(Closed) "I don't do the whole catholic church thing…"

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
13010 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Does she have a legitimate reason that Catholic churches make her uncomfortable? 

I would honestly just let it go and let her show up to just the reception.  Pushing her to attend a ceremony in a place that makes her uncomfortable isn’t going to do anyone any good. 

Post # 4
5096 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

@Woodstock:  “I’m feeling a little hurt that you would skip the ceremony, which is the most important part to me. But I want to understand – can you explain your reasoning?”

Post # 5
1252 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

I am Catholic myself, but I understand why attending a full Catholic mass could make some people uncomfortable since it is more than just a wedding ceremony.  

ETA:  I myself have even felt uncomfortable at one wedding that included a full Catholic mass because the priest’s sermon was all kinds of hell fire and brimstone and was very judgey about women and sinners and the like – I think the priest was taking the opportunity to try to force feed the “sinners” in the audience with his old-school beliefs.  I sat through it, and I would do it again, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if some people did get up and leave because it was personally offensive.  I thought it was a bad omen for the marriage at the time, they did end up divorcing in a few years so maybe it was.  Maybe if that is what she has seen you can assure her that yours will be different?

Post # 6
4193 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry

Has your friend been to a catholic wedding with full mass before, and know what it will entail? She doesn’t have to participate in the readings- she should stand when required, but she doesn’t have to say/do anything that she’s uncomfortable with (she could sit in the back). It’s part of being an adult and a friend, really. I’m protestant and have been to Jewish, Greek Orthodox, and Catholic weddings- it’s not my faith, but I support and respect my friends during this.

The ceremony’s the most important part of the day- I would respond back that I *didn’t* understand why she would miss your vows.

Post # 9
3697 posts
Sugar bee

Wow, that was really hurtful of her to say. If she is uncomfortable in the Church that’s her issue, and it was impolite of her to point it out to you. If she’s going to miss the ceremony there’s really nothing you can do to force her to attend, it’s her loss.

I would leave it up to her to figure out when to show up. I would probably reply something like, “We’re really sorry you’ll be missing the vows. The reception start time isn’t set in stone because it’s secondary. I guess we’ll see you whenever you get there.”

Post # 10
701 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Not everyone who came to our reception made it to our ceremony. It’s not the end of the world…

Post # 11
3697 posts
Sugar bee

You might also tell her (if you will be doing this): “We’ll have a program with all the readings and responses printed in it to help everyone follow what is going on, even if they’re not Catholic.”

Post # 12
2915 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 1996

@Woodstock:  Maybe you could make it clear that it’s really important to you that she’s there? She probably doesn’t realize.

To be honest, I don’t do the Catholic church thing, either. I feel bad about it, but I feel worse as an atheist going into a place that I know is sacred to people without any of the beliefs necessary to participate in a service. It feels incredibly rude to be sitting there NOT repeating the prayers, NOT believing in God, etc. I find myself unable to focus on the beauty and meaning of the ceremony; all I can think about is that I shouldn’t be there, that my presence is disrespectful.

I’m not saying this is how your friend feels, I’m just offering it as a possible interpretation.

Post # 14
684 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2010

I would respect my friend’s phobia or whatever it might be and let her know approximately when the reception is. Catholic church mass is not for everyone, not even for some Catholics. Try to walk in her shoes and see it from her point of view 🙂

Post # 15
1748 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I was raised Catholic and while I guess I get that the concept of the full mass is a bit foreign to people who aren’t Catholic and have never been to a Catholic church, but I’m always a bit confused when I go to another church service since I’m use to the order of everything that takes place throughout the mass. I understand that maybe some people can’t do the ceremony but can celebrate with you at the reception or vice versa, but to say that she doesn’t “do the whole Catholic church thing” is a bit odd, unless she has a legitmate reason.

@mightywombat:  +1

Post # 16
2866 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I think you are making something into a big deal that it is not. Not everyone is comfortable attending Catholic ceremonies and she looks like one of them. It would be beyond rude and inappropriate for someone to have to ” explain ” their reasoning to you. No one owes you an explaination as to their feeling on religion, wedding or no wedding. What she is doing isn’t the most polite thing in the world, but if you feel you have the right to question her then you are commiting a much bigger transgression and one that could stand to hurt the friendship.

Let it go. When you invite someone you can not dictate when they show up. Be a gracious host, the bigger person and most importantly an understanding friend. 

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