Communion and remarriage


#1

I have a friend who is non-practicing Catholic and divorced. He received an annulment. He recently remarried a Protestant who is also divorced and did not receive an annulment since she is Protestant. They did not get married in the Catholic church but were married in a civil ceremony. If he were to start attending mass or go to a wedding, can he receive communion? If not, why?


#2

Too many specifics missing to make a definate answer, but the most likely one is "no" for the following reasons.

1) Does being a "non-practicing" Catholic mean he doesn't go to Mass? If that's the case, unless he goes to Confession shortly before going to Communion, he wouldn't be properly disposed.

2) Attempting a marriage outside the Church without dispensation is grave matter. Unless he goes to Confession shortly before going to Communion, he wouldn't be properly disposed.

3) One does not need to be Catholic to submit a marriage to the tribunal for a determination of nullity. If his intended was not free to marry, he has been living with her outside of marriage. Unless he goes to Confession shortly before going to Communion, he wouldn't be properly disposed.

All of the above references to Confession assume an intent to reform the situation and that absolution is granted. :)


#3

Given the first marriage attempt has been recognized by the church as a nonmarriage (annulment), he would need to workout having the church acknowledge his current marriage and go to confession. Maybe he has already done that?


#4

[quote="noclevername, post:1, topic:207614"]
I have a friend who is non-practicing Catholic and divorced. He received an annulment. He recently remarried a Protestant who is also divorced and did not receive an annulment since she is Protestant. They did not get married in the Catholic church but were married in a civil ceremony. If he were to start attending mass or go to a wedding, can he receive communion? If not, why?

[/quote]

Assuming the above is correct (which is a pretty big caveat), the protestant would not have been free to marry the Catholic (because she was previously married and has not received an annulment) and thus the marriage to the Catholic is invalid . Also, if the Catholic did not have the proper dispensation to be married outside the Church, the marriage suffers from defect of form and is invalid.

Should a person in an invalid wedding receive communion? I would advise him to talk to a priest. He needs to have his wife's first marriage investigated.


#5

I guess I don't understand why the Prostestant needs a Catholic annulment. She is not planning to convert to Cathololism. And their marriage is legal.

And no, he is not practicing but even when he was he says he never went to confession. The parrish he attended said it wasn't required.


#6

[quote="noclevername, post:5, topic:207614"]
I guess I don't understand why the Prostestant needs a Catholic annulment. She is not planning to convert to Cathololism. And their marriage is legal.

[/quote]

The Catholic Church does not believe that government has the ability to end a marriage.

Matthew 19 (NAB): usccb.org/nab/bible/matthew/matthew19.htm

3
Some Pharisees approached him, and tested him, saying, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?"
4
He said in reply, "Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female'
5
and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'?
6
So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate."
7
They said to him, "Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss (her)?"
8
He said to them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.
9
I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery."

So even though the woman is protestant, and did what was acceptable to her beliefs and to civil government, God's Divine Law does not agree. Unless the original marriage was not valid (and an annulment is granted) the second marriage to the Catholic is not valid.

Some rules are "Catholic rules" that only apply to Catholics (like the form of marriage in Canon Law). Non-Catholics do not have to abide by those. Other rules are "Divine Law" that everyone must abide by. This falls into the second group.

Also, a tribunal will investigate her marriage even though she is not Catholic.

And no, he is not practicing but even when he was he says he never went to confession. The parrish he attended said it wasn't required.

It's not required to go to confession as long as you don't commit a mortal sin. It's also not required if you don't care about your eternal soul.


#7

[quote="noclevername, post:5, topic:207614"]
I guess I don't understand why the Prostestant needs a Catholic annulment. She is not planning to convert to Cathololism. And their marriage is legal.

And no, he is not practicing but even when he was he says he never went to confession. The parrish he attended said it wasn't required.

[/quote]

The Catholic Church does not hold exclusive rights to the Sixth Commandment. It applies to everyone. The Catholic Church must ensure that anyone marrying a Catholic is free to marry. The fact that she is not Catholic is irrelevant. She is assumed to be married to her first husband until/unless the Tribunal proves otherwise.

I was previously engaged to a Protestant man. He had no intention of converting, but we agreed to marry in the Catholic Church. He had been married previously and so had to have his marriage investigated to ensure it was not valid (it was not, his ex had been married before him and so her marriage to him was not valid). Fortunately for me this union never happened. But the Church wanted to make sure that I was entering into a valid marriage and so required the investigation of his previous union.

They need to get right with God and have this situation sorted out. He is living in a state of mortal sin and needs to get this fixed for the good of his soul, and hers.

~Liza


#8

They were told by a person in the Catholic clergy that their marriage is recognized by the Catholic Church. But they could not be blessed by the Catholic church because she isn't annulled but that they are still seen as being validly married by the Church and they are not living in sin.

However, they forgot to ask about communion and that's why i asked on this forum. I was curious about it.


#9

[quote="noclevername, post:8, topic:207614"]
They were told by a person in the Catholic clergy that their marriage is recognized by the Catholic Church. But they could not be blessed by the Catholic church because she isn't annulled but that they are still seen as being validly married by the Church and they are not living in sin.

However, they forgot to ask about communion and that's why i asked on this forum. I was curious about it.

[/quote]

It seems your friends were either misinformed or misunderstood what they were told. It is impossible for the Church to recognize their marriage but not be able to "bless" it. The "blessing" is called convalidation and is what makes the marriage valid if it was not originally performed in the Church. If the Church won't bless the marriage, it isn't valid.

And no, he is not practicing **but even when he was he says **he never went to confession. The parrish he attended said it wasn't required.

Regardless of his marriage issues, this alone would make him fall out of the realm of those properly disposed to receive Communion.


#10

[quote="noclevername, post:8, topic:207614"]
They were told by a person in the Catholic clergy that their marriage is recognized by the Catholic Church. But they could not be blessed by the Catholic church because she isn't annulled but that they are still seen as being validly married by the Church and they are not living in sin.

However, they forgot to ask about communion and that's why i asked on this forum. I was curious about it.

[/quote]

Either:

1) What you told us in the original post is not the full truth
2) What the clergy member was told was not the full truth
3) The clergy member was wrong in his assessment
4) The friend is not giving you the full story
5) There's some extenuating circumstance (like the protestant's first spouse was deceased) AND the Catholic had a dispensation for the wedding

You can even forget about the annulment issue for a second: if he was Catholic at the time of his wedding, and he was not married in a Catholic Church, did not have a dispensation, and did not have the marriage convalidated, then he is not validly married.

I won't tell people who should and who shouldn't present themselves for communion (it's not really my place), but others in invalid marriages have been told to not do so until they've had their marriage convalidated.


#11

Nope, everything I wrote is the truth and covers everything. I know this for a fact because it’s actually my husband and me. I am Methodist and he is Catholic. And I have spoken the adult education leader in his church who is very informed about the Catholic Church. She has to be because she teaches it. She says our marriage is legal and valid and we are NOT living in sin as many of you on this forum seem to believe. She is not misinformed either. She did say we could not get married in the Catholic church because i am not annulled but that our marriage is still valid and as I have already said, we are not sinning. I do not intend to join the Catholic church and honestly I think it’s a little conceited that so many of you believe that our marriage is not real and not valid. Just because it hasn’t been blessed by the Catholic church doesn’t mean we are sinning. In my church, there is absolutely no problem. ALso, in my church everyone is welcome to the communion table regardless of religion or current life events.

The reason I posted is because I was curious about communion. We are going to a wedding and I was just wondering if my husband could take communion. He is not planning to but I was wondering if he could. I hate to be mean and I really do have a lot of respect for the Catholic Church but when reading this forum I can see why he has pulled away from the church. I think a lot of you are extremists and are interpreting some things incorrectly.

atthew 19 (NAB): usccb.org/nab/bible/matthew/matthew19.htm

3
Some Pharisees approached him, and tested him, saying, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?"
4
He said in reply, "Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female’
5
and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
6
So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate."
7
They said to him, "Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss (her)?"
8
He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.
9
I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.”

No where in this passage does it say that a Protestant has to have her/his marriage annulled by a Catholic tribunal. Actually, if you read it and take it literally, it says that NO ONE, not even a Catholic tribunal, can grant a divorce. It says that the only way for a divorce to be granted is in cases of adultry. The word “unlawful” that I have highlighted in red is incorrect. The actual word is “unfaithful”. So if you are going to use a verse in the Bible to prove a point, then please make sure it is correct. And it does not say that a tribunal is used to determine the validity. So, again I ask, why does a Protestant have to be annulled by the Catholic tribunal? What if two divorced Protestants want to marry, are they required to go through the Catholic tribunal? No, they don’t. The only reason we would have to get my marriage annulled is if we wanted to be married in the Catholic church but we didn’t and our marriage is as valid as any other marriage.

Again, I was just asking about communion.


#12

There are tons of problems here and I and others will be happy to help you through it all but a lot of this is simply not correct. Whoever is communicating this at any catholic parish is misguided and incorrect. I am going to pick through this in pieces but it may become confusing because the fundamental teachings are clearly not in place. Before we start let me tell you the term “invalid marriage” is an oxymoron and you are correct that Catholics arrogantly throw it around improperly.

So to start:

The Catholic Church teaches spouses marry spouses (it is not the church that marries them)

The Catholic Church confers a sacrament of marriage own the marriage when proper conditions exist

Catholic can either celebrate a marriage under proper conditions or request dispensations for certain variations from proper form.

Simple enough?

Now in the thread you ask specific questions as :
“If he were to start attending mass or go to a wedding, can he receive communion? If not, why?” If it is true his wife committed to a marriage with an earlier man then she is not considered free to marry. So he is not to attempt any marriage with her until that is resolved.

“So, again I ask, why does a Protestant have to be annulled by the Catholic tribunal?” A Protestant only needs a Catholic annulment when the Protestant intends some type of interaction with the Catholic Church. In the specific example you list she prevents her husband from full communion with his church. This would be easy to misunderstand because many autonomist protestants can change their church at will not so for the Catholics no priest, or bishop could grant these blanket waivers of rules.

*** “What if two divorced Protestants want to marry, are they required to go through the Catholic tribunal?”*** Some real opportunity here. Only when they intend some type of interaction with the Catholic Church. But here is the opportunity let say they attempt full communion with the Catholic Church, there annulments are easy because they did not receive the sacrament in proper forum.

It would be a disservice to not explain to you what options you have to help your husband. You can easily have your first marriage attempt annulled and allow your husband a radical sanation however there is one issue which has to be addressed. To properly accept your husband’s past marriage outside the church you and he have to agree to raise the children catholic without such it is a deal breaker because every catholic is required to properly bring their children to god.

If you have any question please ask, I hope this helps


#13

Additional FYI's

The canon laws can be found here vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_INDEX.HTM

The specific marriage section is at: vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P3V.HTM

for example :
***CHAPTER III.

SPECIFIC DIRIMENT IMPEDIMENTS..........................

Can. 1085 §1. A person bound by the bond of a prior marriage, even if it was not consummated, invalidly attempts marriage.

§2. Even if the prior marriage is invalid or dissolved for any reason, it is not on that account permitted to contract another before the nullity or dissolution of the prior marriage is established legitimately and certainly.***


#14

First of all, the comparisons to Pharasees is not valid. And of course the Scripture passage doesn't give instructions for Protestants, they weren't invented yet. :)

[quote="noclevername, post:11, topic:207614"]
Nope, everything I wrote is the truth and covers everything. I know this for a fact because it's actually my husband and me. I am Methodist and he is Catholic. And I have spoken the adult education leader in his church who is very informed about the Catholic Church. She has to be because she teaches it.

[/quote]

[quote="noclevername, post:8, topic:207614"]
They were told by a person **in the Catholic clergy **that their marriage is recognized by the Catholic Church. But they could not be blessed by the Catholic church because she isn't annulled but that they are still seen as being validly married by the Church and they are not living in sin.

However, they forgot to ask about communion and that's why i asked on this forum. I was curious about it.

[/quote]

I hope you are not considering a religious education teacher as a member of the Catholic clergy. Clergy would be a priest or deacon at the parish. An adult education leader is unlikely to be an expert in canon law and is not in a position to determine the validity of your marriage.

I think a lot of you are extremists and are interpreting some things incorrectly.

A lot of us thought you were trying to find out actual Church teaching and shared that information with you. I understand that it wasn't what you were hoping to hear but the information is not extreme.


#15

Let me start off by saying three things:

First, no one wants you or your husband to be in an invalid marriage. No one “wins” if your marriage is valid or not. In fact, you could say that we, as the Church, lose. Ideally, everyone would be in happy, healthy, valid marriages. And it’s incumbent upon all of us to be as forthcoming and honest about marriage validity.

Second, no one here is qualified to make an internet diagnosis of your marriage. To determine if it’s valid or not, you need to sit down with a priest (not a RCIA coordinator) to discuss the issue. All we can do is give opinions based on what you’ve posted.

Third, no one here should be giving you advice on whether or not your husband should receive communion. There simply is not enough of an ability to ask/answer questions on line. Your husband needs a face-to-face meeting with his pastor.

If the above is true , your marriage is not valid. There are some loop holes (i.e. if your husband formally defected via letter to the bishop, married, then rejoined the Church) but in general, the situation you described is an invalid marriage because the non-Catholic was not free to marry.You can disagree all you want, but Canon Law is very clear on the issue.

I do not intend to join the Catholic church and honestly I think it’s a little conceited that so many of you believe that our marriage is not real and not valid.

You do not have to join the Church. I’m married to a protestant who has no intention to join the Church.

To echo my point above, it’s not that anyone is being conceited - the information you gave clearly points to an invalid marriage. Maybe there’s something missing (like the protestant’s first husband is deceased) but as written, the marriage appears to be invalid.

Just because it hasn’t been blessed by the Catholic church doesn’t mean we are sinning.

If the marriage is invalid, it would be a sin (adultery) to have marital relations until the marriage is valid.

ALso, in my church everyone is welcome to the communion table regardless of religion or current life events.

In the Catholic Church, taking communion is a confession that you believe in all of the teachings of the Catholic Church. If you disagree with the Catholic Church on some teachings, which I assume you do, you should not want to take communion in a Catholic Church. Some protestants, including Methodists, do not believe in transubstantiation. As a result, all are welcome to communion since it is only a figurative representation.

…I can see why he has pulled away from the church. I think a lot of you are extremists and are interpreting some things incorrectly.

The validity of marriage is not something open for interpretation. I’m one of the more “liberal” Catholics (from the standpoint of Church law), and I can’t even find a way to justify what you’re claiming.

No where in this passage does it say that a Protestant has to have her/his marriage annulled by a Catholic tribunal. Actually, if you read it and take it literally, it says that NO ONE, not even a Catholic tribunal, can grant a divorce.

A Catholic tribunal does not grant a divorce. It investigates a marriage to determine if it was originally valid (all of the necessary items must be met - intent for a life long commitment, openness to children, not lying about one’s identity, and many others). If all of the necessary prerequisites are met, the marriage is valid and an annulment is not granted. If one prerequisite is not met (for example, one person did not intend a life-long marriage from the start) then the marriage is determined to have been invalid.

If your first marriage was invalid, you are not free to marry again. If your first marriage was valid, you are not free to marry again. All marriages are assumed valid until proven invalid.

(that’s a lot of information into a few short sentences - phew).

The actual word is “unfaithful”. So if you are going to use a verse in the Bible to prove a point, then please make sure it is correct.

I quoted the NAB verse for verse. If you want to compare the various translations, you get “fornication”, “whoredom”, “immorality”, and “adultery” etc. The greek that is actually used is πορνείᾳ which translates more strictly to (and I ran this by a Greek, but please advise if you’re more in-tune with Biblical translation) “immorality”.

So, again I ask, why does a Protestant have to be annulled by the Catholic tribunal?

A Catholic tribunal will determine if you were free to marry the second time. While I deeply respect Methodists and Anglicans, you have to admit, their founding does not really bode well for their ability to determine marriage validity.

What if two divorced Protestants want to marry, are they required to go through the Catholic tribunal? No, they don’t.

If they want their marriage to be valid in the Catholic Church they do. But most protestants don’t care what the Catholic Church thinks unless they want to convert (under which case, they have their marriages investigated by a tribunal).

The only reason we would have to get my marriage annulled is if we wanted to be married in the Catholic church but we didn’t and our marriage is as valid as any other marriage

Based on what you posted, it’s actually not.


#16

Whatever!! This marriage is valid, we are not sinning and all of you are wrong!!! You are just echoing what you have read on this forum and can't think for yourselves.


#17

Can a Catholic who wants to marry a divorced non-Catholic do so?

Not unless the non-Catholic has received an annulment. The Church recognises the marriages of non-Catholics as binding marriages in every sense. If the marriage of two non-Catholics breaks down neither is free to marry again in the eyes of the Church unless an annulment has been granted by the Catholic Tribunal. This is true even if the two non-Catholics had been married only in a Register Office.

dioceseofshrewsbury.org/page.asp?categoryid=84

The Catholic Church respects as valid the marriages of persons who are not Catholic. If a divorced person who is not Catholic wants to marry a Catholic, our Church requires proof that the prior marriage never had the binding force that Jesus taught.

dioceseoftrenton.org/diocese/tribunalfaq.asp

Who might need a declaration of nullity?

Anyone (Catholic, non-Catholic, baptized, or non-baptized) who is divorced, and whose former spouse is still living, may require a declaration of nullity before he or she will be permitted to marry in the Catholic Church.

Those who are currently participating in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) and are divorced and re-married, may also require a declaration of nullity in order that their current marriage may be recognized by the Catholic Church.

It is a fundamental teaching of the Catholic Church that any marriage which contains those elements that the Church considers to be essential for a valid union cannot be ended by anything other than death. When those necessary elements are present, not even divorce can end the unbreakable promise that the spouses have made to each other through their wedding vows.

Because no person can have more than one valid marriage at a time, before anyone is permitted to marry in the Catholic Church, his or her freedom to marry must be established. Church law requires that any prior marriage(s) be investigated to determine whether or not the essential elements required for a valid marriage were present at the time that the previous marriage occurred.

dioceseofnashville.com/tribunal2.htm

And that's just the first page on Google. You can believe what you want, but the fact remains that to be a valid marriage in the eyes of the Catholic Church, your husband needs you to obtain an annulment (based on the assumption that your first husband is living). You also need to have a convalidation (assuming there was no dispensation for the marriage in the first place).

As for your question about Communion....

To receive Communion worthily, you must be in a state of grace, have made a good confession since your last mortal sin, believe in transubstantiation, observe the Eucharistic fast, and, finally, not be under an ecclesiastical censure such as excommunication.

...

A mortal sin is any sin whose matter is grave and which has been committed willfully and with knowledge of its seriousness. Grave matter includes, but is not limited to, murder, receiving or participating in an abortion, homosexual acts, having sexual intercourse outside of marriage or in an invalid marriage, and deliberately engaging in impure thoughts (Matt. 5:28–29). Scripture contains lists of mortal sins (for example, 1 Cor. 6:9–10 and Gal. 5:19–21). For further information on what constitutes a mortal sin, see the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

catholic.com/library/Who_Can_Receive_Communion.asp

Notice that has a nihil obstat and imprimatur, so it's not anyone's opinion - it's an actual Church teaching.


#18

[quote="noclevername, post:16, topic:207614"]
Whatever!! This marriage is valid, we are not sinning and all of you are wrong!!! You are just echoing what you have read on this forum and can't think for yourselves.

[/quote]

EVERYONE who has posted to you, including relevant Canon Law and Church documents is wrong? And this person at your parish is right?

We have no stake in whether or not your marriage is valid. We don't know you. BUT, as brothers and sisters in Christ we certainly want your husband to be reconciled with the Church and for you and he to live in a valid, sacramental marriage.

The person you spoke to at your parish is simply wrong. She has nothing to back up her statements. Not one iota of Church teaching or canon law. I am sorry that you and your husband received wrong information.

I hope your husband will follow up with his priest on this situation. He cannot approach communion while in an invalid marriage.

I really don't understand why you are upset about this? You came here to find out the truth and we have given it to you. It seems you don't like the truth for some reason. I find that strange.

Here is a chart that shows the type of nullity investigation needed depending upon whether the parties involved are Catholic, non-Catholic baptized, or non-baptized.

diocs.org/Portals/1/Documents/Tribunal/Decision_matrix.pdf


#19

[quote="noclevername, post:16, topic:207614"]
Whatever!! This marriage is valid, we are not sinning and all of you are wrong!!! You are just echoing what you have read on this forum and can't think for yourselves.

[/quote]

You have a valid civil marriage; you DO NOT have a valid Catholic marriage.

First as far as the Church is concerned you are still married to your previous spouse until it is determined that your first marriage was invalid. You are correct that there is not such thing as divorce in divine law or Catholic law, but an annulment is not a divorce. An annulment says that there was never a valid marriage to begin with. Secondly, your husband as a Catholic is bound by Cannon law and that law says that Catholics marry in the Church to someone that is Free to marry, you are not free to marry, you married outside of the Catholic Church and you did not receive permission from the bishop to marry outside of the church. Those are the reasons why you don't have a Valid Catholic marriage. The so-called teacher at your church is misinformed and someone should speak with the priest about information she is sharing that is not what the Church believes.

Also, getting an attitude with people that are trying to help give you correct information and stomping your feet like a child will not make any of us change our believes about what we know our Church and God teaches. I understand that you are not Catholic and your beliefs are different, and we respect that, but you must give us the same respect.


#20

[quote="1ke, post:18, topic:207614"]
I hope your husband will follow up with his priest on this situation. He cannot approach communion while in an invalid marriage.

[/quote]

I really don't know what to do. She came on here and asked for an answer, we gave it, and she's disputing the answer because it's not the one she wanted. Normally, I'd just say it's on her, but the problem is that her husband's soul is at stake, and she's probably not going to pass on the correct information.

I'm incredibly saddened by this situation and wish there was more that could be done :(


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.