriage?

      Seems we forgot that Jesus is pretty forgiving of our sins and the only way you can ever witness to these people is if you are a part of their life. I can guarantee that if you skip the wedding you are probably going to not be a huge influence in their life.

      Don’t let my comments be confused with being pro-gay marriage, I’m pro-compassion. We have lost that in our faith.

      • Raymond Moon Sr.

        It is one thing to spend time with those in mortal sin (which we all have been in from time to time, thank God for confession), but it is another to agree with the mortal sin and to support those who are actively participating in that sin. You don’t show compassion by saying it’s ok to continue in sin.

      • Matthew Abid

        You’re misunderstanding what I’m saying-have you made sure that every wedding you attend haven’t slept together-or is this brand of holding people accountable just to those who have homosexual tendencies?

      • Raymond Moon Sr.

        Those who have slept together before marriage in a heterosexual relationship, once they go to confession and are absolved of those sins, then get married in the Church, it is a valid marriage. It is not the same for a homosexual couple. The ACT itself is morally wrong. It will always be morally wrong, no matter how many people say it is ok.

      • Matthew Abid

        You seem to be missing my point-do you run “sin-checks” in your friends before hanging out with them? I’ve never said gay marriage is right-but two gays living together without sex isn’t wrong. I don’t believe this person said a gay catholic wedding either-since those are forbidden. Going to a ceremony at a JOP isn’t wrong. Again-do you check everyone sins? And God at least waits till death to judge, how awesome are we to judge people while along the way.

      • Raymond Moon Sr.

        Ok. No, I don’t run “sin checks” on people before hanging out with them. You don’t seem to understand my position either. You are correct to say that two gays living together without sex isn’t wrong. However, if they are taking the “step” of announcing their “wedding”, one would presume that it is their intention to “consummate” that relationship. Besides, the intention of a marriage is to be fruitful and multiply (at least in the Christian realm), that in a same sex scenario is impossible. There also seems to be a misconception between judging and condemning. I can judge a situation, as to whether it is good or bad according to what we have been taught through the Church’s Magisterium and Catechism, but we cannot condemn. We don’t have the power to condemn others, only the power to condemn ourselves.

        As to the question of being a positive influence in their lives, if we are honest in our faith and treat others with compassion, then if the situation comes up and you have that type of relationship with those who are gay, then I believe they would understand. (Call me gullible, but I do believe that). Peace to you sir.

      • Mike Hayes

        The act itself can also be forgiven by confession and to say otherwise is a huge violation of canon law.

      • Raymond Moon Sr.

        Absolutely, the act itself can be forgiven by confession. All sin can be forgiven by confession. But the idea of reconciliation is to not fall into the same sin again. This would be impossible to even consider if it was a same sex couple. You cannot tell me that same sex couples who marry are not going to have sex. Therefore it would be an ongoing abomination (the act, not the attraction).

      • Mike Hayes

        Would you say the same thing about an Anglican priest who was married, converted to Catholicism and then was asked to live with their wife as “brother and sister?” Because I have a hard time believing that these couples don’t have sex, but presumably the church blesses that relationship and that ordination. But we immediately call homosexual relationships into question as if this is impossible for couples to do. So why would we think differently in this case? Or do we?

      • Raymond Moon Sr.

        Depends on how long the Anglican couple have been married :) Seriously, the homosexual couple is not a marriage, it is a union. In the teaching of the Church, marriage is defined as a Sacrament between a man and a woman. The civil authorities can call it what they want, it ain’t marriage. Yes, as a Catholic I think differently in the case as you ask me. Besides, the Anglican example you give is a red herring because the Sacrament of Matrimony would come before the Sacrament of Holy Orders. It is the same with Deacons, we are ordained into Holy Orders, and as married men, we have the Sacrament of Matrimony first before Holy Orders.

      • Mike Hayes

        I’m not arguing the validity of the marriage in the eyes of the church here. Yet, you continue to go back to that. One can attend and still agree with the church is the position that is out there the argument you are making doesn’t support nor negate that proposition. You continue to equate attendance with agreement.

        With regards to the Anglican situation–hee-hee–you made me laugh. But your final line would indicate that the priest in question should not be living as brother and sister with his wife. Something the church has called that person to at this point. Would you be saying that they should follow their “first” call? Or am I misreading?

      • Raymond Moon Sr.

        You need to go back and read the documents on Ecumenism.

        In other words, an ordained Episcopalian minister would make a profession of Faith and be received into the Catholic Church, and thereupon receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. He would then take appropriate courses which would enable him to minister as a Catholic priest.

        After proper examination by his Catholic bishop and with the permission of the Holy Father, he would be then ordained first as a Catholic transitional deacon and then as a priest. If the former Episcopalian minister were single at the time of his ordination as a Catholic deacon and then priest, he would indeed take the vow of celibacy. If the married former Episcopalian minister were ordained as a Catholic deacon and then priest, he would be exempt by a special favor from the Holy Father of making the promise of celibacy; however, if he later became a widower, then he would be bound to a celibate lifestyle and could not remarry. In the future, if a lay member of one of these reunited parishes wanted to become a Catholic priest, he would be required to take the promise of celibacy.

        The promise of celibacy is waived as a favor to those married clergy, given their particular circumstances and their desire to unite with the Catholic Church. However, the Holy Father has repeatedly affirmed the discipline of celibacy on Roman Catholic clergy of the Latin Rite. (Outside the United States, the Eastern Rites do not require the promise of celibacy except for bishops.)

        We have a married Anglican convert priest who is now a Roman Catholic priest in our Diocese. He and his wife are wonderful people.

        And yes, attendance at a gay “wedding” is acceptance. And as clergy in the Church, I cannot condone a gay wedding.There, I said it.

      • Mike Hayes

        Um…I know well the documents on ecumenism thank you. What you don’t seem to realize is that many of those priests have been asked by their bishop to live celibate lives despite their marriage vows while they are still married. Granted that is not the case in all of these cases, but in a few they are.

        Secondly, nobody is asking you to condone a gay wedding. However, if you show up at one that doesn’t mean you condone it either.

        We need to love people and yes, indeed love is difficult. It would be difficult to attend a gay wedding or even a sacramental marriage that one did not approve of. And in that uncomfortable space we may still be called to love those who we are in relationship with by attending and being present despite our difficulty and discomfort in doing so.

        It would do us all well to remember our Bishop’s words in their patoral letter “Always Our Children” in which they write:

        “All in all, it is essential to recall one basic truth. God loves every person as a unique individual. Sexual identity helps to define the unique persons we are, and one component of our sexual identity is sexual orientation. Thus, our total personhood is more encompassing than
        sexual orientation. Human beings see the appearance, but the Lord looks into the heart (cf. 1 Sm 16:7).”

        And we too, need to look into the heart and see what damage we may cause by rejecting someone totally, especially if they were a child of our own. We can object to a marriage and still attend the ceremony and more importantly, be present for those we are in relationship with without ever having to approve of their lifestyle choice. To say otherwise, proposes that attendance equals approval when it is clear that attendance, even in heterosexual marriage ceremonies does not always equate with approval.

      • Raymond Moon Sr.

        Well, then the Bishop is the wrong on that, even if it is the exception rather than the rule. I understand where your heart is Matthew, I really do. I don’t see by not attending a gay “wedding” as a total rejection of someone, even if it were a child of mine (they would understand) but it would not stop my love for them or my desire for their well being. I have in my family those who are in relationships that are less than the best (not same sex), and we still have a relationship with them. In fact, one has come to me a few times for advice (they live a couple of hours away, so we don’t see them that often). I agree we are to love as Christ loves us, but even Jesus said to go and sin no more. Obviously it was not a condition of his love for them, but it is a guide to wholeness of life.

    • Chris

      Raymond, Are you not being dangerously presumptuous? We can say that an act is mortal but not that a person is in a state of mortal sin; the 2 are quite distinct. I invite you to read my response to Inge in this regard as it makes reference to the Catechism. Of course, I could well have misinterpreted your comment.

      • Raymond Moon Sr.

        Chris, A very good answer to Inge. We, of course, cannot be the ultimate judge in any matter. The Catechism applies to Catholics and not to those who are not in communion with Rome. Sometimes we attempt to apply the teachings of the Church to others who could care less (sometimes those who could care less are fellow Catholics). However, we can apply the precepts of natural law (which divine law does not contradict, but natural law in incorporated into divine law). I cannot/would not attend a gay wedding for the fact that I am Catholic Clergy (Deacon), that in itself would give rise to scandal and/or confusion to those who saw me there and know me.

        The article states that mere presence doesn’t mean acceptance of all that is happening. Well, if it is a wedding, I would say that the bride and groom are the MAIN thing “happening”, and one goes to a wedding to show support to the couple, even if they might not particularly agree or like one or the other in the couple.

        This situation will not go away, and our way of dealing with does need to be pastoral and compassionate. You did a good job in your answer to Inge on both counts. I still stand by my opinion of declining to attend a gay “wedding”.

      • Matthew Abid

        Raymond-now that you’ve mentioned that you’re a deacon, I can understand your hesitance in attending the wedding-that is much different than the laity attending.

      • Raymond Moon Sr.

        Thank you Matthew. I thought my name was posting as it showed up on Facebook, but it doesn’t. I am just trying to lead by example. We have had similar discussions with the youth of our parish. It is definitely a hot topic these days.

  • Matthew Abid

    I had this discussion with a deacon who serves as my spiritual director, he said there isn’t anything wrong with loving those in sin-this would include up to and including going to a “gay” union service. I completely agree with the writer saying that most people in attendance at weddings aren’t pro-wedding. My mother-in-law has told me she didn’t support her daughter marrying me (a real awesome statement :))-it would be no different. Do you of attend weddings of people who have had sex before marriage, or are in cohibitation or who are in other states of mortal sin? If you are gonna stand on that hill it should be an all or nothing situation-because Catholics have developed this grat double standard about gays that we don’t apply to other mortal sin.

  • Anne-Marie Cottone

    I wonder about people who think attending a gay marriage will confuse their kids or those who think that if they believe what the church says about marriage, they cannot attend the union of a gay couple. Do these people also boycott weddings of people who are remarrying after divorce? Do they attend civil ceremonies, or weddings performed by clergy of other religions? Do they ask couples if they are practicing contraception? That said, If you don’t “approve,” stay home. Who needs your judgmental attitude?

    • Shannon Marie Federoff

      Well, you are judging me… so it seems some judgement is normal and appropriate as we navigate life.
      I assume a couple is NOT contracepting BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO ASSUME AND JUDGE. But if they tell me they are, I talk to them about NFP. Why the heck would I go around ASKING if someone is in mortal sin? With a same sex couple, its more obvious… homosexual activity is sinful. And they cannot be “married.”

  • Shannon Marie Federoff

    Sorry, but I think this is WAY off. My family was invited to the “wedding” of a homosexual family member. There was NO WAY I was taking my children (all under 13) to see this and confuse them as to what real marriage is. Its not a marriage when it is between two people of the same sex… so there cannot be a wedding. The last thing we need to do is scandalize and indoctrinate children that marriage is whatever a person wants it to be.

    • Anne-Marie Cottone

      Well, I am sure glad I’m not your “homosexual family member.” How sad that all you can see are rules and regulations.

      • Erica deVeer

        Anne-Marie, how I wish you could see that it’s not rules and regulations! Have you ever read Theology of the Body? I’m not sure what faith you proclaim, but this teaching on how the body and the soul tell of the glory of God and how sexual intimacy between a man and a woman images a more perfect picture of Who God is and how He loves is so beautiful. It’s this very beauty that leads the Catholic Church to uphold the dignity of the sacramental love of a man and a woman, a love so real in the sexual act that nine months later, the embodiment of that love enters the world in the form of a child. Christopher West does an amazing job of breaking down this teaching of the Church that Blessed Pope John Paul II spent much of his papacy indoctrinating. It might help you understand where the Church is coming from on all issues of sexuality and the body.

    • S.L. Hansen

      My sister just called a few days ago to invite me to her “wedding reception” with her female partner. Three years ago, they made a fake wedding certificate on a computer, printed it out and went out in the woods somewhere to get “married.” It wasn’t legal, it wasn’t religious, it wasn’t anything. Now they want to have a big party and get gifts. Her partner has no intention of becoming part of our family. She hates all of us because we’re white (she’s not…and yes, my sister is white, too. Hello, dysfunction junction). The invitation was just to make me say no and to start an argument about religion. I said, “We won’t be there but we wish you and ___ all the best” in a cheery, positive voice. No judgement. No trying to shove religion down their throat. But I’m not going to confuse my kids by CELEBRATING what is a sin. That’s what a wedding is, that’s what a wedding reception is. A celebration. We simply cannot celebrate sin. We can be kind to the people who don’t get that, but we don’t celebrate it, any more than we would give a bottle of booze to an alcoholic or head out to the Vegas casinos with somebody who has a gambling problem, or double-date with our brother and his mistress.

  • 1raquel

    I did not have doubts about attending a same sex wedding. However, I wonder why some priests who attended as spectators such weddings because the knew the couple or one of them, have been punished.

  • Laura Gonzalez

    If you believe in the Church’s stance on marriage, then I don’t think you can attend a gay friend’s marriage. (In fact, why do you have non-celibate gay friends in the first place?) Personally, I don’t care who marries whom, and so I would go. The other responses remind me of the meanness of my priest friend’s father. One of his sisters had taken vows and entered religious life. Some 20 years later she decided to leave her order, and a few years after that she married. Her father would not attend her wedding as he considered her already (still) married to the Church. He wasn’t just “not condoning her sin,” he was mean and vindictive.

    • Anne-Marie Cottone

      I agree with you, Laura. I would go too. It seems some people are deciding which “sins” they can condone and which are unpardonable — by them. As the Holy Father says, who am I to judge?

    • disqus_59KZkHgegx

      A cogent story, Laura. “We deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” when we act as if the only sins were overt sexual ones (an impression I keep registering from this comment board.) Did Jesus not magnify the Ten Commandments to the extent that hatred is like murder and lust is like adultery? We have all violated God’s Law. Confess that before approaching others with sanctimonious declarations.

  • Leslie Cannon

    This site continually baffles me — do you want to be liked by everyone — or do you want to instruct and teach? This is a perfect example of a PC puff piece.

  • Aloysius Churchgate

    This is just plain wrong! It does not in any way reflect authentic Catholic teaching or Church law. Things like this only confuse the faithful. No Catholic, in good conscience (and with a well formed conscience) could ever, under any circumstance, attend a ceremony that celebrates sin (which acting on same sex attraction would be). It is not loving to celebrate and encourage another person’s sin, rather, it shows one’s indifference toward the salvation of a loved one. It’s like saying, “I’m ok with you going to hell…heck, I’ll even celebrate the sin that leads you there!” That’s not Christian charity, it’s indifference disguised as Christian charity. I think this post should be removed. I’m very tempted (or maybe inspired is a better word) to report this to the local Bishop and the CDF in Rome. Please remove this post before more people a lead down the wrong path.

    • Chris

      Good grief. Another self-appointed guardian of orthodoxy who wants to file a report…and with no less a body than the CDF. Get over your own importance and realise that many of us are mature enough to handle a conversation with people with whom we disagree.

    • Matthew Abid

      The church has said same sex attraction isn’t a sin-it’s the act…come on. Use church teaching not your own opinions b

  • Erica deVeer

    I respectfully have a different opinion. I agree that we should show others love, but to attend a gay wedding when we, as Catholics, believe that all extramarital sex is a mortal sin that separates us from God, attending a gay wedding is condoning a sinful action that will not bring the two people closer to God but further from Heaven. Our actions should be Christian, and attending a gay wedding shows, with our bodies, our souls’ support of the act. As Catholics we do not condone gay marriage because it does not present marital love as it is meant to be: between a man and woman in the context of holy marriage. Personally, I’m of the opinion that if your friends are getting married and you know that the bride or groom cheated on the other, you should not attend the wedding because your presence there is a support of the marriage, a marriage already being built on lies and deceit. You should not go, and I believe that if your conscience is correctly formed, you would not go. Your body would not be present to represent your soul’s support of the immoral actions you’ve witnessed. You can love without condoning sin. We are taught to love the sinner but to hate the sin. How can we, then, condone the sin and still say we hate it? We can’t. We are body and soul, and what our bodies say reflects our souls. My soul will not condone the damnation that accompanies extramarital sex–hetero- or homo-sexual.

    • Anne-Marie Cottone

      So when you attend a wedding, do you ask the couple if they’ve had sex beforehand?

      • Erica deVeer

        Anne-Marie, that’s a good question, and I actually never have. But a same-sex couple getting married distorts and twists the true purpose of marriage and especially the sexual act. It’s not as obvious to look at a man and woman and see the sin that is or might be in their life. But after a gay couple weds, even if they’d never had any sexual relations before the wedding, they sin within the marriage by twisting the true act of sexual union.

        So, back on point. No, I’ve never asked a heterosexual engaged couple if they’ve had sex before their wedding, but I have knowingly attended a wedding where the couple on the altar cohabited before marriage, and I felt ashamed standing before Jesus (yes, this was a Catholic wedding though neither the bride nor the groom was a practicing Catholic), and I felt that the disrespect shown to Jesus in that ceremony as the couple stood before God in a mockery of purity rested on my shoulders as well as the bride’s and groom’s. That couple’s misguided actions are now my responsibility because my body was present to affirm their actions and because I knowingly supported their sin. I believe I will revisit this sin of omission on my part before God at my personal judgement. And personally, I would rather err on the side of caution in moral matters, particularly when my soul’s salvation is at stake. You may have a different opinion, and I respect that. Thank you for your question.

      • Raymond Moon Sr.

        If they were cohabiting before the wedding, wasn’t this their way of sanctifying it? Or were they already in the process of planning this Catholic wedding WHILE cohabiting? Big difference in the motives of the people getting married. PAX.

      • Anne-Marie Cottone

        But the church says it doesn’t matter if they were already engaged when they started to live together. And a gay marriage is that couple’s way of sanctifying it. If you feel what they do can never been sanctified — and if it’s a civil ceremony, no one is sanctifying anything — then obviously you stay home. But disapproving of gay marriage isn’t going to make anyone stop being gay.

      • Raymond Moon Sr.

        I never said it would stop people from being gay. I disapprove because it goes against natural law. And to whom are the gay couple sanctifying to? I cannot/would not go because of the appearance of approval.

      • Nick Russo

        Is natural law what some guys wrote down back in the day? Or is it “what happens in nature”? Cause if it’s the latter, um… I’m not sure being gay (the attraction or the act) goes against it. If homosexuality goes against natural law because it a) isn’t procreative, and/or b) doesn’t occur in the majority, then Parkinson’s and MS go against natural law by the same reasoning. Plus, they’re also yucky, so they’re definitely unnatural. Here’s another thing that goes against natural law: charity. In nature, individuals are mostly for themselves, or a close-knit group, so I guess random acts of kindness are unnatural.

      • lila

        One (a heterosexual union, Catholic or not, premarital sex or not) has the hope and possibility of becoming something Holy. The other (a homosexual union) painfully does not. That’s the difference.

      • geeteekay

        It sounds to me like she attends weddings where people are engaging in extramarital intercourse at the actual wedding. I have never been to one of those, but then again I’m clearly not the party animal Erica is.

    • geeteekay

      “I agree we should show others love but SIN DECEIT LIES IMMORAL HELL DAMNATION.”

      You’re doing it wrong, Erica. You’re doing it wrong.

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