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.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103