Is it necessary to have one's marriage blessed before receiving Holy Communion?

I have a Catholic friend whose daughter (also Catholic) got married outside the church. The reason given to me that this was done was to avoid the pre-marriage counciling required to be married in the Church. Go figure.

My question is, is the daughter still eligible to receive communion?

I did not see anything mentioned in the Catechism on this specific issue (it appeared to discuss purely Catholic marriages).

The answer did not appear to be explicitly written in canon law either, but from my reading, it appears as if the Church recognizes a marriage as valid if:

  1. Both parties are willing participants, and
  2. Both understand the gravity of what they are entering into

Therefore, I answered that yes, she was still eligible to receive communion. I told him that her status in the Church with regards to receiving communion was not affected by her marriage, because the Church considered it valid unless proven otherwise.

Was I correct? Or does she have to get the marriage blessed by the Church before receiving communion?


P.S. Please answer my “Can non-Christians go to heaven - part 2” question also.

Dear Basil,

You were not correct. Any Catholic who attempts marriage outside of the Catholic Church enters into a non-valid marriage. Therefor he or she may not receive Holy Communion while living as husband and wife until the marriage is convalidated (blessed). Canon 1108, paragraph 1 states:
“Only those marriages are valid which are contracted in the presence of the local ordinary or the pastor or a priest or deacon delegated by either of them, who assist, and in the presence of two witnesses…”

I will answer your other post separately.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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