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I have a brother that is 11 years younger than me.   He was baptized Catholic, raised Catholic, confirmed, graduated from Catholic high school.  He stopped practicing his Catholic faith (I'm guessing sometime after he graduated from high school about 10 years ago, maybe even during high school) and now considers himself an agnostic.  We have grown pretty close as adults, even though we don't have common faith and disagree on most political issues!  He and my husband are pretty good friends too.  I think he is my children's favorite uncle.  

He's been dating a nice woman (same age as him) for one year.  They recently moved in together.  He knows our views on this.  My children know our views on this, too.  He is welcome here at any time, and so is his girlfriend, but he knows we will not bring the children to his apartment and he knows why and respects this.

They are talking about a wedding in two years.  (Though she doesn't have a ring yet.)  I heard him talk to my husband and another sibling, that the wedding will be in front of a justice of the peace, probably at a hotel or wherever they decide to hold the reception.  Are we allowed to go?  If we don't go, it will cause major family uproar, but I'm more worried about offending God than offending the family.  Like I said, he hasn't practiced his faith in a long time and they are both agnostic.
I think you should ask your priest rather than an internet forum.
Even if it's a N.O. priest?
gerald in similar predicament. advice was you can go to reception but not wedding
You cannot attend the wedding of a Catholic who is not properly observing the Catholic marriage laws.  He is a Catholic, even if he hasn't actively practiced the faith in some time, and he is not observing the laws, so you should not attend.  If you think it is more complicated than that for some reason, by all means consult a priest.  I wouldn't discount a priest's counsel in this matter just because he is an "N.O. priest".
A Catholic is reqiured by canon law to get married in the Church. A Catholic who does not, has an invalid marriage. They walk in to the  ceromony as boyfriend and girlfiriend, and walk out as boyfriend or girlfriend. There is no marriage. Attending it would be a celebration of their fornication, their sin, and disobedience to God.

Here is a sermon on it by an FSSP priest from AudioSancto:
Marriage: Rules on Marriage (Part 1)
http://www.audiosancto.org/sermon/200705...art-1.html
(10-15-2010, 06:29 PM)icecream Wrote: [ -> ]gerald in similar predicament. advice was you can go to reception but not wedding
You cannot go to the reception.

Fr. Issac Relyea had a great way of putting it. When someone asked Fr. Relyea if they could go to the reception instead of the wedding, he would ask them if they were brain dead or did a lot of drugs. Fr. Relyea said it was the equivalent of a son asking the father if he would join him while he goes to shoot and murder a neighbor. The father declines, but says he would meet the son at the pub to celebrate the murder afterwards with drinks.

Fr. Relyea's comment can be found in one his famous 2007 Mission sermons. The comment is made in the sermon on judgement,  at around  the1 hour and seven minute to the 1 hour and nine minute mark, (1:07:30-1:09:00) in the link below:

http://www.audiosancto.org/sermon/200703...ement.html
(10-15-2010, 07:29 PM)SaintRafael Wrote: [ -> ]You cannot go to the reception.

Fr. Issac Relyea had a great way of putting it. When someone asked Fr. Relyea if they could go to the reception instead of the wedding, he would ask them if they were brain dead or did a lot of drugs. Fr. Relyea said it was the equivalent of a son asking the father if he would join him while he goes to shoot and murder a neighbor. The father declines, but says he would meet the son at the pub to celebrate the murder afterwards with drinks.

On the other hand,  Fr. Fullerton of the SSPX said one time, "We have to exercise prudence.  We don't go running into Protestant Churches on Sundays telling them they are all going to burn in Hell.  You don't get many converts that way.

The analogy of Fr. Relyea fails because a murder is an unrecoverable crime.  An invalid Wedding can be worked towards validation or dissolving it at a later date if someone wises up.  You can't resuscitate a body once murdered.  This is also why they are two separate commandments.  Different natural sanctions, different vices against different virtues.  A soul however can be saved and in the case of weighing how much damage can be done to family unity, weighing the options of how much you publicly condemn something vs. how much you avoid supporting something can make a difference. 

The parties can know that you don't approve on principled grounds but a modest appearance at a reception can be seen as a statement of love but not support.  If restraining condemnation has a possibility of bearing fruit at a later date and avoids a misunderstanding that someone is "just a judgmental fanatic"  it can be permissible to go to receptions. 

As Bishop Williamson has said, you don't go all fire and brimstone and blast people that have shriveled and starved souls.  You can't give a starving man roast beef, you give him a little, little warm milk. 



(10-15-2010, 08:00 PM)Gerard Wrote: [ -> ]The analogy of Fr. Relyea fails because a murder is an unrecoverable crime.  An invalid Wedding can be worked towards validation or dissolving it at a later date if someone wises up.  You can't resuscitate a body once murdered. 
There is no marriage. There is nothing to be dissolved. The marriage only becomes valid once it is recognized by the Church. Their initial act of marrying outside the Church was still a mortal sin. The point was that murder is an act of evil. Marriage outside the Church is an act of evil.

(10-15-2010, 08:00 PM)Gerard Wrote: [ -> ]A soul however can be saved and in the case of weighing how much damage can be done to family unity, weighing the options of how much you publicly condemn something vs. how much you avoid supporting something can make a difference. 
Our obligation is to God, the Church, the First Commandment, not family unity.

(10-15-2010, 08:00 PM)Gerard Wrote: [ -> ]The parties can know that you don't approve on principled grounds but a modest appearance at a reception can be seen as a statement of love but not support.  If restraining condemnation has a possibility of bearing fruit at a later date and avoids a misunderstanding that someone is "just a judgmental fanatic"  it can be permissible to go to receptions. 
There is no way one can go to a reception of an invalid marriage and it not be an act of support. The reception is by its very nature a celebration of the mortal sin, fornication, disobedience, and evilness of the act of the invalid marriage.

Luke12:49-53

"I am come to cast fire on the earth; and what will I, but that it be kindled? And I have a baptism wherewith I am to be baptized: and how am I straitened until it be accomplished? Think ye, that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, no; but separation. For there shall be from henceforth five in one house divided: three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against his father, the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother, the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law."

Matthew 10:35-38

"For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's enemies shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth me, is not worthy of me."
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