Bill says: Our only son, Rob, just announced to us that he is “getting married” to another man. We have known that Rob and his friend, Matt, have been close for several years, but this news has stunned us. They intend to have a wedding ceremony at Matt’s non-denominational church followed by a reception at a local hotel. Rob has made it clear that he would very much like for us to attend. My initial reaction is that since what Rob and Matt plan to do is against Catholic teaching, there is no way that we will be there!
Patricia says: I understand where Bill is coming from and I share his concerns. However, Rob is our only child and we have always been close over the years. I would not want to lose our relationship with our son by refusing to attend Rob’s perceived important day in his life. This issue is now beginning to come between Bill and I and our marriage relationship. What shall we do?
What do they do?
Sometimes the lives and actions of adult children can severely impact the relationship of their parents. An especially sensitive area is the choices of our Catholic children in regards to marriage and decisions they make that separate themselves from Church teachings. As parents, we want to be a part of our children’s lives, particularly at important life-altering events. But, as disciples of Jesus Christ, we must remain faithful to his teachings in the Gospel.
While being supportive of our child, we must be careful not to be affirming of the action contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Church.
Bill and Patricia need to discuss and pray about their decision on whether or not to attend Rob’s ceremony and reception (try Psalm 119). While it would be inadvisable to attend the ceremony itself, perhaps your personal love and support for Rob could be expressed by your presence at the party.
In conveying your decision to your son Rob, it is crucial that you speak with kindness and conviction. Remember, in endorsing the traditional definition of marriage, the Catholic Church is not against anyone. As stated by Bishop Thomas Tobin in his May 2013 pastoral letter on “Same-sex Marriage” to Catholics in Rhode Island: “The Catholic Church has respect, love and pastoral concern for our brothers and sisters who have same-sex attraction.”
Bill and Patricia, you face very difficult circumstances. “And this is my prayer: That your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ” (Philippians 1: 9-10).
Deacon Paul McBlain and wife Helen are members of St. Joseph Parish, Collingdale, where they have served as marriage preparation instructors for more than 25 years.