Can a divorced, mentally-disabled person receive Communion?

My mentally handicapped brother has just finalized his divorce. He will most likely never get married again due to his inability to care for himself. (My parents consider his marriage to be a firm proof of this.) He will likely go into a group home at some point. My understanding is that he would not be barred from Communion unless he re-married outside the Church (which is highly unlikely). Is that correct?

He is also now dating a more severely handicapped woman (when my parents take him – he cannot drive). Does this pose any problem for him regarding Communion? Also, is it necessary to go thru the annulment process when remarriage will not occur?

On the question of whether a divorced person can receive Communion: Yes, so long as that person is not involved in an extra-marital relationship or attempts to remarry without an annulment from the Church and otherwise remains in a state of grace. A divorced person is not obligated to seek an annulment; an annulment is only necessary if the person wants to remarry or enter religious life.

Now, in the special circumstances of your brother: Depending on the severity of his mental disability, he may not be culpable at all for the divorce and may certainly receive Communion, so long as he is otherwise in a state of grace. Those with severe mental disabilities may well be incapable of personal mortal sin because they do not have the requisite knowledge and capability to consent needed for a mortal sin to be committed.

That said, while your brother may not be morally responsible for his extra-marital relationship, your parents should not be facilitating it by making it possible for him to date. They should gently explain to him, in as simple and loving a manner possible, that they cannot drive him to meet his friend because he is not free to marry her.

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