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Moral Questions

Catholic Wedding, Fraud in Marriage &
Relatives Living in Sin

Traditional Catholic Wedding

Dear TIA,

May I please ask for some information about the wedding day at a traditional Catholic wedding?

I have heard of a beautiful tradition, for instance, where the bride leaves her bouquet at the feet of the Virgin Mary and the husband lights a candle in honor of St Joseph instead of the riotous and modern act of the bride throwing the bouquet over her head into a crowd.

I would like to avoid crass modern practices.

Am I obliged to have a best man? I don't have any Catholic friends?

I greatly appreciate your advice

Thank you.


      P.F., Australia

TIA responds:

Dear P.F.,

We believe it is much better to follow this beautiful tradition than the modern superstitious practice you mentioned of the bride throwing the bouquet backwards to her friends.

The role of the best man, as well as that of the maid of honor is not a matter of choice, which you may or may not choose to do. It is a juridical requirement for your marriage to be valid. The two witnesses are required by juridical tradition to make any contract valid. Now, given that your marriage will be a contract between you and your bride, in order for this contract to be valid, two witnesses will be necessary. This is the reason for the best man and best lady.

We wish you a holy and happy marriage.


     TIA correspondence desk


Fraud in Marriage

Dear TIA,

I read your articles on the validity of matrimony by Fr. Paul Sretenovic. They are very well written and easy to understand. Now, I have a question that I want to submit to Fr. Paul Sretenovic;

A man (I'll call him Walter) marries a young lady of foreign origin in the modern Catholic Church in the year 1973. They had two children. After a long time Walter discovered that the wedding was made as a rescue for the girl to not to be put out of the country.

Roger discovered that this was the main reason that there was so little love towards him. He asked the modern Catholic Church tribunal to examine his wedding. After 3 years, the tribunal decided for an annulment of the wedding based on the abuse of the girl and leaving Walter in ignorance of the reason [she married him], even before the wedding had place.

My question; Is the annulment valid or not?

May I ask you to excuse my bad English, for this is not my mother tongue.

     I thank you already for your kind answer.


TIA responds:

Dear R.D.,

Because he is very busy with pastoral duties, Fr. Sretenovic read your question, gave a quick general answer to it, and asked us to explain the details to you.

We believe that a marriage that has as its first goal keeping the bride in the country – to give her a stable status for immigration – could well be included under what used to be called a “marriage of convenience.” Those marriages were perfectly valid and much more stable than today’s “marriage of love.”

The problem in the case you reported is that the bride kept that first intent secret. She acted fraudulently and deceived her husband. So an abuse can be alleged.

In times past, in such a case the husband would ask the advice of a confessor who would counsel him to forgive her fraudulent behavior for the sake of the stability of the family and the formation of their children. He might even suggest to the husband to not raise the question with her, to keep secret her secret.

Instead, today, with the ease of getting annulments in the Conciliar Church, the first reaction of an indignant husband or the first counsel of a progressivist priest is to go to a tribunal and ask for an annulment. We believe the husband should not have asked for an annulment.

So, the mistake of the bride was to marry with a fraudulent intent; the mistake of the husband was to be impulsive, to put his pride before the good of the family and ask for an annulment. Now, he created a consummated fact. He has the annulment and it is valid.

With her mistake they could live together for a long time, have children and form them in a normal home. With his mistake he destroyed his family and jeopardized the formation and future psychological balance of their children. Who has more guilt: the one who acted fraudulently in the beginning or the one who unduly claimed his "rights" and destroyed their family?

Why don’t both parties forgive one another, re-marry and make an agreement to never return to a progressivist tribunal?


     TIA correspondence desk


A Relative Living in Sin

Dear TIA,

Thank you for your excellent website! The work you do is so important for the Church in her crisis. I would also like to give special thanks to Dr. Marian Therese Horvat and Judith Fife Mead for their wonderful book Courtesy Calls Again. This book has made me aware of so many faults in myself and my family, but with this book as a guide I will try to move away completely from the vulgarity that has poisoned my life for so long and strive for a more noble and Christian way of being.

I have often read your responses to questions from your readers, and have been very edified by them. Therefore, I value your advice very much and would like to ask for your help in a moral matter.

How should faithful Catholics behave towards family members who have fallen away from the Catholic Faith and now live in sin?

I have a brother who stopped practicing the Catholic Faith many years ago and who is now living together with his girlfriend. Would it be okay for me to visit them on birthdays and other occasions or should I try not to visit them at all? How should I interact with them in everyday life? …

I do not know how to deal with this situation with prudence and tact, being faithful to Our Lord. What is the Catholic thing to do? Would you please be so kind as to help me in this matter? I would be very grateful!

     Wishing you a very blessed Easter Season,


TIA responds:

Dear A.M.S.,

Thank you for your support and kind words about the book Courtesy Calls Again. They are being passed on to the authors.

To answer you in a way that intends to be clear and useful to others with similar problems, we will number your questions and respond to them in accordance with the mind of Holy Mother Church as she always was until the Conciliar Revolution.

1. Question: How should faithful Catholics behave towards family members who have fallen away from the Catholic Faith and now live in sin?

Answer: To publicly live in sin characterizes what is called a public scandal. The Church has always recommended great prudence in dealing with such a situation because it involves not only the souls that are directly engaged in the relationship – the good person who wants to help and the sinner or sinners – but also the example given to others who are observing. Indeed, any relationship with those living in public scandal must be evaluated in function of the repercussions that action has in the eyes of third parties.

For instance, a person who publicly embraces and chats joyfully with a relative living in concubinage sends the message to those observing the scene that he considers that situation as normal. In other words, he is responsible for the bad example his act may cause, inducing others to lessen their horror of that evil behavior or even to imitate that immoral practice.

2. Question: I have a brother who stopped practicing the Catholic Faith many years ago and who is now living together with his girlfriend. Would it be okay for me to visit them on birthdays and other occasions or should I try not to visit them at all?

Answer: You should not visit them. This would give the impression that you approve of that illegitimate union. On his birthday you may invite him by himself – not with his concubine – to go to a restaurant to celebrate it. Make it clear that you do not want to go with the couple because you do not approve their relationship. You should not commemorate her birthday.

3. Question: Should I interact with them in everyday life?

Answer: No. You should not. The doctrine on public scandal applies here. The contact with your brother should be restricted to the indispensable minimum: Emergencies, sicknesses or the death of your parents or siblings that require his opinion or help, common interests – properties that belong to both that need to be dealt with, family business etc.

In the revolutionary liberal society in which we live, these norms may be considered “uncharitable,” as the progressivists love to say so as to be tolerant with every moral excess.

However, the teachings of the Catholic Church, which is the source of all wisdom, places everything in a hierarchical order. According to her moral teaching, we should:
  • First, be charitable to God and, for love of Him, have horror of sin;

  • Second, be charitable to His Church and obey and apply her wise norms;

  • Third, be charitable to the ensemble of society and take care that public scandals do not contaminate its common spiritual good;

  • Fourth, be charitable to our family and strive to save the souls of its members who practice Catholic Morals, by preventing them from becoming complacent toward one who gives public scandal.

  • Fifth, be charitable to ourselves and care for the salvation of our souls by avoiding any contact with sin.

  • Only in sixth place comes the obligation of being charitable to those living in public sin, and this obligation applies according to the norms explained before.
We hope these answers may be of some help to you.


     TIA correspondence desk


Blason de Charlemagne
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Posted April 23, 2015

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