Divorced and receiving Communion

Can a divorced catholic person without an annulment receive communion if she goes to confession, remains chaste but happens to have a new man or boyfriend? What if she says that they love each other and agree never to have sex but have sleepovers in the same bed and act as if everything is fine otherwise. I happen to know a lot of people with this thinking. They don’t think there’s anything wrong with this and come to mass and receive communion together. I know there’s nothing I can do but pray but does anyone else out there witness a similar thing?

Divorce, by definition and authority, is solely a matter of the secular governmental. Divorce does not exist or occur in the Church, so the Church considers her married. In fact, she may reconcile and live with her ‘ex’ without sin in the eyes of the Church, since they are considered to be validly married unless and until their marriage is declared null by the tribunal of her Archdiocese.

Civil law considers her to be divorced for taxation and legal rights issues. In the eyes of God, this woman is still married to her husband, regardless of her feelings. Engaging another love interest amounts to infidelity, and “sleepovers” are a near occasion of sin, if not actual sin. She must choose to discontinue her new relationship, reconcile with her husband, or seek the possibility of annulment. She needs to speak with a priest, because under these circumstances, receiving the Holy Eucharist may indeed be eating and drinking damnation (judgment) unto herself.

She should not be sleeping in the same bed with a man not her husband. Even him sleeping in another room is cause for scandal.

Until an annulment, she’s not even properly free to date; she’s married still, per the church. And it sounds like she’s living a life that gives the impression of adultery.

Thing is, she might not actually understand that it’s a scandal and/or a sin.

It’s no sin for a civil divorcée to receive communion if chaste and living a chaste and celibate lifestyle. Obviously, she’s not living the celibate lifestyle, if she’s dating.

But it’s properly between her and the pastor. Letting her and/or the pastor know that it seems scandalous to you might be appropriate. But be discrete about it, and polite.

While we cannot judge souls here, if this woman were happily married her actions would be deemed inappropriate. Well the Church sees her as being married regardless of her civil status. I know that if it were public knowledge that I had another woman that slept in my bed, even with no sex, that it would be cause for scandal and my wife would surely seek a separation since that is not becoming of a married couple. In God’s eyes they are a married couple and all conditions apply. Can she receive communion? I don’t know the extent of her culpability in this and that can only be discerned in the confessional and we are to encourage but not judge.

this far the answer is yes.
boyfriend here means casual dating, the relationship cannot evolve to romance or engagement until AFTER she has her annulment

what you go on to describe is hardly “chaste” so that cancels out the answer

however the situation you describe is far more info than anyone has a right to about the lady and man involved, so if you do see them receiving communion, in Christian charity you put the best possible interpretation on their actions and assume they are in the state of grace

Very true. No more than every couple who only has one or two children should be judged as to whether or not they are on artificial birth control. And that runs more rampantly than the situaion that you describe. And we won’t even mention masturbation or some of the other sins against the sixth commandment. So, we have plenty to make sure that we are in the proper disposition for receiving the Eucharist and be a good example for others. The rest is up to God…

A divorced person is still married and therefore not free to date. Sex is not the only thing that will violate the marital bond.

She can receive Holy Communion if she is not in a state of mortal sin. Being divorced is not a sin, but dating without receiving a declaration of nullity is. Dating is reserved for single people (and of course a married couple’s “date night”).

What if she says that they love each other and agree never to have sex but have sleepovers in the same bed and act as if everything is fine otherwise.

This is definitely not chaste.

I happen to know a lot of people with this thinking.

Really? Sorry, I’m not accusing you of lying, but I’m just surprised. General society is certainly not into that way of thinking.

What happens if they are too far deep into the relationship and have kids involved and feel trapped but really want to come back to the Church now and receive communion? If the Church lets them, it almost seems unfair because they are now able to live together and act as if they are married but yet be ok in the eyes of the Church. I’m sure God would know for sure if someone was doing this on purpose. It’s like saying to yourself I think I’m going to sin today because I need to and it will make me happy with all the benefits and 20 years down the line, I’ll just tell myself I’m sorry and God then everything will be ok. Isn’t that the sin of presumption?

What if you advised this person that they shouldn’t do this in a nice way and yet they rejected it and said it doesn’t apply to them because they are old. Is the person able to say then that its not a sin to them still even if you told them it was? Seems kinda ignorant of the truth.

One is never “too far deep” into a relationship to start living for God. In the case of previously-divorce, now-civilly-married people, where there are children between the civilly-married couple, the appropriate course of action would seem to be to live as brother and sister. The ideal would be separate bedrooms, but definitely separate beds, if financial constraints preclude separate bedrooms.

Yes, you have described the sin of presumption.

A person can say whatever they want, it doesn’t make it true. There comes a time when you must evaluate your relationship with that person and decide whether you are in a position to press the issue.

What if I were to reply, “Seriously? Two people who love each other sleeping in the same bed and agree never to have sex? Such a thing, methinks is highly improbable”. :wink:

But seriously, aside from the scandal it may cause, why would one want to put one’s self in such a near occasion of sin?

Bingo, Exactomundo. I was thinking the same thing, C.

One does not need to constrain one’s self to being a hermit, but one still needs to be mindful that one is still married and must behave like it unless an anulment is granted.

none of this is Okay and no the church is not okay with it. What happens is they go to their priest for counsel who guides them toward the steps they need to take to make things right. The answer is different for every couple. This question btw does not describe the situation in OP but is another ball of wax. In the meantime, people who are not in the loop do not judge the couple or second guess the priest who is in charge.

depends on what you mean by date, if you mean casual socializing that might easily be done with friends of either sex, without a romantic component, it is fine. If you mean an exclusive relationship, to the point of curling up in bed, the line has been crossed a long time ago. A divorced person is married and cannot have such an exclusive relationship with a member of the opposite sex that until they are free to marry and that means annulment.

Good points, but I would add to be careful not to put too much emphasis on the exclusivity of such relationships, but focus more on the “casual socializing” as being OK. One might be misled to think that as long as one is not “exclusive” with another i.e. dating many people at the same time “casually” is OK.

And we have to keep the end of dating in mind: forming a relationship with a person. As well we have to be realistic; “casual dating” is still dating. I like the term “socializing”, kind of like when we tell kids that they can “go out” with friends, but are not allowed to “date”.

Good advice is to not go out in situations that are likely to end up “meeting someone”.

Maybe it’s a regional thing, but I’ve never encountered this as the definition of “dating”.

If she confesses her situation and get the absolution, then she can receive the holy communion.

The question should be in what conditions the priest should absolve her.

As for sleeping together in the same bad, that traditional legal principle is: Solus cum sola in eodem lectulo non orabunt Pater Noster. (He and she in the same bad do not pray Our Father).

Any other details require individual decision starting with the circumstance of the divorce.

What’s it mean if she does confess it, but regardless of the confession still continues on day after day dating this guy, having him sleep over and still continues on with the dating scene without a desire to change the situation? Sometimes, it’s pretty obvious by outside actions if the contrition is sincere compared to someone just rationalizing it away thinking God loves me and it was forgiven. Is it forgiven if someone keeps doing it and keeps coming to mass receiving the sacraments (communion)?

If someone is living in sin and you do your best to explain to them that this is wrong. Do they have knowledge at the point you tell them its a sin? Or can we say even if you explain to them its a sin and they really don’t think it is no matter what you say, is it still a sin to this person? Just because we say hey this is a serious sin does that mean they have full knowledge? It seems like an easy way out to keep rationalizing things away saying oh no no its not a sin to me so therefore they get a free pass because its not a sin to them.

The decision about that belongs to priest who hears the confessions. In the confession the penitent shall promise to avoid the occasion of sin. If one is laying about this, the confession is invalid.

In a community when everybody knows everybody, living together is scandal, and obstacle for absolution. The judge is the priest.

My opinion is that the case for a divorced person related to the possibility of future sins is not different from masturbation, premarital sex, or extramarital sex. The adultery itself is different for existing marriage. I’m am not the judge, the priest is.

The thing is, she’s a married woman. Would a married, non-divorced woman date another guy in good conscience? Of course not!

Divorce is only acceptable in the Church if you are either the vitcim, or you sought divorce to protect yourself and your family. But if the reason for divorce was an attempt to break the marital bond, then its committing sacrilege to the Sacrament and thus not acceptable. The act itself is a sin.

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