Can you still take Communion if your marriage is not validated by the Church?

I was wondering if when a person is married by a Justice of the Peace but they want to become a Catholic years later, what do they do if for some reason it isn’t possible for them to get their marriage recognized by the Church?

For example, what if the other spouse refuses or what if the other spouse is living in open rebellion to God and the spouse who wants to become a Catholic doesn’t even want the Church to validate a marriage in such a case?

A person who isn’t Catholic isn’t required to be married according to Catholic rules. As far as I know, if non-Catholics are married by a justice of the peace it is valid assuming it is the first marriage for both parties.

Double check with a priest or canon lawyer, but I don’t think you would have to do anything with your marriage if you were to become Catholic.

P.S. Please consider getting rid of the pink font. Boy is that ever hard to read!

Sorry about the pink. What if you were baptized Catholic as an infant but raised Protestant and now want to enter the Catholic Church? The other spouse was not baptized Catholic.

If you were baptized Catholic then you are bound by Catholic marriage laws including being married in the Catholic church or getting a dispensation to be married elsewhere.

Am I correct that your spouse doesn’t want to have your marriage convalidated (“blessed”) in the church? If so there’s another possibility called a radical sanation. Start by talking with your pastor.

Just a note on your subject line: Catholics don’t ‘take’ communion, we ‘recieve’ it.

Why does it matter? Because ‘receive’ reflects that Eucharist is a gift given by God. We don’t deserve it, we haven’t earned it, we have no right to it, so we’d better not ‘take’ it.

Think about the difference between these sentences:
“I received a diamond ring from my mother.”
“I took a diamond ring from my mother.”


The title of this thread was about Communion, but this question was not asked in the post. No Catholic may receive Communion if they are living in a marriage which is not valid according to Church law.

If a marriage is not valid, the only way a Catholic may receive Holy Communion is if they are in Communion with Church teaching (a practicing Catholic with no unconfessed mortal sins) and are living as brother and sister.


OP does not give enough info. The person seeking to enter the Catholic church would have to discuss all aspects of their marriage situation with the priest who will guide them. The answer will not be the same for everyone because there are too many variables.
Was either party baptized Catholic?
Was either party married before?
Were they otherwise free to marry?
and so forth. In the case of previous marriages, you are also talking about the circumstances of the exes.

Two non-Catholics who are otherwise free to marry are considered validly married no matter who witnessed the marriage or where. (A civil divorce does not end a valid marriage.) If either of those people wishes to become Catholic nothing has to be done to “convalidate” since it is already valid. If both are baptized the marriage is also sacramental. If one is unbaptized, and enters the Church, the marriage becomes sacramental as soon as they are baptized, but has been valid from its inception if conditions for valid marriage were present at the time of the contract: knowledge, capacity, intent and consent.

Just a note on your response: I think in this context “take” is a regional speech pattern. In my neck of the woods someone might ask if you “take the Sunday paper.” Doesn’t mean that you’re being accused of stealing the paper, it’s just a back-handed way of asking if you receive it, subscribe to it, etc. I don’t think every figure of speech necessarily should be subject to the kind of theological dissection and catechetical analysis some here are so fond of, especially when that substitutes for a direct answer to a poster’s original question.

Its really not a matter of Marriage. It is a matter of adultery.

THe main reason why people cannot recieve communion in most cases regarding “marital status” is they are living in an adulterous (or precieved adulterous) state. Ie divorce and re-marriage without an anulment.

Thanks everybody for your answers.

I wanted to clarify something. I meant no offense by the word “take” in reference to Communion. I was raised as a Protestant and that is how I became accustomed to phrasing it that way. I have great respect for the Eucharist,the Catholic Church, and why things are done the way they are. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t be seeking out the answer and trying to do things the right way

I find it great that you are seeking answers. If you were brought up a protestant let me say that converts often make the best Catholics. We need more of your type.

God Bless.

If the people are not Catholic to begin with the Marriage most likely does not need to be “validated”. As long as it is a valid Marriage and both were free to Marry to begin with, and capable of Marriage, etc.

Yes, your response was much more on target. Thank you for the warm christian tone of your response. I’m really moved.

me and my husbend got marriend via justic of the peace due to our family’s (being overbaring) not agreeing on us. I am catholic i have been for a long time. my husbend is catholic not practing. i talked to my priest he’s okay with it . in fact he was very happy about it . us getting married. I take commumion every day. well that’s my 2 cents

Well he is wrong. Perhaps he misunderstood you or there are details that cannot be shared here .You should not be “taking” communion. I hope you will also consider going to confession for marrying outside of the church in an invalid marriage. Go see another priest for assistance in this matter.

Your earnest questioning is very clear from you post and I believe was understood by all.You don’t come accross as offensive and I don’t believe anyone was offended. A fellow Christian just gave you some fraternal correction on how it should be phrased.That was all. It’s kind of important from a theological standpoint to use correct terminology.

These marriage matters can be disconcerting. It’s always good to go in to see a priest so all the details can be discussed. My two cents is that since you did not leave the church by a formal act you do need to have the marriage convalidated.

okay maybe i didnt make any sense . my husbend was born catholic his family is however i became catholic a couple years ago after my marrage does that make sense? so I dont understand .

my husbend doesnt take communion also he’s more born agien now and doesnt go to church at all even though he is happy i go. we are planing a renew of our vows due to the fact i belive in it however , I hope this explane’s some of it

Ok. You still may not receive communion because your marriage is outside the church. You need to have a convalidation before you may receive communion or go to reconcilliation. Please make an appointment with your priest. They should have discussed this with you when you went through RCIA and entered the church.

I just went through this!
I was baptized RC, did not receive the other sacraments, became Lutheran, was married to another protestant by a protestant minister several years ago. I decided to come back to the RC church in 2003.
One of the issues was, does my marriage have to be blessed by the church to be valid? The answer was no because we took our vows before God.

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