Q : 
We are Catholic and received an invitation from our cousin to attend his daughter’ s same sex marriage in Toronto. Are we supposed to refuse to attend or not?
【 Question from 】 Canada 加拿大

Fr. Francis : 

First of all, I would like to extend to you and your extended family my prayer. This is never an easy question, and there are no easy answers.

I would like to invite you to read up on a young lady’s testimony. Her name is Kimberly Zember. It should not be hard to find her on the internet. I think she can help you a lot. She was an active homosexual and she is now actively helping people in that culture to find healing in Jesus.

I learned a lot from her when I heard her testimony in person earlier this year. She told us that her family refused to acknowledge her as a homosexual and refused to allow her to bring her homosexual partner to their family home. It used to drive her so mad. But her family told her that it was because they loved her too much. Even though they knew their decisions were hurting her, they could not affirm in her what God does not affirm.

Kimberly told us that she thanked her family for not giving in to her. It would have been false compassion.

One of the things that hurt her most in her confusion was people kept tell her and affirming her that she was a homosexual. Because deep down, she knew it was not true. There was nothing right about that.

Anyway, you can read on more from her online material.

Having said that, how you make that choice depends a lot of many other things. In a way, it is a bit easier for you. It would be a lot more difficult if it is your own daughter or son. Whether or not you can communicate the full reason would depend on how close your relationship is with that family, and if they would understand much of it at all.

For those who need to make this decision for very close relations who do not understand the faith, it would be the most painful. Kimberly’s words came hauntingly back to me: I cannot affirm what God does not affirm. Doing so would be an offence to God.

Of course, the person would be hurt. And maybe he or she may hate the Church and blame God. And above all, we fear most that he or she will never talk tous us again, despite all our attempt to show love and compassion and explain our reasons. But somehow, we know compromising the truth cannot save anyone. And if we consistently and lovingly speak and live the Truth, the Truth will set people free. We have to trust Jesus’ words. It would be better to trust God’s words than to try to hold on to relationship in the wrong way and miss out on saving a soul.

And beyond that, we need to pray and fast. We need to ask for wisdom, how best to communicate love to that person I must reject because I love this person too much to affirm what is wrong in him or her. I learn that pastorally, for every no I give, I must find a yes to offer. Personally, for other situations, I tried offering to meet with them outside of the ceremony to show that I am not rejecting them personally and would like to build understanding. I know there are parents who found that maybe going to the banquet and not the wedding would soften the situation. But I have to be honest. I don’t think that worked very well either.

I used to think that the above would be hard to believe for the homosexual culture. But after meeting Kimberly, I now have more hope. I hope this helps.