Remarriage and Leaving the Church

Are there a lot of people that remarry who have tried to get an annulment but it was denied, so they feel they can’t be a practicing Catholic, therefore they leave to become Protestant?

I just tried for a moment to put myself in their shoes. I am single and celibate so I really had to think on this one. If the day comes where I wake up and say I want to date and find a husband (highly unlikely as I don’t have the desire, the time to date, possible denied annulment if applied, etc…) would I leave the church? WOW that is really tough and I feel so bad for those whose annulments were denied and they got remarried anyway. I might do the same. I guess any one of us can fall to mortal sin at any time so if its one thing I have learned on this forum, Don’t judge others!

Anyway, just wondered what the statistics were and what you would do if faced with such a situation. If your annulment was denied would you stay single and celibate or would you try to remarry (if you don’t like the single life) and stay within the church feeling like an outcast or would you join a Protestant church where remarriage is not a sin?

It’s not tough at all. You don’t date people who aren’t free to marry and you have no problem at all.

I don’t feel bad for people who put themselves in such a position because they did it to themselves.

Really? You’d purposely commit mortal sin, put yourself outside the sacraments, and place your soul in jeopardy of hell? Not a good plan.

If I’ve learned anything it is that people misunderstand “do not judge.” We can’t judge their souls, we can certainly make judgments on their objectively immoral behavior-- and do all in our power to prevent them from making such a mistake.

I would not be faced with such a situation because I would not place myself in such a position. We all have free will. People who get in this situation are 100% responsible for putting themselves in that position.

Loaded question. Those who follow Church teaching are not outcasts.

They would only be fooling themselves. It most definitely is a sin and sin is not relative. It is absolute.

OK so you would remain single and celibate if your spouse divorced you? Lets say you wanted to stay in the marriage but your spouse left you for someone else. I can relate to staying single and celibate because I have no desire to date but for those who do like being married, I feel bad for them who had to divorce through no fault of their own. I’m sorry but I do feel sympathy for them :shrug:

Of course.

Marriage is lifelong. A spouse leaving does not change that.

Feeling sympathy for someone in a bad situation is one thing, but to sympathize with those sinning is a whole different matter. No one is forced to sin. I cannot sympathize with someone who does. To sin is to freely choose to offend God. Our own personal desires are not to be chosen over God’s laws. Jesus asked in the Garden of Gethsemane not to have to undergo the pain He knew was to come, but He ended that prayer with, “But not My will but Yours be done.” We have to do the same.

What you are saying now doesn’t square with your initial post.

If someone were divorced through no fault of their own, and annulment may be possible. Therefore, no problem.

However, if YOU enter a marriage unprepared or with no intention of a permanent union and you are divorced, or you cause the divorce, even if you get an annulment, there will probably be a restriction placed on any remarriage to assure you get proper counseling. Therefore, possible annulment with restriction attached.

Third, if you (and your future spouse) made a serious attempt at pre-marriage counseling, used FOCCUS, did an engaged encounter weekend, or were prepared by a Sponsor couple…guess what, there probably would be no divorce to worry about. That’s because you took the preparation seriously.

Now, after eliminating ALL the above, you are the victim of divorce, AND an annulment attempt fails, you are still subject to your conscience to attempt to save your soul. You don’t get a automatic pass to change religions so you can pursue a “married” life. In the words of Christ, you then become an adulterer. Your only alternative (to remain a good Catholic) is to live a celibate life…yeah, it’s hard.

That’s the way it is. Moral? Go to the limit on marriage prep to prevent this from being a later situation.

Um no, you are not always granted an annulment just because you are the innocent party… Everyone thinks all you have to do is go apply for an annulment and it is granted "poof " its okay to remarry. So not true.

I can tell you we did all the FOCUS and my ex-husband comitted so much adultery. Probably one of the many reasons why I remain single and choose not to date. We are good friends, but he still has not settled down. I always blamed it on him being young. We were married at 21 yrs old had the nuptial mass. That was over 20 yrs ago and he still has not changed.

I am glad that there are those of us who do remain single and celibate by choice and I feel it also helps me to have a close relationship with our Lord. If it is Gods will for me then it shall be done.

I was just trying to put myself in others situation, as I said it is hard to do knowing I don’t care to remarry, but I can’t help to feel sympathy for those who were abandoned and then remarried with being denied an annulment. Sorry I did not explain that in the original post.:blush:

I wanted to give you a reputation point to let you know I really like your answer. I agree with what you said and you explained it in such a good way.

You are right we all have free will. I am single, I am 53 years old and have never been married. Why didn’t I marry? Because I never met the right Catholic man that I felt would be someone who I can share my faith with. A man who understand that I didn’t want to have sex before marriage. Marriage is a sacrament and divorce is not an option for two Catholics who are baptized in the Catholic Church. At my age, a man either has the same problem I have had in finding a mate who they can share their Catholic faith with or they must be single because their first wife died. If a Catholic marries a divorced Catholic and the first wife is still alive, I don’t feel sorry for them that they can’t receive Holy communion because they knew that if they married this person that their marriage would not be considered married to this person even though they had a Civil Union and in the eyes of the state were married. If they marry them they then shouldn’t whine that they can’t receive Holy Communion. They made the decision to marry that person and they need to be adult enough to live with the results.

I can’t say that I would never marry a divorced Catholic, because when you say never it usually happens to you. Yet, I also that our marriage would not be considered a true Catholic marriage and I would be considered living in sin. The marriage would be legal with the state, but to the church it would not be a marriage. If I made the choice marrying someone knowing that I would be denied Holy Communion and living in sin, then I wouldn’t whine about it. I don’t know if I would marry someone that I couldn’t be married to in the Catholic church and not have a valid marriage in the eyes of the church.

I think it is important that before Catholics marry that they have marriage classes and know exactly what marriage means within the Catholic church.

True, I agree. It would be a sin.

I think the ‘remarried without annulment’ would consider themselves outcasts knowing they cannot go up and receive communion. Thats why I wondered would they stay in the church or leave to join a Protestant church…

I have no such statistics.And doubt if you can find such.You’ll probably just get people own opinions how often this occurs.

Catholics who sin gravely and have consciences consider themselves as outcasts, but the casting out is done by themselves and with free will. No one can make another Catholic an outcast.

Certainly we can feel sorry for people who by reasons beyond their control and not their own fault have heavy crosses to bear. But specific to the conditions you are stating, lifelong celibacy is not an impossible or inhuman condition, and Protestant churches can only offer snacks for the body rather than the Sacrament to nourish the soul.

Another option is to just ignore the rules and present themselves for Holy Communion anyway; unfortunately many choose this route and shop for a priest who will allow it, and I wish them luck in their journey.

the question is, who are we choosing when we know something is wrong but do it anyways?
we are commanded to love God above all else with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love others as ourselves,
but what is it when we choose something mortally sinful on purpose? it’s not loving God, and it’s not loving your neighbor, and it’s not loving yourself…so what is it?..
the answer is, it is hating God and yourself and your neighbor…but most of all it’s hating God. and why? well, the same way love is in the will, so is hate,
true love is to will good to another, or to desire their good,
but hate is to will bad for another or to desire harm to them,
and in this case, to re-marry without an annulment, would be death to your soul for obvious reasons, and to your spouse for committing adultery, and for Christ it is great suffering, and great displeasure, not because of the physical pain caused by the blows and tearing of His flesh, but by the love for you, which caused Him the greatest suffering,

those who choose mortal sin on purpose do not love God, even if they say they love God or even “feel” an affection for Him…their actions speak louder than their words…you cannot commit a mortal sin purposefully and say “i love God”…
and if it’s that difficult for someone not to choose what they know is wrong, then they have far worse problems than their marriage situation(or lack there of) and they need to work on themselves first…

and can you really call it love when you want to marry someone after you’ve already been married? or what i mean to say is…can you really call it love when you know very well that you will be going to hell for it, and taking your spouse with you?
if you really loved them, you would want what is best for them, despite whether they care or not, you should care,
when your children don’t care if they get hurt jumping on their bed, would that be okay with you because they don’t care, or would you stop them because you don’t want them to get hurt?
when you love someone, all that matters is their well-being.

and as for yourself(not you, but an individual in general) if you don’t care if you go to hell for committing a mortal sin, then you do not love yourself, and if you do not love yourself, then there is no way that you truly love anyone else, it can only be an imperfect love, or a selfish love, but not true love, because true love is the love of God, or “charity”, which is the infused supernatural virtue by which a person loves God above all things for his own sake, and loves others for God’s sake…

as for the issue of being outcasts…or having to suffer through whatever entails such a circumstance…we should be reminded in such sufferings, that no one felt more outcast than Jesus Himself, and no one suffered more…
it seems rare in Catholics nowadays to look at these circumstances as coming from God, and as ultimately good for our souls when we accept and offer them up…
Jesus tells us, that if we wish to be His disciples, to deny ourselves, carry our cross, and follow Him…but where do we find that in today’s society, even among Catholics? we’re all to busy with this life and focused on our worldly cares, to see that spiritually we are starving, or even dead, and dangling over hell…it’s serious, life is so short, we are here to learn to love God, so that we will want to be with Him in heaven…God won’t force us into heaven, and we won’t want to go there if we don’t love God, because that is what heaven is - loving God,
Fulton J. Sheen said, that a sign of the church being in darkness, is when the cross is abandoned…and how very much that is true right now,
we need to get back on the straight and narrow path…we can’t sin just because we will suffer otherwise, there is no excuse, and the suffering that results from sin, either in this life or the next, is far greater than the suffering we feel from denying ourselves in our passions and desires…

i do feel pity for those who suffer, and even for those who sin through weakness, but not for those who sin on purpose…God is certainly displeased with us for sinning through weakness…but He can be even more displeased with a venial sin committed on purpose, than He would be with a mortal sin committed through weakness…
it has everything to do with love, and we must love God first and above all else.

i think it is good that you feel sympathy for those who suffer this way, it means that you care about them…but if you truly wish to love them, then you need to see past those feelings and emotions, and look into their soul, not judgmentally, but mercifully, and see the value and pricelessness of their immortal soul, and above all, see how God loves them, and wants them to be with Him and to be happy.
it’s not an easy thing to deny ourselves when we haven’t practiced mortification or studied our religion or all the other things we are called to do as Catholics, but there’s simply no excuse, we are called to love God, others, and ourselves, and we show whether we love or hate God, others, or ourselves, in our actions.

well, sorry if i made that a bit long, but i hope this helps, take care.

Excellent post :thumbsup:

I enjoyed reading it. Thanks!

Alot of these comments seem to be very self-righteous and ungodly. Only God can judge a persons heart. How do you know that a person wanted to stay married and their spouse left. You cannot control another person’s actions. To judge the person left holding the bag as somewhat less than a worthy Catholic and some how deserving of your scorn seems to be against everything that Christ taught.

Apparently Jesus gives us one chance at a valid marriage and for our sake it better work out or we will spend the rest of our lives single and celibate whether we like it or not.

Please point out any comment that contradicts the Truth of the Church’s teaching on divorce and remarriage.

See post 2 which clearly states we cannot judge a person’s soul.

I am sure an innocent spouse did indeed want to stay married. And, they cannot control the actions of another.

They can, however, control their own.

A married person is not free to contract another marriage to do so is to commit adultery. The fact that their spouse left does not change this fact.

Please point out where anyone has stated this. You cannot.

A person who has been left by their spouse need support, and compassion. They do not need lies in the name of compassion. It is a lie to tell them they can remarry or to encourage it. They cannot. The proper response is to help them live a faithful Catholic life in the circumstances in which they find themselves.

It is true that many Catholics, as this thread proves, have no place in their hearts for a divorced person. These are quotes from individuals that have never experienced the emotional devastation of being abandoned by a spouse & then being abandoned by Catholics as yourself who judged them without any experience with heart ache involved. The best part is that Jesus never abandoned me. He healed my heart.

I ask that you read John 9:1-18, Mark 3:1-6 . They address the self-righteousness and the judgment contained in this thread.

This whole thread is filled with I am holier than you. You are only lucky that you have not experienced it. Judge only your actions. It is God’s job to judge mine.

I will never leave the Catholic Church. I went to Catholic grade school, high school, and graduated from a Catholic college. I will die Catholic and enter heaven as Catholic. I hope to see you there. Please don’t jeopardize your chance by being a harsh judge of other lest you miss the plank in your own. May God bless you and soften your heart.

while we are forbidden to judge the state of anothers soul, or judge that they have gone to hell, or to judge in hypocrisy, however, we are obligated to make judgment of what is sinful, which is one of the spiritual works of mercy, to “admonish” the sinner,
the definition of “judgment” is “the ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting action; good sense; and discretion”
we must make judgment, because to judge is to “form an opinion”, which we do with absolutely everything in our lives, and it’s required in order to be charitable to our neighbor, since we are told to admonish sinners and instruct the ignorant,
but who here is judging hypocritically? is anyone here divorced and remarried, and yet preaching against it?

now, just because we are discussing here what is sinful and what is the right course of action in this particular circumstance, that does not mean we would be cold and uncharitable towards someone who has suffered in this way,
but we must look at it with charity above all else, charity being the love of God, and the love of neighbor for Gods sake,
and so what is more charitable, warning someone that the thing they are about to do is a mortal sin and will take away their sanctifying grace, or be silent and let them ruin both their own life and the life of their partner?
we should be loving and gentle always when admonishing someone, and if someone tends to be harsh or aggressive, then they should not do it, but instead ask someone they know can be kinder to do it,
nothing is more precious than the soul, and no suffering on earth is an excuse to sin, Jesus suffered in His passion more than anyone else in history to show us just how far we must go to avoid sin, at whatever the cost, even death,
Saint Dominic Savio even said very often “death before sin” and he died very young, but now he is happy in heaven…along with many other saints that we know, many of whom were never married, and yet who were very happy and joyful, because they knew what brought true happiness, only God Himself,
of course marriage is very good and a very holy thing, and sure it brings joy, but we should never be willing to offend God for it, because then we show that we love something above God, and it is likewise very ungrateful, and like a slap in the face, because God gave us the sacrament of marriage, and so many take it like it belongs to them or like they deserve it…

and despite all of this, there is no judgment being made that is false or uncharitable, and there is no person being judged either, we are only discussing and speaking the truth,
after all, Jesus and the Apostles spoke out against divorce, and the church teaches against it just the same *"And the Pharisees coming to him asked him: Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. But he answering, saith to them: What did Moses command you? Who said: Moses permitted to write a bill of divorce, and to put her away. To whom Jesus answering, said: Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you that precept.

But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother; and shall cleave to his wife. And they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. And in the house again his disciples asked him concerning the same thing.

And he saith to them: Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if the wife shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery."* Mark 10:2

to not warn against sin is uncharitable, and even hateful, as we read “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart, but reprove him openly, lest thou incur sin through him.” Leviticus 19:17
*“Open rebuke is better than hidden love. Better are the wounds of a friend, than the deceitful kisses of an enemy.” * Proverbs 27:5
“Brethren, and if a man be overtaken in any fault, you, who are spiritual, instruct such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Galatians 6:1
“He that loveth correction, loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is foolish.” Proverbs 12:1

it seems that the word “judgment” is very misunderstood, and it seems the command not to judge is even more misunderstood…others read the passage “judge not, that you may not be judged” and take it in a very modern view, but as we read in the Haydock Bible commentary here “Christ does not altogether forbid judging, but directs us how to judge.” (read the full text here - )
and we also read in the bible “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge just judgment.” John 7:24
so while we are forbidden to judge in one manner, we are commanded to judge in another, and in this case, there is no unjust judgments being made, unless you can find some false statement being made,
and even if someones words seem cold and uncharitable, also keep in mind that you cannot hear the way it is being said, and you should give them the benefit of the doubt.

i understand your feelings on the matter, and i am sorry if i’ve said anything that sounds uncharitable, but either way, i hope this helps you, take care.

But is a person who does not get a decree of nullity necessarily sinning if they choose to date and remarry in another church? I mean, can’t a tribunal make a mistake when judging whether or not a marriage was valid? If they are wrong, and the person asking for an annulment truly believes that they are wrong and have misjudged the facts of the case for whatever reason, then they may choose to leave the Church in order to get remarried out of sheer desperation. The tribunal doesn’t MAKE a marriage valid or invalid.

Yes. They are committing adultery AND they are disobeying the lawful authority put over them by Christ.

The Tribunal is authoritatively binding. So, no, such a person would not be free even if they “believe” their marriage was invalid. Feeelings are not a sufficient indicator of validity or invalidity. If a tribunal, after careful and extensive investigation rules the marriage valid (remember, it’s presumed valid from the start) then the petetioner did not give evidence of invalidity.

The parties are bound by the tribunal decision. They may NOT marry.

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