From a reader:
My brother-in-law (to-be), her CATHOLIC brother, is having a baby in a few months and is planning to have the child baptized in a Presbyterian service. I was told at one point that it might be a cooperation in Moral evil (schism) to attend services of another denomination. I was also told at another time that in support of a family member, this would possibly be permissible. So I ask you Father, ought we go to the baptism? Assuming that the "Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier" mumbo-junko doesn’t make an appearance?
What about attending a CATHOLIC cousin’s protestant wedding? Would that be recommended? I assume that there’s no hard and fast rule here… But as your spiritual children, what would you advise us?
I forgot to mention Father, that her brother has asked us to be the godparents… What do you think about that?
There is information lacking here, of course. First, we can only guess at the dynamics of the family ties here. Also, we don’t know the religious affiliation of the wife of the Catholic brother in law to be.
Still, you cannot be godparents to a child of a Catholic who is choosing to have the child baptized in a non-Catholic denomination. He is demonstrating that he doesn’t have the will to raise the child in the Catholic faith.
Second, your closest spiritual father is really your pastor at your parish. You should ask him what to do about this. In the meantime, I repeat that I don’t know the circumstances well enough to counsel on what you should do. It may be that the Catholics involved in making these fairly bad decisions might have had such a bad formation that they truly have no idea that what they are doing is wrong. Your reactions will therefore leave them puzzled.
My general view is that you should not attend the weddings of Catholics who have chosen not to marry in the Church, particularly when they know that it is wrong to do so. You have to make some allowances for the possibility that your not going would truly harm your possible good influence in the future. But for the most part, when people attend such services they give the impression that they are okay with what is going on.
Again, I cannot give you an iron-clad rule in this. I urge you to seek your pastor at your parish and ask his advice after explaining all the different angles.
Folks, be a little careful about these situations. They are very delicate. Consider what is truly for the good of the people involved, in charity and truth, and not only what will make you feel proud of yourself at the moment.