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“I know we made the right decision, but I would not want to be put in the same position again.” For their part, Mike Splonskowski and his wife, Karen, from Lake Park, Minn., taught their 13 children that getting married to another Catholic in the Church increases the chance of marital success by receiving all possible graces.

Thus far, all 10 of their married children have followed that advice.

On the one hand, one certainly wants to avoid cooperation in evil and scandal.

“By attending these marriages, you don’t want to give the impression that you approve of their not following the canonical form of marriage,” he said.

“In some cases, we did not attend the service but went to the reception to show respect that the couple did not just ‘shack up.’” For the times Splonskowski chooses not to attend, he said he lets the couple know why, adding that he and Karen still love them and want to stay in contact.

“There has been times it may have strained the relationship if we had not showed up,” Splonskowski said.“Every situation will call upon our reserves of prayer, discernment and evaluation,” he said.“And a good confession before making any decision is always a good idea.” According to him, maintaining peace within families is very important, but there is also the question of motive: “Are they trying to put me in an uncomfortable position to prove their point?Nine years ago, John Anthony (not his real name) of Davies, Fla., said that when his sister married outside of the Church, he attended with his family, but declined to have his children participate in the ceremony.“The whole thing was very awkward, and I’m sure my parents, as well as others, looked at us as judgmental and un-Christian,” he said.

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