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Should I light the unity candle at my daughter’s nondenominational wedding?

Full Question

My daughter and her fiance recently left the Catholic Church for a nondenominational one. They will be marrying soon in the same church and have asked me to participate in lighting the unity candle as a symbol of their marital union. Is it acceptable for me to do so?

Answer

I recommend you decline. As former Catholics, your daughter and her fiance almost certainly still are bound to observe the Catholic form of marriage, and their marriage in the non-Catholic church will be invalid. While there is no official Church teaching on this issue, lighting the unity candle with your daughter would send the wrong message: 1) tacit approval of a marriage not recognized by the Church, and 2) great potential to cause scandal.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines scandal as”.. .an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense” (CCC 2284).










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6 comments

  1. Mary Ellen Harbu k Reply

    I was under the impression that a marriage officiated in other Christian churches were valid as far as the Catholic Church is concerned. My husband was married before and I was informed that he has to go through the annulment process before we can have our marriage blessed in the Church.

  2. Esmeralda Soto Reply

    How can anyone tell this mother to say no to her daughter. Is she also supposed to ignore her, afterward? I was married by a judge and before we could have our catholic wdding a lot of family fatalities and evils happened and we could not married at church,but legally were. We planned to do so the following year. Jobs were scarse, he left for the military. Every time we planned our church wedding he had to be shipped out at a days notice. Once I tried when we were going to be married 30 years and a priest told us we could not unless we stayed with him for a week, so he could make sure it would last… Really… after, 30 year. We said no and that we would wait for our 40th wedding anniversary and it then… he said it would be to late… said who? God had the last word, because my husband asked me to marry him for that day and I had so many wonderful friends at church at home (not in my home town like I wanted). I did not have any problems and everything went just fine.. I LOVE my husband more each day and we have been married 46 years now… Do not dispear. Your daughter has something in mind that she is unable to tell you now, but she will open up to you later. My mother and sister did not want me to wed my husband, but I have been happy. Wait Mother, just wait. There’s you have a lot to gain, Jesus said.

  3. Margarett C. Zavodny Reply

    Theoretically, you should not even attend the wedding, unless that would cause irreparable damage to the relationship between you and your daughter.

  4. Empress Reply

    My sister was a Catholic member and got married to an Anglican brother, and now she want to come back to Catholic Church. what procedures will she pass through

  5. Maryellen Young Reply

    That is a very unrealistic response. I am sure that Jesus would never tell a mother not to show her daughter that she loves her on her wedding day. There have been far too many times in our history that our church has caused division in families. There is no reason
    to continue doing it.

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