Divorced Communicants

I’m a very recent convert (April 19, 2014), and I’ve compared my inability to receive communion before my Confirmation to a divorced Catholic without an anullment. I do this to try to convince those who’d have the Church amend Eucharistic discipline to allow divorced Catholics that denial of Communion is not cruel but compassionate. I never thought it anything but compassionate even as a Protestant. Is this an apt comparison?

Have you received valid Christian Baptism that has been recognized by the Catholic Church? (most protestant Baptisms are thus recognized).

Your answer to this question is relevant to your own question.

A divorced, but remarried, Catholic cannot receive communion because they are in the state of mortal sin and must resolve that situation first, one who is coming into the Church may not receive communion because they have not received the proper instructions or first confession. So, no; I would say it is not an apt comparison.

I think you mean divorced and re-married without having recieved an affirmative annulment decision. Divorced and seperated Catholics who have not attempted a second marriage are able to recieve communion.

The Church recognizes that legal separations and divorce are sometimes necessary to protect the parties involved …for example to provide for financial support and when abuse is involved. No one must stay married when they are in fear.

Yes, I was baptized a United Methodist properly. Hence my complete conversion including Confirmation. My concern is obviously not those who can be reconciled with the Church easily like divorced (civilly) and un-remarried (civilly) Catholics, but those who claim undue burden because they are remarried. I’m finding it hard to see much difference in my previous status as a Protestant in imperfect communion and the status of a divorced remarried Catholic obviously in imperfect communion. I reckoned it compassion; they seem to reckon it judgmental.

The comparison is not necessarily how one comes into full communion, but what it means not to be in full communion. The reasons seem irrelevant to the concern of whether denying communion is compassionate or just burdensome and judgmental.

I believe it is a good comparison.

I attended mass multiple times a week for two years before I entered the church and thus I went to many masses and never received the Eucharist.

Too often civilly remarried Catholics feel like they can’t come to mass. They can and they should and they aren’t alone in being unable to receive communion. There is still much they and the community receive by their presence.

I personally appreciate seeing people not receive (not that I’m watching for that or anything) but when you see someone not receive, especially someone you know is Catholic, it shows that that person has a lot of reverence for the Eucharist and the Church.

We all know that when 99% of the parishioners receive the Eucharist, there is likely a significant number who should not be. What a powerful witness it is if more did not receive? How much better would we examine our consciences? How much more frequently we would go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation?

In this light, the comparison makes more sense. (On the face of it, of course, the posters who raised the distinction between “prior to being in full communion” and “having been in full communion but willingly leaving that communion” are right – that part of the story is what makes the comparison difficult to appreciate.)

Now… strictly speaking, you’re not “waiting for Confirmation”, per se. You’re waiting for your First Holy Communion (which, given the ritual, means that it will be after baptisms and confirmations takes place on Easter Vigil).

Is this ‘compassionate’ toward you? That’s an interesting way of looking at it. It’s certainly charitable – even St Paul warns against eating and drinking without discerning the Body of Christ; and, in your RCIA program and/or preparation, you are being given the catechesis that will permit you to participate in the Eucharist without this lack of discernment. Is that ‘compassion’ – that is, ‘feeling for’ you? I would say not. This doesn’t have to do with the Church addressing your feelings, but rather, with the Church carefully preparing you for the sacraments.

Is it ‘judgmental’ toward you? Certainly, I can understand that, given that you wish full communion with the Church, you would rather have the Eucharist now… yet, the Church has given people the responsibility of discerning when you are properly prepared for the sacraments. In this light, this time of difficult waiting for you isn’t a ‘judgment’ upon you, but rather, is simply the case that those who are responsible for your catechesis are fulfilling their obligations. In both cases, then, I don’t know that I would say that this is either ‘compassionate’ or ‘judgmental’… but rather, is an opportunity for you to learn and be formed by the teachings of the Church.

But, what about those who had been part of the Church, and decided to leave that communion through their actions? Is the Church’s action – refusing them absolution of sins of which they do not repent, and refusing them participation in the sacraments – ‘compassionate’? Is it ‘judgmental’? Here, too, I think that I would make the same distinction.

It’s not ‘compassionate’, per se. Again, the Church’s actions aren’t about “feelings” here – they’re charitable, since it’s important that people don’t “eat and drink judgment” upon themselves through unworthy reception of Communion. It’s not “judgmental”, either – there’s no ‘judgment’ taking place, but rather, simply a recognition of the situation in which the people have placed themselves through their actions.

So, in both cases, I think I wouldn’t describe this either as ‘compassion’ or ‘judgment’, but rather, the Church’s maternal care for her children: would a parent give her child a scorpion when he asked for an egg? Of course not – and, although for different reasons, participation in the sacraments would be more a ‘scorpion’ than an ‘egg’ right now, whether that’s something that’s obvious or not to you or to those in a state of mortal sin. For you, in due time, the Eucharist will be made available. To those in a state of mortal sin, it will be made available when they are able to repent and leave that state of sin. This is certainly a situation that is difficult and a trial – without a doubt! But, that doesn’t mean that it rises to the level of ‘judgment’…

A Catholic does not have to wait until after Confirmation to receive Communion.

Neither is divorce without annulment an impediment to receiving communion. Divorced Catholics are only required to get annulment if they intend to get married.

I don’t know where the OP is getting this information.


Since he is a recent convert, this implies that his entry into the Church included Confirmation and First Holy Communion. You’re getting hung up on his wording; his intent, I’m sure, was simply to note that he was unable to receive the Eucharist until he had come in full communion with the Church. :wink:

Divorced catholics may receive Eucharist and other Sacraments without annulment provided they have not remarried. Divorced and remarried catholics may not receive Eucharist as they are in a perpetual state of adultery unless they are living as “brother and sister” while pursuing annulment and convalidation.

Annulment typically takes between 1-3 years, in some places longer.

The difference between a divorced and remarried catholic being denied Eucharist and a convert being denied Eucharist is that the convert is not yet prepared to receive the Sacrament whereas a divorced and remarried catholic may be entirely prepared to receive the Sacrament, but cannot until their marital situation has been resolved and they have attained a state of grace through valid Reconciliation and Absolution.

And, believe me, there is a HUGE difference. I am a convert wannabe that was previously married civilly and divorced. I remarried civilly 12 years ago, long before I ever thought I would be converting to Catholicism. I completed RCIA last spring, but cannot be fully received into the Church until I have obtained an annulment and have my marriage convalidated. I am at the 15 month mark since my annulment case was accepted. There is no end in sight. If I were converting as a single person who had never been married or as a divorced person who has not remarried I would have been received into the Church months ago.

What those in my situation go through is not even close to what someone free and clear goes through when preparing for the Sacraments.

No one is hung up. People need to be clear about what they mean, cognizant of the fact that this is the most read Catholic website on the planet and many get information about the faith here. People who know the faith need to be able to correct in charity without being lectured by others.

The OP made two false statements; 1) a Catholic cannot receive communion until they have been confirmed and 2) Catholics who have a civil divorce are required to obtain an annulment before they receive communion.

I am amazed at the number of statements made and questions proposed here on CAF which are based on an incorrect understanding of the faith. I am even more amazed at the number of posts which intend to defend or answer the false understanding. It’s like people just make things up sometimes.


the Church is trying to protect the soul from the grave sin of adultery, which if one dies in that sin they go straight to hell as scripture warns.[1 Corinthians 6:9](“https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1 Corinthians+6:9&version=RSVCE”)

:thumbsup: You’re doing the right thing. Prayers ascending for you and your cause.

The lady doth protest too much, methinks… :wink:

People need to be clear about what they mean

The OP made two false statements

People who know the faith need to be able to correct in charity

Boy, you got that right… :rolleyes:

without being lectured by others.

A recent convert got it wrong on divorce and communion; he also expressed the notion of his entry into the sacraments in a way that struck people as odd.

Before this meta-discussion on proper charitable response, some posters replied, “whoops! I think you mean this, don’t you?”, whereas others just jump down his throat, pointing out his “false statements” that they wonder “where he’s getting this information.” Yep… “correction in charity”… that’s what we need around here… :sad_yes:

It’s like people just make things up sometimes.

Actually, that’s true, too. This is just an internet forum, after all, and…you get what you pay for, you know…? :wink:

Sarcasm is not a virtue.

The real answer to the question is that with the exception of his own children, whether someone other than himself may or may not receive communion is not his business.


Nor is lack of charity, and we both seem guilty on that count. :wink:

The real answer to the question is that with the exception of his own children, whether someone other than himself may or may not receive communion is not his business.

Right. His confessor has no say in it, whatsoever, let alone the Church. :wink:

The ‘real’ answer to the questions seem to have come from the posters who explained the Church’s position on the questions, as well as those who corrected the misunderstandings of the OP.

How is nine months of RCIA not waiting for Confirmation? I waited nine months for my First Reconciliation which took place before Confirmation which took place before my First Holy Communion. That is the order of Sacraments for someone of my age and accountability, and I waited for all three of them.

I am well aware what RCIA does. I obviously discerned the Body and Blood, or I would have had no qualms consuming it before I was in communion. The point is my discernment could have been better than the Pope’s, and I still wouldn’t have partaken because I wasn’t in communion. I’m not concerning myself with why somebody cannot partake. I’m concerning my comparison with somebody simply being unable to partake for whatever reason. Compassion has an intellectual dimension, as does charity, that the Church understands well. I didn’t “feel” the Church’s compassion continuously for nine months; I understood it intellectually. That is one of my favorite aspects about the Church; it doesn’t matter how you “feel” about it from one minute to the next.

I didn’t “feel” judged. I understood the proper order of the sacraments of initiation for a candidate because I was going through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. “Judgemental”, “cruel”, “burdensome” etc. are the sentiments of the remarried divorced Catholics without annulments and those who take their part who want to relax reverence for the Eucharist.

Apparently my previous three posts were unclear. I am a convert. I am in full communion with the Catholic Church. Every time before my Confirmation and after it that I didn’t partake of communion I thought it nothing but the height of compassion. Whether I “felt” the compassion or not. I am ascribing the feelings or even thoughts of being judged, burdened, or otherwise unjustly impeded to the Catholics who wish to take communion without regularizing their marriage situation. I assume they must feel or think they are victimized in some way to advocate such an audacious change to Church practice and teaching.

A Protestant adult does. And a divorced remarried Catholic has to wait for an annulment or live as “brother and sister” with their current “spouse”.

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