From a reader:
Dear Reverend Father Zuhlsdorf,
I was asked and agreed to be an R.C.I.A. sponsor for a family member.
The family member is about to marry a Roman Catholic who "Would not personally have an abortion but believes in a ‘woman’s right to choose’ — and voted for Obama."
Being a layman, I have parsed this over and over in my mind and have tried to seperate the Initiation into Holy Mother Church, with marrying a de facto excommunicated Catholic, without much success. My family and I are not planning to attend the nuptials, so as not to show approval for what we believe would be an illicit marriage.
I am trying to be a good Christian by praying daily and advising the family member on what I know to be wrong. My question is whether or not it is illicit for me to be an R.C.I.A. sponsor knowing full well that the motavation for entering The Church may very well be to marry a pro-abort "catholic’ ?
First, people are not excommunicated for the belief that others should have the "right to choose". If that person scandalously and publicly acts or teaches, etc., against the Church’s teaching there could be censures.
Second, you are being asked to sponsor your family member, not the potential spouse. Your own good example in her/his life is what you must consider as a sponsor. This will eventually extend to a certain degree also to the future spouse. You have to ask yourself what sort of concern you have for their souls. Is it better to have this relationship or not? You must work that out.
Third, it is not "illicit" for you to be a sponsor in this case. The law permits this. Also, as I understand the situation the one you are asked to sponsor does not hold these ideas.. the potential future spouse does. But that is a potentiality, not a fact.
I think the real question is what is your desire to have this relationship knowing what might be coming down the road. If you are not willing to attend the wedding, why are you going to be a sponsor, if your level of disapproval is that great?
At a certain point you must decide if you can have the stronger influence by being more closely involved, or not.
I’ll keep the combox closed on this. Perhaps some priests (or bishops!) might chime in via e-mail.