“Church should take new approach towards question of communion for remarried divorcees"


From the article: Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri is the prelate the Pope nominated Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops. Born in 1940, the Tuscan prelate has four decades of experience as a member of the Vatican diplomatic corps and as of the end of September he has had the task of renewing the Synod institute that will meet twice – in 2014 and 2015 – to discuss the family, after a questionnaire or consultation containing 39 questions on family issues.

Would it be right to deduce then that the issue of the administration of the sacraments to remarried divorcees is open?
“The fact it has been included in the Questionnaire means it is going to be looked at and the intention is to discuss the issue without any taboos, otherwise it would not have been mentioned. This seems obvious to me.”

First, I wasn’t sure this is news so I posted it here, as it pertains to the sacrament of the Eucharist.

What does all this mean? First, this questionaire… is this going to be like when the Pope asked all the bishops of the world about birth control as applied to the pill?

Second, is the necessity for an annullment a discipline or a dogma? What i mean is, *can *this be changed?

Unless I am misunderstanding your question I say this…Moses changed this…remember what Jesus said about that?

An annulment is an annulment. It states a valid marriage never existed AFAIK. Proceed accordingly.

What is true is that one cannot marry if one is not free to marry. One is not free to marry if one has a prior bond. That is doctrine, not discipline. As Christ tells us, someone who is married and subsequently divorces and attempts to marry another commits adultery.

The process used to determine freedom to marry (decree of nullity) is a merciful work of the Church. The Church need not provide such a process to look at a prior bond and determine whether it was valid or not, so no it is not necessary. If the Church stopped this work of mercy, anyone who married and divorced would not be free to marry under any circumstances until their prior spouse died. Period.

If the Church changes anything regarding “communion for remarried divorcees,” I can see the following:

  1. doing a better job of teaching children & adults that you do not have to receive Communion every week and placing more emphasis on when you should refrain from Communion and why.

  2. making sure people know that having to refrain from Communion is not a punishment, but a form of protection.

  3. finding ways to better use technology to streamline the Annulment process (if/when possible).

  4. provide better education and perhaps annulment question hotlines per episcopal conference, provience, or dioceses (per conference might be best).

Personally, I beleive “communion for remarried divorcees” is a bigger issue than it should be because people take Communion every week, even when they should not. Many Catholics are not properly instructed regarding when they can and cannot receive Communion. If more Catholics remained in their seats, then divorcees would not feel unwelcomed.

God Bless.

Good points.

I’m still of the old school that one doesn’t receive communion until after he’s gone to confession.

So all this talk of somehow arranging things so that the divorced and remarried can receive is like wishful thinking on the part of some, and not actually a possible change in what the Church permits?


I would suggest you read this document:


and this document:


and this document:


Thank you 1ke–these are very helpful.

I just want to clarify… I do *not *want this change to occur; I was just wondering what was going on and if i had had an erroneous idea about the subject.

This is exactly the question that is causing me great anxiety :frowning:

Edit: sounds like we think alike

If this would entail a denial of the Catechism, that is starting to tread on dangerous waters

1650 Today there are numerous Catholics in many countries who have recourse to civil divorce and contract new civil unions. In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ — “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery”160—the Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God’s law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists. For the same reason, they cannot exercise certain ecclesial responsibilities. Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence.

Interesting…I was unaware of this. For my own information, is this true of all sacraments? In other words, is a decree of nullity for, say, Holy Orders, a merciful work of the Church?

One question I have never understood is how this affects evangelism to those who are remarried. Now, one has to get an annulment to be received into the Church. It would seem that this is the only sin that is not forgivable, even though it is not a subjective mortal sin in this case. After all, if one is not Catholic, then there simple is no knowledge of the moral teaching regarding divorce an remarriage. This is not something like stealing or lying that every with a conscience is aware of. In fact, pretty much every other Christian denomination view the sin of adultery as an event and not a state, as does the Catholic Church pretty much every other sin (one does not live in a state of being a thief, for example).

I personally would be interested in this being investigated more and am glad the Holy Father has taken this on.

pn, I don’t believe this to be true. In the Polish communities, for example, you’ll often find remarried people who wouldn’t miss Sunday Mass and socialize with the priest as well as with other members. I’ll bet this happens a lot within the Hispanic community as well. I don’t want to make accusations but are you sure the others are not just using the no communion thing as an excuse not to go to church at all? It’s not like the Church locks them out. I believe they even offerred them programs like New Beginnings for some time back in the 80’s and 90’s.

Of course it is forgiveable. The problem is that if a person plans to continue in their sin, the sin is not forgiveable. It is not the nature of the sin but the lack of renunciation of the sin.

After all, if one is not Catholic, then there simple is no knowledge of the moral teaching regarding divorce an remarriage. This is not something like stealing or lying that every with a conscience is aware of. In fact, pretty much every other Christian denomination view the sin of adultery as an event and not a state, as does the Catholic Church pretty much every other sin (one does not live in a state of being a thief, for example).

The nature of marriage is available to non-Catholics through the natural law.

I personally would be interested in this being investigated more and am glad the Holy Father has taken this on.

When I say “received into the Church”, I mean formally, as in Baptism (if needed), First Communion and Confirmation.I am not suggesting that they are not welcome at the door.

What the ‘state’ is, is the active process. And it is not unique to adultery. If one is engaged in the regular practice of serious sin of any type, one cannot receive Holy Communion.

To be able to receive Holy Communion, one needs to renounce the sinful practice, receive Absolution and do the prescribed penance.

One could be a hit man for the mafia, or an active embezzler, as long as one is that that practice, that ‘state’, one cannot receive Holy Communion.

It would not be enough to for the person to claim that they are not actively murdering someone at the time, or they are not wireless transferring money while in the communion line. The very role they have taken upon themselves is a sinful state.

If the person left the mob, or quit embezzling because they came to the conclusion that what they were doing was sinful, received absolution, and did penance, then they may receive Holy Communion and receive spiritual benefit. Otherwise, any reception of Holy Communion is actually compounding the sin and doing grave spiritual harm to the person.

pn, I imagine a lot of people are put into a position of remarrying on their own or going with the Church. I know I was. And I’m happy to this day I went through the process of annulment before making any decisions about my future marital state. The annulment process is more than just a formality as it is designed to heal a lot of wounds besides. It’s far from automatic in most cases. If the Church were just to let people go to Communion regardless of whether they had turned away from the Church or not, they wouldn’t be gaining full benefits or meaning of what the Church really has to offer them IMO.

In the case of being a hit man, he could receive absolution with the sincere intention of quitting the job. If he did it again because of some circumstances, he could again receive absolution. How many times? Seventy times seven?

In between, he would be eligible for Holy Communion. This is for something known to be wrong. Many who remarried did so with the honest knowledge that it was a moral act, not an immoral act. So then is the only solution to abandon those who committed an objective mortal sin yet are innocent before God subjectively? Must they always remain outside communion with the Catholic Church proper? This question will have to be addressed in ecumenical dialogue sooner or later.

I think a better example is missing Sunday Mass. One is able to confess that, receive absolution and continue to receive, even if one misses often.

I’m a little confused. Can someone explain what is meant by "remarried divorcees.

To me that means that a person was in a VALID marriage before and if so then no annulment is possible. That being the case receiving Holy Communion is impossible if they legally divorce their first spouse and get remarried.

If someone had a “marriage” annulled then it means there was no valid marriage in the first place so if such a person gets into another relationship and marries it is not remarrying.

My understanding of Church doctrine on this is that the only person who can remarry is someone whose spouse dies thereby breaking the bond of marriage and allowing that person to marry again (remarry) or possibly someone whose marriage was dissolved through non-consummation.

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