I may be Catholic, but many of my associates from work and college are not. Nonetheless, they still get married, believe it or not. And as such, I get invited to these weddings.
It’s not what I am used to, of course. There is something to be said for the Catholic rite, which eliminates a ton (though not all) of the stupidity you find in much modern wedding ceremonies. So really, I am unaccustomed to non-Catholic weddings, and even less so to weddings that don’t mention God at all.
That was the case here; he’s an atheist and she (the coworker) more or less sorta is. On many important issues, we disagree. But we acknowledge the goodwill of the other; Pope Francis would, I hope, be proud.
So it was and is still an honor to attend their wedding. But I knew it would be little like any wedding I have been to.
For example, the readings for the outdoor wedding (at a public park, near a disc golf course) were from Carl Sagan. And Pablo Neruda. And e. e. cummings. And the 2003 Massachusetts court decision that allowed gay marriage. (There were two gay couples, I think, among the bridal party.) They wrote their own vows, which was, pleasantly, not a disastrous thing. The groom was weeping throughout much of it. They had some sort of handbinding ceremony. And then it was basically done.
Now, is this how I would do my wedding? Uh, no. Not a bit. But it serves as a reminder of the importance of remembering the humanity of, well, everyone, regardless of their decisions, lifestyle, etc. If there’s anything we’ve seen at the synod meetings, it has been that concept at play. Their lifestyle and mine are quite different. On many things, we are certain the other is wrong. But we meet each other where they are, and grace flows from that.
Incidentally, I asked God to bless their marriage anyway, even though they have no belief in Him. I figured, much like the atheist who asked the pope for a blessing for his family, they wouldn’t mind.