If spouse dies can surviving spouse get remarried?

I was posed this question by my child and was not sure of the official position of the church. Any help would gladly be appreciated!


Absolutely… You only cannot remarry if your spouse is alive and you have not obtained annulment.
As a widow or widower anyone may marry again in the Church .

So far as I know, the Church has no objection to a bereaved spouse entering again into the sacrament of Matrimony, unless some pre-existing condition would preclude it.

For example, a Deacon whose wife has passed is forbidden to remarry on pain of excommunication, unless:
*]He has children young enough to need the regular attention of a mother;
*]he has elderly parents who need care; or
*]his service to the Church has been of such value that losing him to excommunication is unthinkable.[/LIST]In the past, all three conditions had to be true for a Deacon to receive dispensation to marry; now, it’s any one of the three.

Disclaimer: I’m not a priest or Canon lawyer, nor do I play one on TV; but I did sleep in a Holiday Inn Express - once. :smiley:

Unless, of course, the surviving spouse has taken a vow to not remarry.

This is a common requirement of the Permanent Diaconate (that a married deacon cannot remarry if his wife preceeds him in death).

Are you serious? A Deacon cannot get remarried if his spouse dies?

That is correct.



Quite true, Holy Orders – which a deacon receives - being a canonical impediment to marriage. Also, while the conditions listed in Post # 3 may be true for an Eastern Rite sui juris church, I believe in the Latin rite there is now far more rigor – and far fewer dispensations granted – for diaconal remarriage following the death of a spouse. Such a dispensation would never, I believe, be automatic, and would be granted only in a pretty exceptional circumstance now.

Our diocese won’t even accept as aspirants to diaconate formation anyone with children younger than high school. I can’t image that elderly parents or “valued service” would enter into the considerations. However, if a deacon needs to devote care to his parents, I’m sure he would be allowed to suspend his ministerial duties.

Valid marriages end in death.
Yes Deacons cannot date and get married in the Latin Rite.

I think for the OP in response to a child’s inquiry a simple “yes” is sufficient, possibly adding something about wedding vows being “until death do us part” or “as long as we both shall live”.

The answer is, of course, yes. In fact, if the surviving spouse is an man, he can even choose to become a priest. There are a number of priests who are also widowers. However, the non-surviving spouse cannot remarry.

Yes. If the man will not take the vow, he will not be ordained a deacon.

Obviously! The non-surviving spose is dead. :smiley:

You beat me to it!

It took people nearly 3 hours to get that? :rotfl:

Oy, vey.

We’re not all sitting at the computer waiting to read every post in every thread and respond immediately.

But I thought I had a fan club! :cool: Everyone hanging on my every post… :stuck_out_tongue:


My husband and I are 48 and 41 years old. We have 5 girls under age 12. We have discussed that if he or I were to die, that we would want the surviving spouse to remarry if that were the desire.
But, please clarify:
we can only remarry if the other person (we want to marry) has never been married
the other person is a widow/widower as well
we cannot remarry someone who has been divorced - unless that person has an annulment.
Thank you.

Correct. A widow/er may only marry someone who is free to marry. Someone who is divorced without a decree of nullity is not free to marry.

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