May I receive the Eucharist before my marriage is convalidated?

My new wife is currently going through R.C.I.A… My annulment is in the process of approval within the second Tribunal phase, and my wife has just submitted her’s for review. My initial vows were said in a Catholic Church as a Catholic Christian, her’s were in a Protestant Church as a Protestant. Her R.C.I.A. leaders, and the Priest, told her and I that they hope she would receive the Eucharist on Easter Vigil, but would understand if her conscious told her otherwise. Well, she hasn’t really developed a conscious yet in Catholic understanding, and so that’s where I come in. I told her that until both of our annulments our completed I don’t feel I can receive Christ in the Eucharist, and that it’s my consciousness that is leading me in that decision. I’ve explained that to the Priest, and he says he understands, but that I shouldn’t get too overly legalistic as Christ understands our directions, efforts in getting the annulment, and heart. Although he can’t convalidate our marriage until both annulments are completed, he won’t object if we both want to receive the Eucharist. I’m anxious about getting back to the sacraments, especially Reconciliation, but I can carry this cross until then. How do you believe we should act?

Dear Dan,

God love you. You are another example of the Holy Spirit working through the laity—even in the face of a misguided clergy. It is not legalistic to conform to the Church’s teaching!

This is what the Church teaches with regard to your situation: The Church does not recognize your marriage as valid. Insofar as you are living as husband and wife, you are living in mortal sin. It would be a sacrilege for you to receive Holy Communion in such a state. Should you and your wife decide to live as brother and sister until your marriage is convalidated, then you could go to Confession and receive Holy Communion. I strongly encourage you to do this.

This it the truth that your priest owes you. It is political correctness to choose to leave you in ignorance regarding sin, rather than to hurt your feelings. But the Holy Spirit is obviously with you. You are in our prayers. Now go and do the right thing.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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