Ex-communication for divorce?

has this ever been something the church used to do?

I have a friend who apparently said her grandmother was excommunicated because she got a divorce so I was just wondering.

Perhaps she meant that she was not permitted to receive Holy Communion (some confuse this cause of the term “communion” in excommunication)? Which would be true.

You wouldn’t be excommunicated for getting a divorce. People can still receive the sacraments when they are civilly divorced.

No. Divorce does not incur excommunication, nor did it under the 1917 code.

There may be more to the grandmother story. In the US, those who attempted a **remarriage **after divorce did have a penalty of automatic excommunication (particular law of the US between 1884 and 1977).

Those outside the US could be excommunicated by their Ordinary for bigamy under the 1917 code, which was abrogated in 1983.

So, is it *possible *granny was excommunicated for a remarriage? Yes. Possibly.

For a divorce? No.

It is and has been a very persistent myth that divorce incurred excommunication. It simply does and did not.


I can’t say that it was *never *done *anywhere *in the Church but, as far as I have been able to determine, it was never part of the universal law of the Church and was never part of the law of the USA.

For a time, a Catholic who attempted marriage before a civil official was subject to a possible, “automatic” excommunication. This penalty was part of particular law for the USA as well as the universal law of the 1917 Code of Canon Law. Both penalties no longer exist, and haven’t existed since the 1970s.


oh, I’m sure there is more to the story. I’m just not asking for details because it’s none of my business.

it’s not even this friend who told me, but another girl who she is mentoring, that is interested in Catholicism. we both try to teach her stuff about the faith, but the other girl is a bit shaky with her own catholic faith so I think there are mixed messages sometimes.

anwyas, the onlhy thing I got asked is if the church really did ex-communicate people for divorce, which I know it doen’st now. I just wans’t sure if it was always the same. thanks for clearing it up.

I didn’t really tinkso anways, since I think the church has always allowed for separation of spouses, if it realy came to that point, unless I am mistaken. it wouldn’t really be an issue unless there was an attempt to remarry

Not only is a divorced person NOT excommunicated it is not even a mortal sin to get a civil divorce. As long as such a person does not remarry they may continue to receive Communion.

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