I'm going to write about a few people I know here, and I know that they read my blog. I don't want to sound self-righteous or as though I'm saying that they did the wrong thing. So, I'm going to start with my conclusion. It is, as follows:
I'm glad that I was never put in their position because it would be too hard for me to figure out what the right thing to do was, and I'd feel conflicted about my decision no matter which one I went with.
With that said, let me get to what I'm even talking about.
I was lucky when I married my wife that she is not a religious person. She refers to herself as agnostic, although she leans a bit more atheist sometimes, but at the time she leaned more toward being a believer in some sort of higher power. The point is, we didn't have any problem deciding that we wanted a decidedly non-religious marriage ceremony. We had a guy from the Unitarian church marry us, and after talking to the guy, I'd probably best describe him as being somewhat of a deist. I could live with that, and even though he mentioned something about "the blessings of the Holy One" at the end of the ceremony, I didn't have a problem with it. There were no Bible verses or references to Da Jeebus. "The Holy One" is so vague that it could mean anything, so there was no problem.
So I was lucky. I had a friend who got married in a Catholic Church because his wife was a Catholic. I know somebody else who got their baby baptized in the Catholic Church because the grandparents wanted it. One other friend became a godfather to his nephew. (I should point out that none of these people are religious at all.) I sometimes put myself in their shoes, and depending on which way the wind is blowing, I have one of two reactions:
1. I do not compromise. I view the Catholic Church as a largely evil institution. No, I don't view all Catholics as being mostly evil, but the institution itself is evil. This could be a blog post in itself, but do I have to go any further than mention not only all the child molestations but the subsequent coverups? Imagine if the same thing happened in the public school system! Anyway, in this scenario I say to my would-be wife: "I cannot take part in anything that goes so firmly against my principles. I will have nothing to do with that institution, and for you to ask me to do it is for you to have absolutely no respect for me."
2. I compromise. While I may have a problem with the institution itself, I don't have a problem with traditions and rituals (so long as they're not something harmful like snake-handling). My wife and her family are not engaged in any of the evil aspects of the Catholic Church. For them it's about tradition. Also, the very nature of marriage involves compromise, and so long as nobody's asking me to believe certain things, I can go along with it. Besides, do I want to throw away my entire relationship based on just this one issue?
In all honesty, the first scenario plays out far more often in my head. Lucky for me, I never had to deal with this scenario. If I did, I'd have to play the non-compromise angle out to its inevitable, and potentially disastrous conclusion. Still, if I went ahead and compromised, I'm sure that would stick in the back of my brain for the rest of my life, and I'd always feel some degree of resentment.
What's the right choice? I don't know. Again, I'll give my conclusion: I'm glad that I never had to actually make this choice. It would have been a real Scylla and Charybdis moment for me.
Oh, and if you'd like to hear some good arguments as to why the Catholic Church is evil, check out this debate. It's a bit long, but it's definitely worth it: