Monday, February 23, 2009

Dignity and the Sacrament of Marriage

Q: Can I go to my Aunt’s wedding that will be at the country club with only a Justice of the Peace? She is a confirmed Catholic, but not practicing right now. I don’t think I should go, but I can’t explain why. She is living with her fiancé, should I attend her bridal shower? What is a bridal shower really for anyway?

A: The bridal shower is a time to celebrate the beginning of a new life, usually done showering the bride with gifts in celebration. I would consider discussing some of your concerns and questions with other loved ones and gain their insight; they are more directly involved and know the relationship between you and your aunt better than I do. If you don’t feel comfortable going to celebrate the new beginning your aunt is starting, I suggest not going to the bridal shower.

“This covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.” (CCC, 1601) I think the difficulty you are having is that your aunt does not seem to recognize the dignity of this sacrament. Unfortunately for your aunt, since she is getting married outside of the Church, she is not going to have a sacramental marriage; she will have a legally binding marriage contract. God will still be present in their lives, but when marriage is between baptized persons He is directly connected with both people and their relationship, because He has bound them together. Whether or not you attend your aunt’s wedding should depend on whether or not you can go to the ceremony and show love for your aunt without supporting her actions. It is difficult, but this is a question that only you can answer.