Friday, December 16, 2011

Some Things Matter More

    My wife and I have been married for just over two years now, and now is as good a time as any to share a bit of family drama we experienced. Our marriage ended up being rather impromptu, and we decided on a very small ceremony mostly for family, with a big, more inclusive barbeque at Ontario Beach State Park for the reception. The ceremony was just parents, grandparents, siblings and a couple close friends, so naturally we were gobsmacked when my wife's grandparents on her father's side decided they would not be in attendance.
    It wasn't so much that they chose to come, but why the opted out. The story we were told is that the two of them visited their religious official, in their Roman Catholic church, and they were informed that because the wedding wasn't Catholic, they couldn't even sit in the chairs as part of the crowd and celebrate our union with us. Now, my wife has dabbled in Wicca, and I was raised in Reform Judaism which I do not practice anymore. However, the ceremony, if they'd taken any time to learn about, was not specific to any religion. We included a Wiccan ritual, a Jewish one, a reading from the New Testement and a reading from Chinese origin. More than any religious slant, it was a celebration of love. Where ia the offensive aspect, what about a wedding would so sully a Catholic that they can't even watch?
    Apart from their holy instructions to boycott the marriage, what kind of lack of human decency is this that avoids a wedding? Perhaps it really is an afront to Catholic beliefs to join our blissful celebration. So what? Come, enjoy our company, acknowledge our commitment to each other, and then drag your ass to confession on Sunday and make up for it. Which, by the way, I would love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation. " 'Bless me father for I have sinned' 'What are your sins my child?' 'I went to a beautiful, romantic, unique wedding that wasn't Catholic' 'Seven Hail Marys is the penance for this offense to the Lord'."


  1. The Catholic church is very particular when it comes to marriage. (As it is in many other aspects!) Your disappointment (and frustration?) is understandable and warranted but if they are truly devout then you ought to acknowledge the fact that religion is more important than earthly matters (and I would imagine that a wedding not within the Catholic church and hence not sanctioned by God is considered earthly, even if the earthly matters are your own flesh and blood). Remember, their faith is derived from a book that lauds a man for being willing to sacrifice his firstborn son to a voice in the sky. You might want to speak to a local priest you feel comfortable with on the matter, if for no other purpose than your own intellectual/ecclesiastical curiosity.

    I would think that the more important barometer of their reception of your wedding would be how they've treated you since then. Just because their religion tells them they ought to disagree with your act of marriage doesn't mean they ought to act like dicks to you afterward and if that is the case I would ignore them. Otherwise, let it slide - not much you can do and you'll likely only generate more drama.

  2. I haven't taken any steps toward confronting them or initiating drama in the fallout, it's just an issue that's weighed on my mind for a long time. And as you say, the barometer should be how they've treated us since. They have made no attempt to communicate in any way with us since the day of our reception. To speculate, I feel their reasons for skipping the ceremony are rooted more in intolerance, and they hid behind their religion as a convenient excuse. I don't have any proof of this, merely my gut feeling at how they handled it then and since.