Question about Divorced Catholics?

If a Catholic has divorced and remarried (without an annulment), they are not able to receive Holy Communion (unless they vow to live with their new ‘spouse’ as brother and sister). I understand this part, but I’m a little confused about something else:

Aren’t Catholics required to receive Communion at least once a year? Do remarried Catholics go to Confession immediately before so they can receive? Is this requirement waived for them…?

You cannot receive communion in a sinful state. You must be in a state of grace. So, yes, you are required to receive communion once a year but you are also required to do so in a state of grace. Without that, none of the other rules really matter. They would also be required to go to confession… I don’t see to many people talking about how it is unfair they are not in that line!

For instance, If I am a hitman, and I kill women for sport, then sure, as a Catholic I am supposed to receive communion once a year, but how can I if I have no absolution for my murderous ways?

It is really simple actually. If one is married, then one cannot be married to another. :shrug:
If I have a woman on the side of my marriage. And I commit adultery with her, should I receive communion once a year because I am supposed to? Without rectifying the situation?

It is also noted that a Catholic should fulfill the Sunday obligation no matter what. Is the hypothetical couple going to Mass every Sunday refraining from the Eucharist and following all the teachings of the faith? Doubtful.

The Church has come a long with the annulment process but has a long ways to go.
We are losing Catholics over this issue right and left.

But…, 37He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. 38And he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth me, is not worthy of me. 39He that findeth his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for me, shall find it.

If one is honesty willing to walk away from the Church over this issue would this verse not apply? I’m not trying to be judgmental toward anyone. Frankly I want to see my parents enter the Church and they are divorced and remarried. But I think the point is that we can allow things to come between us and God and when that happens it is us that needs to change, not God.

Respectfully submitted.

Catholics are choosing to leave the Church right and left over many issues. This is their free choice to leave. When someone says, “We are losing Catholics over this issue right and left.” it is implying that the Church needs to change. Maybe we as sinners should keep what the Church teaches regarding marriage and family life a priority when we are dating and single. Many are getting involved with people who are not religious, not Catholic, they overlook red flags during dating, and are having sex and bonding with people that they really need to look at very soberly and with sound judgement rather than be pulled into trouble by feelings that change later and they are divorced. They have one foot out the door already by continuing a relationship that maybe shouldn’t have gone the second date.

Divorced Catholics can remain in good standing with the Church. Again, pursuing a new relationship and remarriage without annulment is another decision with they make freely.

If I choose to live with my boyfriend without marriage, that is my choice as well. Should the Church change her position on this matter too?

Yes of course. The issue is we have a very complicated and expensive process. We need witnesses, first instance courts and second instance courts where with the same information a petitioner/respondent can get a yes it’s annulled then no it’s not annulled and the process is not infallible.

The process has been changed already. Years ago when my mother was divorced it was near impossible to even hear of anyone getting an annulment; now the cry is far too many.

I would say that years ago, most Catholics were validly married and so annulments would be low. Over last few decades, many more Catholics are not validly married and so qualify for annulment.

We may be losing a few Catholics along the way because of the time it takes to reach a decision, or the way the rules are implemented.

We are losing a whale of a lot more not over this issue, but over the issue of the choices they have made along the way of life.

According to CARA, 7% of divorced Catholics have received a decree of nullity.

8% started the process, and somewhere between the start and the final decision,did not receive a decree of nullity.

And 85% have never started the process.

And I know of no survey which has indicated out of the 8% who did not receive a decree, how many have been lost as opposed to how many are still faithful. Some, certainly if other issues between people and the Church are any indication, but not how many.

It is hardly an expensive process. Although here are “do it yourself” divorce services out there, the old rule in law applies to them: he who represents himself has a fool for a client.

Divorce cases easily go into the tens of thousands of dollars - for each party - if there are issues of custody, or property, or spousal support.

And tribunals are only seeking funds to keep the staffing and hard costs afloat; and I don’t believe there is a tribunal out there which won’t either reduce fees or eliminate them in appropriate situations.

Cost is used as an excuse, not a reason.

Yes, the process is complicated; in the greatest part because the Church is the protector of the sacraments, and does not take the sacrament of marriage lightly.

And the cry is far too many get decrees of nullity for a lot of reasons, among them ignorance and prejudice.

Years ago (that is, prior to the change in the Code), people were presumed to be validly married. And that is all that can be said, as the grounds for a decree of nullity were far more limited.

On the other hand, society had not devolved into the sexual licentiousness that started in the 1960’s and spread like wildfire. That, and a number of other issues have left us with a population of Catholics who really don’t understand the concept of the sacrament of marriage, and so yes, there appear to be a lot more people who may not have entered into a sacramental marriage, although they appear to have done so.

  1. Yes, all Catholics who have received their First Communion are required to receive Communion once a year.

  2. They may go to confession but if they have no firm purpose of amendment, meaning that they truly intend not to continue in their sin of sex outside of their original marriage, the priest should not grant them absolution, than no, they cannot receive.

  3. No, this requirement is not waived for them. Quite simply sin is heaped upon sin.

Frankly, too many Catholics are looking for easy ways out of sin. I believe annulments should be made difficult to get.
Better to have a smaller Church with real faithful members.

I think part of the problem is that many Catholics don’t pursue a decree of nullity soon after their divorce. Many are just emotionally drained from the divorce process, others can’t imagine being married again and many other reasons of course.

The issue then becomes they meet someone and the process of annulment is time consuming and can take up to 2 years and people just don’t want to wait once they fall in love and meet someone new.

Just my perspective. I believe the time to get the decree if you’re Catholic is as soon as you can after your divorce. Easier to track down witnesses, remember the details of the marriage required for the annulment papers etc.

I believe the best way to address this problem, and great strides have been made in this regard already, is to properly prepare applicants of marriage.

Marriage and the Priesthood are considered parallel vocations, yet a priest must undergo at least seven years (and sometimes more) of study and spiritual formation prior to ordination. Yet, its parallel vocation, marriage, a couple just needs to take a weekend course and they’re considered good to go? WHAT!?

Better marriage preparation is definitely a must, and should be the focus for all future marriages.

As for divorcees, I think their circumstance has been well addressed above.

I am curious as to why you say that. The Church, in reviewing the sacrament of Marriage through the tribunal process, is doing everything it can to uphold the sacrament.

If you are referring to the fact that many people requesting the tribunal review are people who have already “married” a second time, it would seem that your comment would be akin to suggesting that a priest not hear the confession of anyone who has a problem with a particular isn, because “They will just go and sine again”, or perhaps “They knew it was a sin when they did it”. Would it not seem that those who go to confession are "looking for an easy way out of sin?

I will presume you are not of either opinion; so why do you think they should be difficult to get?

And by the way, have you gone through the process, or spoken directly to others who have, and asked them what they thought of it?

Spoken like someone who has never had to support children after being left by the primary breadwinner.

For me, cost is a big factor. I probably would have applied a year ago if it weren’t for the fact that I would like to be able to pay my own way through the annulment process, but it hasn’t happened yet.

What I am saying is that too many people who get married don’t work to make the marriage work and they want the Church to make it easy for them to obtain an annulment. My view is that the Church should tell such legally divorced couples they should do everything to make the marriage work. At the same time annulments should be made very difficult to get. To get annulments many people (not all of course) tend to lie about what happened prior to the marriage in order to have grounds for that. I am speaking from experience. I have several friends in that situation and these couples have colluded so they can show grounds for annulment to the tribunal, and yes it is relatively easy to get this through the tribunal. Of course they cannot fool God but they certainly can fool the tribunals.

Annulments should be made difficult to obtain.

I think what you mean is you think that. Not that you have done a survey, or that you have read surveys, but it is your opinion.

So the question is, on what do you base your opinion, if you have not worked with people who have gone through this?

It does, but it does that before the divorce, not after. Statistically how many people get a divorce and then get remarried to the same spouse? Almost none.

And of course, because you know one or two couples who have alleged to have done this, now out of the 45,000 to 50,000 decrees of nullity in a year, you knowthat many do.

No, you do not know that. You are surmising from one or two cases. And further, you have not even seen the files on the cases you allege were fraudulently obtained.

According to CARA, more people who start the process of obtaining a decree of nullity do not get one, than those who start it and do get one (*% or divorced Catholics who start do not receive one, 7% do, out of all divorced Catholics).

Your knowledge of tribunal cases and process is sadly lacking; your opinions are not.

Are annulments difficult? I don’t think so. America has 6% of the world’s Catholics and 83% of annulments. To me that means either annulments are almost given away there or Americans don’t try as hard as Catholics in other countries to make their marriages work.

Annulments should be made extremely difficult to obtain.

The annulment process if full of people who lie both ways. They can lie to also say the marriage bond was valid at the time of marriage when in fact a serious impediment such as mental illness or alcoholism was present they don’t want their priest or anyone else to know.

The tribunal first and second instance court never even meet you usually. They are relying on flawed human beings to remember intimate details of a marriage ofr that of a family member of friend. Hardly impartial witnesses in many cases.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit