Is this a possible exception for a divorced and remarried catholic to receive communion?


Here’s an example:

Lets say a man marries a woman in the Church. The man’s faith is very little. At some point after, the couple divorces. The man decides to make a civil union (marries) with a woman. The Church does not grant an annulment, she says its completely valid. This man forms a family, lets say with 2 or 3 kids with this last woman. At one point he converts deeply to the catholic faith. He now realizes that he shouldn’t be married to this woman. He tries to find his real wife (the 1st one) but no success of finding her or no success of reconciliation. He also thinks that, even with reconciliation, separation from his 2nd “wife” will do great damage, specially towards the kids. He deeply desires to receive all the sacraments, specially the Eucharist. He proposes to his “wife” that he wants to live with her like brother and sister, meaning, no sex, no kissing, no sharing beds, etc. The “wife” agrees.

NOW, with all of this said, is this an exceptional situation to someone to receive communion?


If there is no sex act (adultery) then there is no sin. There is no sin of “chaste cohabitation.” In this scenario one can receive the sacraments. It’s not a “loophole” it just is.


Yes, but I wouldn’t call it an exception exactly - just a case where the sin is no longer happening. The whole divorced remarried communion thing revolves around the fact that adultery is bad and while any instance of it can certainly be forgiven, if the adulterous relationship persists then the sin persists.

But if the adulterous relation has stopped, then it’s not an issue any more. After confession, it’s done.


Most of the factors you listed have nothing to do with the matter. How much faith the man had, whether he has kids, whether he searches for his first wife, etc. All that really matters is that he stops having sex. If he does that, then he can be readmitted to the Sacraments. What keeps the divorced and remarried away from the Sacraments is that they are not willing to amend their lives, they are not sorry for their sins because they intend to keep committing them. It is no different than any other sin. If a man is a serial killer and goes to confession and tells the priest he has no intention to stop killing people, that man will not receive absolution and should not approach from Communion. The difference between the private sins of the serial killer and the public sins of the remarried couple leads to the one sinner not being publicly denied communion (although he should not approach) and the other being publicly denied communion. A notorious serial killer who publicly refused to repent and still approached the altar would also be denied.


So … There is nothing other than sex to marriage? Huh, I’ll have to tell my husband. I thought there were other things involved like growing together, working towards salvation together, publicly witnessing to the Trinity and Holy Family and numerous other important aspects.

Kind of a bummer for Mary and Joseph, I guess they weren’t really married.

As far as the situation, not being able to find the spouse sure complicated things :frowning: I’m sorry. I would ask a priest for guidance.


No, but there is nothing else to adultery than sex. Marriage isn’t a sin. In fact, divorced and “remarried” couples aren’t even really married at all, hence the sin of adultery - having sex with someone other than your spouse.


What about emotional adultery? Alienation of affection?

And how could one be repenting and working towards repairing the marriage that one realizes he is in while he is dedicating his time and attention to the new person he lives with?

Obviously there are going to be personal and different factors in every unique situation, but his whole determination that sex makes marriage and/or adultery is a gross oversimplification of the situation.



It’s possible but the other condition that has to be met is that the couple can only receive the Sacraments if the possibility of scandal is removed. Basically, this means they could receive the Sacraments either totally in private or at a place where no one is aware of their irregular marital state. That marital state is, by its nature, a public fact but their commitment to living a continent life, in accord with the 6th commandment, is not.
See here, paragraph 2c:



Neither “emotional adultery” nor “alienation of affection” are mortal sins. Nice try though.


Good point.


Yea, I wasn’t trying to imply that they are. However any reflection of conscience prior to confession would rule out repentance for someone continuing a sham of trying to “fix a marriage” by sharing a life with someone who isn’t their spouse.

Unless it is all about rubrics at which point, there was never a reason for Jesus to say anything to the phony Pharisees.


You don’t have to “fix a marriage” or even try to in order to receive the Sacraments. You simply have to not be living in a situation where you are publicly continuing to live in an adulterous union. The Pharisee comparison is indeed apt - for your position of making it harder for people to receive the Eucharist than the Church deems necessary. Civil divorce, in and of itself, is not a bar to communion.
The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law.

If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense. *(CCC 2383)


What of the unhappy Catholics who remain together only because it is against the teaching of the Catholic Church…there may be no love between them…intimacy may be a thing practiced once in a while only to satisfy a sexual need…there may be no respect or communication…their children may be suffering because they know what is going on…yet these people are free to partake of the Eucharist without question…one or both may even be involved in illicit affairs…they know that they are doing wrong…are they not making a mockery of their marriage vows before God…and to each other…yet they know the church will not question them because as far as the church is concerned they are married and allowed to take communion…a Catholic whose spouse walks out on an innocent party…he/she goes through a time of great grief and hurt…they are told there is no chance of an annulment because the marriage was and still is valid…that innocent party meets someone who can take away the hurt and pain…that person once again feel the love and affection of someone else…they both know that they want to be together and as they both still love God …they want to be married…which they do…but both are now adulterers in the eyes of the Catholic Church…if they have children are not their children the result of their adulterous relationship…after all…some Catholics will say that you can’t bring forth good by commiting a sinful act…that couple are now on the road to hell by their continued adultery…know matter if they have found a church that accepts them…they pray together as a family…they bring their children up in love and to love God…but that still won’t stop the Catholic Church from calling them adulterers who by their continued sin are on the path to eternal damnation…so…who are the greater sinners…the ones who only remain married because they are Catholic…but mock God in their marriage vows…or the one who was innocent…was denied an annulment but still found happiness and who loves God…by the way…this is just a scenario I’ve made up but it does happen probably more than we think…and I know some of you will say…tough luck…that innocent person condemned themselves through finding happiness with another…I certainly am not downing the church neither…just trying to point out the injustice that may be here.


So if they at some occasion decide to do a “one-nighter” or so, they could just go to confession for that one time thing? Good luck explaining that to the priest without him asking some questions.


I’m not sure how it’s mocking God in your marriage vows to KEEP the marriage vows, even if it is tough and not “fun” yet it isn’t mocking God in those same vows by BREAKING them simply because a person isn’t getting the emotional reactions they want from the other. Your thinking is exactly backwards. Vows mean nothing if they are contingent on us keeping them only so long as we feel like doing so.


Trust me, I understand what the rules are. As far as public scandal, I consider it a grave scandal that families are ripped open, spouses tossed aside, children left abandoned of any example of morality and soul after soul is left to wander darkness doubting a Church that speaks through both sides of its mouth so that for the ego boosting of one adulterous spouse, the other is left alone, devastated and bleeding out, while for lack of sex unrepentant spouses are publicly admitted into communion as though they aren’t murdering their spouses with their actions. But whatever. The kids end up leaving the Church, they are promiscuous, get divorces, destroy more people… No biggie so long as those good old adulterers are faking confession by passing themselves off as a family and not getting it on behind closed doors.

No, communion isn’t for the perfect. The perfect don’t exist. But sex isn’t all that makes a marriage or an adultery and boiling it down so glibly is no different than allowing abortion as a mercy for rape. Divorce kills souls.

No, that isn’t every situation. But it is some and not few.


From EWTN:

A Unique Case. One final situation is that of those who have repented of their illicit union, but remain together for a serious reason, such as for the sake of their children. Catholic pastoral practice allows that IF their pastor judges that scandal can be avoided (meaning most people are unaware of their remarriage and consider them a married couple), then they may live together as “brother and sister” (without any sexual relations), and be admitted to the sacraments. If scandal can not be avoided, then they must either separate or refrain from the sacraments

Talk to your priest. It is possible. You can still apply for an annulment, even with opposition or absence of the former spouse.


Sex, or the lust for it** is** all that makes the sin of adultery.




You are certainly right that there are a million ways to mock your spouse and ruin your marriage. All of them are an affront to God. I would imagine that if there were no children from the licit marriage, but there are in the illicit, the pastoral approach of Josephite marriage might be a good option, depending on the souls of the spouses, children, community impression, etc…

The problem is, it becomes a meat offered to idols situation most of the time and Catholics who are so trilled to condemn those who cause scandal by attending a homosexual marriage look the other way for a more acceptable version of realistically just as perverse behavior.

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