- 5 years ago
- Wedding: August 2013
FI and I are not Catholic — we’re actually atheists/secular humanists — but I wanted to try and get some advice about how to help a Catholic family member without giving up everything important to us.
FMIL is Catholic in a big way. She’s extremely strong and active in the church, subscribes to every point of Catholic law, even the minutae, agrees with everything the pope says, etc. Hypercatholic with no exceptions, ever.
FI was baptized and confirmed, but has since left (unofficially), and I was never baptized anything.
It’s imporant to us to have a non-religious wedding reflecting us and our values, just like it is for everyone. Our values, despite not being related to religion, are just as important to us as religious people’s values are to them, but we’re running into trouble.
Despite our reticence about the church, we offered her the chance to do a bible reading at our ceremony. We thought we were being really kind and offering an olive branch — a way for us to connect and live side by side even though we have our differences.
She said it wasn’t enough. We had to have a blessing from a priest, fill out a dispensation form for a catholic marrying a non-catholic, and get married indoors. We’ve selected an outdoor venue, we aren’t comfortable with the presence of priests, and the dispensation form insists that FI sign off that he’ll raise children in the faith. We’re childfree, but if we ever changed our minds, they won’t be catholic — wouldn’t it be WORSE for us to lie about it!?
Anyway I don’t wanna bug anybody and I didn’t post this to stir up trouble, I promise! Just because we have these feelings doesn’t mean we want to disrespect those who feel differently. Religion is personal and everyone’s entitled to do their own thing. We both love FMIL and want her to be happy and involved in our wedding, but she’s implying in emails that she won’t (can’t?) even attend if it’s secular. We’re also self-uniting (only legal in PA, meaning no officiant, we officiate our own wedding) and that’s apparently also no good.
I wanted the perspective of Catholics and advice on how we can possibly calm her and help her to rest easy. Should we fill out the dispensation form and just lie? It makes us uncomfortable, we both value honesty highly, and she knows we’d be lying, but I really don’t want FI and his mom to be torn apart by our wedding, and I care a lot about her and see her as family already. Is there any compromise to be had here that I’m missing because I honestly just don’t know that much about Catholic law?
Any ideas or thoughts from the Catholic perspective on our situation would be welcome. Thank you for helping a confused and worried outsider.