With respect, I believe your friend was misinformed and then passed on her misunderstanding to you. For this is simply not, and never was, the policy, practice, or teaching of the church. I have found in my 57 years that many individuals SINCERELY simply DO NOT UNDERSTAND what their priest says, and go on to recount stories of what they were ‘told’ when they were never told anything of the kind. They THOUGHT they understood “X” but they were never told that.
How often have you heard, for example, a young teen girl ask her mother how she looked, and the mother would respond, “you look very nice’ and then teen would then wail to her friends that her mother thinks she is ugly!! The girl doesn’t hear’ look very nice’. . .she hears, 'you don’t look like a supermodel, therefore you are ugly”. . . And the girl would swear on a stack of Bibles that her mother called her ugly, and would sincerely believe it.
I personally take any kind of ‘hearsay’ testimony like this with a huge grain of salt.
First, my own dear mother (about to turn 84) married a divorced Protestant back in the 1950s. And guess what? We didn’t sit in the back of the church. When I was divorced over 10 years ago, I didn’t sit in the back of the church either, and I didn’t have to ‘pay a fee’ and seek approval of the POPE to get a decree of nullity.
BUT. . .when I was divorced, and first went to talk to the priest, I came away with the understanding that I couldn’t receive communion because I was divorced. And I consider myself a fairly knowledgeable Catholic. In the first upset and worry, I ‘heard’ something that wasn’t correct. . .because I MISUNDERSTOOD. God be praised, I went back to the priest and asked him to clarify and sure enough, it was MY MISUNDERSTANDING due to my being upset and nervous that made me think the Church taught I couldn’t take communion as a divorced Catholic.
Had I NOT done this, you’d probably find me on this forum claiming that “yes, when I was the innocent spouse of someone who divorced me, I was told that I couldn’t receive communion”. . . (because as I said, this was at first what I THOUGHT I heard). . .
It just goes to show that we always need to check and DOUBLE CHECK what we ‘think’ that we know or understand, because we can be utterly, and sincerely, WRONG.
Those who read Matthew 19 as permitting divorce for adultery etc are exactly like that. . .they are utterly and sincerely convinced they understand Jesus’ allowing divorce for adultery. . .but they are, of course, WRONG.