I was born and raised Catholic, but became Wiccan a few years ago. My fiance is Catholic, but neither of us wants a Catholic wedding. We've decided on a secular ceremony, neither Christian nor pagan.

Most of the people in my mom's family are Catholic extremists. They claim that because my fiance and I are both baptized, if we don't have a Catholic wedding then by Church doctrine they're not allowed to attend. (As you can imagine, this is creating a lot of heartache.) Is there any truth to this? If not, is there any evidence I can show them that might convince them otherwise?

  • You want Catholics to participate in a pagan worship? Can you please clarify what Wiccan is?
    – Grasper
    May 8 '18 at 13:37
  • I'll clarify in my question-- Wicca is an earth-based religion, but the ceremony will be neither pagan nor Christian. May 8 '18 at 13:38
  • Oh they've made no secret of that. But one of them has told me explicitly that if, in fact, there's no such doctrine preventing her from going, then she'll be there. May 8 '18 at 14:20
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    @AdamHeeg For my purposes, the larger issue of who decides what constitutes a marriage is irrelevant-- the people in question consider themselves unable to attend anything that isn't a Catholic marriage (when it's between two baptized Catholics). Calling it something else wouldn't change that fact. And I'm trying to invite them, that's the whole point. May 8 '18 at 15:22
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    @pluto lots of us Catholics have notions about our own religion that aren't necessarily true. It's good news that one of your relatives is keeping an open mind about it.
    – Peter Turner
    May 8 '18 at 16:15

For the Church to recognize a marriage between two baptized Catholics as valid, they must follow canonical form:

Can. 1108 §1. Only those marriages are valid which are contracted before the local ordinary, pastor, or a priest or deacon delegated by either of them, who assist, and before two witnesses…

Thus, you mother understandably does not want to commit a sin of scandal by giving any support to an invalid or doubtfully valid marriage.

The fact you and your fiance positively choose not to have a Catholic wedding shows ill-will on your part toward the only true religion.

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    You might want to clarify this slightly by noting that no rule of canon law specifically forbids them from attending (since the marriage is secular, one can't claim communicatio in sacris), even though I agree with you on the scandal analysis. May 8 '18 at 17:18
  • if a Catholic had entered into an invalid civil wedding, and later divorced, in principle, he or she could marry someone else in the Church. Likewise, before any of these weddings can take place, Canon 1085.2 requires that "the nullity or dissolution of the prior marriage is established legitimately and certainly." Why if it was invalid?
    – Grasper
    May 8 '18 at 18:32
  • @Grasper ∵ that needs to be established first
    – Geremia
    May 9 '18 at 0:20

The Church does not explicitly forbid Catholics from attending presumptively invalid marriages. Catholics must use their own prudential judgment in making the decision, keeping in mind the necessity to uphold the Catholic understanding of the sanctity of marriage. To make such a judgment, you might ask yourself if you believe the couple is doing the best that they can to act honorably and according to the truth that they have. For example, you might decide to attend the presumptively invalid wedding of a couple who is expecting a child (thereby attempting to provide a family for that child); but you might decline to attend the presumptively invalid wedding of a couple you know to have engaged in adultery (thereby destroying previous marriages and families).

While there may be just reason to attend a particular wedding that will be presumptively invalid, I cannot recommend participating as a member of the wedding party in such weddings. There is a difference between attending as a non-participating guest and actively involving yourself in the wedding.

— This and more from Catholic.com

In your case, I must say sorry but the influence of paganism will result in an invalid marriage for you and gives good reasons for all your friend Catholics not to attend for obvious reasons.

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    It appears this is largely a quote. You need to establish that and give an attribution. May 9 '18 at 3:26

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