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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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Are Catholics Forbidden to Attend Gay Weddings?

downloadQuestion

I was recently told that Catholics are forbidden from attending the weddings of gay couples.  Is this true? While very rare in the past, with changes in the laws, these celebrations are becoming far more common.  We might have reservations about homosexuality but many of us have gay friends and family.  We would not want to hurt them or come across as bigots.  What should we do?

Response

A similar question arises when Catholic heterosexuals attempt marriage outside the Church.  Of course, we are still talking about what we consider a natural bond.  The Church does not explicitly forbid Catholics from attending a marriage presumed as invalid. One would have to make a personal judgment in conscience, weighing the possibility of scandal and undermining the dignity of marriage as sacred. If you should decide that as a matter of principle you cannot attend or participate, then you should be honest with the couple and affirm your love and prayers for them. Given marriage is strongly defined by the Church as a bond between a man and woman that is open to human generation, the fidelity of spouses and a unity realized by corporeal complementarity; I see no way that one might attend or celebrate a “same-sex” marriage without compromising an essential teaching of Catholic moral and sacramental doctrine. In other words, if you believe what the Church teaches, it would be impossible to attend as a good Catholic.

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