Article: "The Peril of False Mercy": Communion of Those Divorced and Invalidly Remarried




Nice! I liked it.


Excellent article! Thanks for posting it.


Great analogy–thanks for sharing this!


Is the person whose divorced spouse committed adultery not allowed Communion? Does the Church make allowances for this person as scripture teaches that divorce is allowed if one of the persons commits adultery?

Curious…Thanks, Rita


Divorce does not necessarily bar one from receiving the Eucharist. The primary reason someone who is divorced and not remarried would be barred is if they abandoned their spouse.

The real issue is around those who divorce and “remarry” without an annulment. If they have a presumably valid sacramental marriage then nothing short of death can disolve that marriage. Catholics do not hold that Christ allowed for a marriage to be dissolved for reasons of adultery. So if a wife were to divorce her husband for an act of adultery and then attempt to marry another while her first husband still lived, then both parties would be considered as adulterers. For more information see the article titled Did Jesus Allow Divorce.


Divorce per se is not a sin and does not prevent a divorced person from receiving Communion provided the divorced person has not remarried without an annulment or has not become involved romantically with anyone.


I wonder if this applies to mortal sins as well. I have a friend who is sexually active with her boyfriend, and I know she hasn’t been to confession since she was a child. Should I discourage her from receiving the Eucharist?


I don’t think YOU should. But she should know what the Church teaches and why. It is very dangerous to your soul to receive unworthily. It is profane.


The peanut allergy analogy shows the dangerous side of receiving communion unworthily, although it is a very limited analogy, the differences being greater than the similarities. The bishops who engage in the serious discussion of this issue in the fall will understand this as one of the boundaries, I have no doubt. They will also have to consider a great deal more than this one point.


Pray to be able to explain that she needs to get to confession. The Lord does want us to correct others when they are in obvious need of correction.

Only the Lord knows if she is being defiant or ignorant/very poorly catechized. She needs to know the truth of what the Church teaches us and what you described is grave matter (mortal sins). She needs to be encouraged to follow the Lord according to His way.

I will pray for you and her.


But if I or another faithful Catholic doesn’t tell her, how will she know? It’s not like she’s reading the catechism or hanging out on CA forums.



And, Lord, help us all to have the courage to correct others in Your peace and love, and to be at peace no matter how they react.


That would be fornication, having sex outside of marriage. If you read the Catechism you will see that Catholics who are in a state of Mortal sin are not to present themselves for Holy Communion.


Yes, I know. That’s why I’m asking if I should discourage her from receiving the Eucharist


That’s the difficult part. A lot of things go into that decision. If you are close enough with the person that they will take it in a spirit of charity. Even getting good advice from someone not close enough could cause them to take a “mind your own business” attitude. Evan when it’s someone close, like my children or brothers and sisters, they don’t take it well. You will have to assess your relationship with the person and decide if it will make things better or not.


When a person corrects another, in the peace of the Lord, it is a good thing. A good seed will have been planted by the correction, even if the person becomes upset. (Of course, always pray before correcting someone.)


This is what we are called by our Catechism to do whenever sin is witnessed…

We are our brothers keeper… we are not to judge eternal life… we are called to judge sins and correct them…

1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them: (1736)

—by participating directly and voluntarily in them;

—by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;

—by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;

—by protecting evil-doers.

1869 Thus sin makes men accomplices of one another and causes concupiscence, violence, and injustice to reign among them. Sins give rise to social situations and institutions that are contrary to the divine goodness. “Structures of sin” are the expression and effect of personal sins. They lead their victims to do evil in their turn. In an analogous sense, they constitute a “social sin.”144 (408, 1887)

Filing for Divorce is a "grave Offense in and of itself… their is an innocent party who can receive the Eucharist immediately. If you file outside ot the instructions from Canon Law and the Catechism you are sinning… offending God, who say let no MAN… you are telling God you know better than Him… sorry folks you are… In the Catholic Code of Canon Law, a spouse does not have the right, nor does a priest have the authority to give anyone permission to permanently separate. Only the Bishop has that authority (canon 1153).


Canon 1151 Spouses have the obligation and the right to maintain their common conjugal life, unless a lawful reason excuses them.

Canon 1153.1 A spouse who occasions grave danger of soul or body to the other or to the children, or otherwise makes the common life unduly difficult, provides the other spouse with a reason to leave, either by a decree of the local Ordinary or, if there is danger in delay, even on his or her own authority.

Canon 1153.2** In all cases**, when the reason for separation ceases, the common conjugal life is to be restored, unless otherwise provided by ecclesiastical authority.

Canon 1692.1 Unless lawfully provided otherwise in particular places, the personal separation of baptised spouses can be decided by a decree of the diocesan Bishop, or by the judgement of a judge in accordance with the following canons.

Canon 1692.2 Where the ecclesiastical decision does not produce civil effects, or if it is foreseen that there will be a civil judgement not contrary to the divine law, **the Bishop of the diocese in which the spouses are living can, in the light of their particular circumstances, give them permission to approach the civil courts.**

These are violated all the time, placing the violator in danger of mortal sin. If you file for divorce for irreconcilable differences you are sinning… if you are happy you filed… well, are you absolved, even if a Priest says you are? God knows the Heart… If you are not repenting you are lying to the Priest during the act of contrition. If you are truly sorry then you need to reconcile… to refuse is in violation of Canon Law… you are telling God you know better than the church. Of course priest and others speaking on Divorce always include an escape clause so they don’t have to tell the above… they say… “if the person is otherwise in a proper state of grace”… if you filed without Bishop approval and refuse to reconcile… you are committing a Grave Offense, willfully… HUge danger of Mortal sin.

I wonder how many marriage we would save by telling the truth with love to those couples struggling rather than being Pastoral and just “praying” for them. Tough teaching… many left. Doesn’t change the truth. Priest is mentioned explicitly as not being able to change this… Now you know… and if you receive you can no longer plead ignorance… sorry. oh and if you don’t tell friends who are receiving unworthily… see the start of this post…


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