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Gina Lederer wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am Catholic and I raised my kids Catholic but did not have the money to get married at the church. That said:

  • Am I still a Catholic or am I going to Hell?

I do have money now so my current child is going to have a wedding in the Church.

At the church she told me I was living in sin and that I should not be receiving Holy Communion. Wow, please let me know. I can't think God would hate me because I didn't have money.

Gina

  { Because I didn't have enough money to get married in the Church, am I still a Catholic plus? }

Mike replied:

Hi Gina,

Thanks for the question.

  • Yes, you are still a Catholic, and
  • Yes, you may still get married in the Church, assuming neither you nor your husband had been previously married.

If either of you were, the Church would have to see whether either of you had entered into a previously valid marriage so you may have to petition for an annulment. Your pastor can help you.

While what you were told about receiving Holy Communion was correct, no one is culpable for something they were not aware of, so don't worry about it. Talk to your pastor and, assuming your husband is willing to go along, ask to have your marriage convalidated in the Church. The pastor or priest will be able to guide you appropriately. Once this is done, you will be able to receive Holy Communion at Mass with a clean conscience.

God does not hate anyone; He loves everyone. He only hates sin because of how it hurts us, the ones He loves so much. He also understands our inclination to evil due to the remnants of our Baptism. Going to the Sacrament of Confession on a regular basis is the best way to keep any inclination to evil in check.

You said:

  • Am I still a Catholic or am I going to Hell?

St. Teresa of Avila tells us: There is no love in Hell. so if there is a continuing love for God in your heart, you can have a moral certainty, as opposed to an absolute certainty, you won't go to Hell.

Nevertheless, as Catholic Christians we have to strive to persevere to the end and this can be tough especially in this anti-Christian, sex-saturated culture.

I hope this helps,

Mike

Eric replied:

Dear Gina —

Of course God is not going to hate you because you didn't have money!

God loves the poor more than anyone else. The right thing to do in this situation is to sit down with your pastor and work out a solution. You don't need to have a big wedding — all you need is two witnesses and a priest or deacon. I'm sure if you find a compassionate priest, he'll even waive his stipend. You can have a big wedding when you can afford it. If you seek them out and are open to them, there are solutions to this problem.

You should contact a priest and get your marriage blessed (convalidated) now, and then you'll be in a regular situation. It shouldn't cost a lot of money, if anything, especially if you explain the situation to the priest.

Eric

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