EWTN Catholic Q&A
1 Corinthians 5: 9-13
Question from Anon on 12-13-2012:

Fr. John

Please explain this scripture passage to me. I would have to avoid most of my family to obey this. Example: More than half of the marriages in my family would not be recognized by the Church. A few years ago, I told one of my sisters that I would not attend anymore invalid marriages. A year ago, my nephew got married "in the mountains". My family did not attend. I felt terrible not going, but would have felt worse if I had gone. My sister said there was no mention of God in the ceremony. Many of my in-laws, siblings, ect... have left the Church. Many cannot plead ignorance. Now that I have 6 granchildren, I'm very concerned about the bad example and scandal they witness. I go to very few get togethers because of this. When I read this scripture passage, I feel justified in my decision, but not sure. My family speaks very critical about MANY of the Churches teachings. (Most of them voted for Obama) I am not shy about defending the Faith, but it's become a waste of time. Please advise. Thank you and God bless you.

Answer by Fr. John Echert on 01-15-2013:

The text you ask about is as follows:

I wrote to you in an epistle, not to keep company with fornicators. [10] I mean not with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or the extortioners, or the servers of idols; otherwise you must needs go out of this world.

[11] But now I have written to you, not to keep company, if any man that is named a brother, be a fornicator, or covetous, or a server of idols, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner: with such a one, not so much as to eat. [12] For what have I to do to judge them that are without? Do not you judge them that are within? [13] For them that are without, God will judge. Put away the evil one from among yourselves.

You have done right by not attending invalid sacraments. I recommend the same for parishioners who ask me and would do the same within my own family, should the occasion arise. At the same time, you can in good conscience attend family gatherings, if nothing immoral or contrary to Church practice is not occuring at the event. At the same time, you are not obliged to participation in these, especially if there is open attack upon the Church, true religion or morality. You are a suffering witness to the truth and we can only hope and pray that your family members who have given themselves over to the secular world and its prince will come to senses and grace.

God bless...

Father Echert