Communion ban routinely ignored, Tablet survey finds

One-third of divorced and remarried Catholics who have not had their first marriage annulled receive Communion, even if they have not sought the permission of their priest, a global survey of Catholics conducted by The Tablet has found.

Roughly 25% didn’t ask the priest, but still recieved in good conscience. 10% had asked the priest, and gotten permission. 50% went to mass, but didn’t recieve. 10% avoided mass altogether. (More exact numbers in the article)

This is just a web questionnaire, not really science. Still, it can be noted that the group of divorced and remarried who recieve communion is fairly large.

This shouldn’t surprise anyone.

I always remembered when the Church was chalk full to the rafters during Christmas and Easter. It was pretty clear that virtually every person present approached for and received the Eucharist.

I never could help thinking that those thousands upon thousands of people hadn’t been to confession to reconcile not having been to weekly mass.

I’ve a sister, married at City hall, she receives communion weekly.

My other divorced ( not annulled) remarried brother goes to Church twice a year and receives communion.

“Enforcing” the rules on who may receive communion is not something that the Church has ever done that I can recall, either pre- or post- Vatican II. The rules are known, they are published in the missalette. Self-enforcement is necessary. No one is going to pull anyone out of the communion line. But people do need to inform their consciences correctly.

A question, then a comment.

Does anybody know why the Synod defined the issue as communion for the divorced and remarried?. Isn’t that too narrow a definition, because as I understand it the communion ban applies to all people living as a couple that are not in what the church considers a valid marriage e.g. divorcees living common-law, or young people living together prior to any marriage.

It does appear that there has been inconsistent messages in the past regarding the acceptability of receiving communion after remarriage. While not everybody will listen to the church, it can at least be said that there is more certainty of the church’s position now than there was in the past and fewer people will be going to communion. Some percentage, I would estimate more than half but that’s just my feeling, will also stop going to mass.

I’d say that the divorced and remarried (in a civil union, or another church) have done everything they can to “regularise” their situation. They can’t go any further, without throwing out something very valuable in their life - that may also be very valuable to their children, etc. So the condition, of not being able to recieve communion, is pretty much permanent.

If your “in the past” and “now” means pre- and post-synod, then I think you are mistaken. Now, we know that almost a third of archbishops and other trusted bishops want to see a change. We certainly didn’t know that before. At least I am surprised - I can’t be the only one.

Also, the document now released is not a decision. The synod in a 2015 is the final one, and then it’s really up to the pope what should be the official result. I’d say that the priests who have given divorced and remarried parishoners communion, in either expressed or silence acceptance, but haven’t told their bishop that they do, now can feel they have that support although from elsewhere. If The Tablet does the same survey in a year, my guess is the figures might have changed but in opposite direction from what your guess is.

Actually, anyone not in a state of grace, or conversely–anyone in a state of mortal sin, should not receive communion.

Given the number of people receiving communion each Sunday compared to the number going to confession, I would have to guess that all Catholic have been greatly enhanced in holiness over the past several decades, or they perhaps have lax consciences.

The reason the focus has been on the divorced and remarried is, I think, simply because of the explosion in that population over the past several decades.

Not quite. Death dissolves all marriages so no one dies in that state. I don’t see how hearing one’s confession at one’s deathbed and giving him communion is exactly a cause for scandal.

In the context of evangelisation (which was the title of the synod), however, it might pose some problems. At least that’s how roughly 30% of the synod fathers have reasoned. Or so it seems.

It’s sad but unsurprising. I attended Catholic schools for twelve years and don’t remember ever learning that one not in a state of grace should refrain from receiving. :eek: If Catholic schools aren’t teaching this basic truth, how can we be certain that it’s being taught at all anymore?

I try not to watch how many people receive the Eucharist at Mass and worry about how many might not be in a state of grace, or for what reason they aren’t.

Instead, I only consider whether I am worthy to approach the Lord’s Table.

It’s hard enough to understand what’s in my own heart without being preoccupied with what might be in the hearts of others…God has that covered!

I have said this on another thread but I will mention it here also. My mother and father were married 32 years and for at least the last five they were in marriage counseling or meet with priest to save their marriage, but they eventually divorced. Neither were willing to say their marriage was invalid from the beginning because they had many good years, had five children together, and still had a different type of love for each other.

My mother stopped going to the Church because she knew what the teaching was. My father continued to go six day a week and receive communion. Both wrong according to the Church. My father remarried and continued to do the same thing. That is going on more and more and I don’t think what the Church eventually says in 2015 is going to change that.

If it means anything,I’m on your side on this.

That said, I always feel more in communion with others when we stand in the same confession line. :slight_smile:

Right. That might explain why virtually everyone receives at the English Mass and half of those attending Spanish and Polish Massed don’t.

Yawn. Just another skewed survey by a dissenting publication. Nothing to see here, folks, move along. We’ll believe this tripe when we see scientific methods used.

Although your parents divorced,in your mothers case,if she never remarried,she would have been allowed to receive the Eucharist.In your fathers case,he was in error,and shouldn’t
have received.

From Article:
Of the clergy who took part, more than a third said the ban on artificial contraception could be ignored in good conscience and that cohabitation could be an acceptable stage en route to marriage.

This is certainly in line with what most Catholic’s I have involvement with believe, especially in developed western nation states. These numbers will only be increasing and there will continue to be a larger rift between this group and the ‘hard liners’. Change is happening!

Yawn. On what basis do you project the numbers to increase? I have seen great changes in vocations to the priesthood and religious life, liturgical conservatism on the rise, and “this group” is showing signs of extreme age. The Biological Solution is working steadily on all of us, and in particular the aging hippies of the “Spirit of Vatican II” movement are dying off. Just look in the barren vineyards of the LCWR to see what happens when dissent is allowed to take root.

Yes, I was wondering about this. In all honesty, there is no “policing” or enforcement regarding who takes communion. (I think this is a good thing; one person can have a heavy conscience without good cause; another a light conscience without good cause; who really knows the full extent of their sins - God. Each should inform his/her conscience and let’s leave it at that. No policing.) I have been really really wondering all along why this subject is such a big deal - I mean it completely overwhelmed everything else. And this Synod was supposed to be about families and the social dissolution and pressure they face in secularized society. Don’t get me wrong; I agree this is an important subject to address, but how did it get so out of control? So little time spent on families; a lot of time on attempting renewing teaching on this and other “hot button” topics from a Western perspective, gradualism and all that - for heaven’s sake - I hope that is behind us. It does seem so. I do think the next Synod might be better because of the wider number of participants. Less nuanced, more substantive - also what the majority of the faithful in the Church are going through, how to help them. We talked about everybody but the obedient faithful; the Church just takes them for granted.

What you are describing is having two spouses at the same time, isn’t it?

So true. They have been talking for a long time about the doors being open, about forgiveness and mercy and love. Surely, the repentant sinners have gotten the message and feel encouraged? I wish they would shift the focus just a little bit to try and help the faithful who are drowning in the ocean of anti-Christian hostility, both secular and coming from other religions, and facing continual challenges in their daily lives. Maybe my expectations are unrealistic. I honestly don’t know anymore.

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