The Truth

I recently had a discussion with my parish priest and other employees of our parish. (I work as a religious ed coordinator there) We were discussing what the best way to approach those who come in to be married but need to get an annulment first is. The deacon brought up the concern that many of them are just leaving the church or aren’t coming to mass at all since they cannot receive communion. (If they are living together or have already gotten remarried through the state) Many people felt we should try to be as warm and welcome as possible which I agree with but they almost started to sound like we should try to find a way for them to receive communion or get them married without an annulment because these people feel as if the church is not accepting them. It seems as if today all some people care about is making others “feel good” about themselves and get them what they want instead of following the rules and truth of the church. I brought up my opinion that while yes, we always want to be kind and loving we must never mask the truth and the truth is that they may not receive communion if they are in a state of mortal sin and they should not remarry if they were not granted an annulment.
So any of you that work as clergy or lay people in the church could you give me some advice to share about how you handle those who want to get married but don’t have an annulment or those who say they won’t come to mass because they can’t receive the Eucharist?

Thank you

I have seen this a lot, where people get divorced, and rather than admit divorce is wrong, look to find a denomination that will accept divorce.

It isn’t limited to divorce. Some homosexuals seem to find it easier to leave the Church and, again, look for a denomination that will tell them homosexuality is “okay” rather than admit it’s not.

As to how to handle it, if asked, I would just refer them back to the scripture passage where Christ said that from the beginning, God made us male and female, and that although Moses permitted divorce, it was never God’s plan. Any church that tells one otherwise is going against the teachings of Christ!

Now, a lot of people seem to leave the Catholic Church, because it’s harder to be Catholic than it is many other faiths. It’s hard to live the gospel without compromise. Christ told us to obey the commandments and rules he set forth.

Christ said to enter through the narrow door, that the way to hell is wide and easy. We are to take up our cross and follow him, hard as that may be.

I agree with you and I think that while many others I work around are more concerned about keeping people in the pews despite what that might take, I think at a certain point all you can do is tell the truth in love. I think maybe helping them understand the deeper meaning and theology behind why they cannot marry again or why they should not receive communion could help but if they choose not to come back then that’s something that cannot always be prevented or helped besides with prayer of course.

Just tell them the TRUTH as clearly and plainly as you can and trust God to do the rest.

Anyone who works for the Church has a sacred duty to deliver the TRUTH about what the Church really believes and teaches on stuff. It isn’t anyone’s right to pass on what they THINK should be the truth or what they guess to be the truth or what they’d like to be the truth. If you answer for the Church, you better get it right because you will be judged on what you pass along.

If they aren’t ready to receive the Eucharist, then let them know that. Do not be afraid! (Hmmmmmmm… who said that of recent memory?) Do not be afraid to tell them the truth about the Sacrilege they will commit if they receive Communion in Mortal sin and if their marriage isn’t regular, they need to amend it BEFORE receiving.

God bless you for your efforts.


Thank you, I agree with you. Unfortunately I am a very orthodox Catholic working at a somewhat liberal Catholic church and it seems as if some of the people here care more about getting a lot of new people to sign up and making them feel “warm and fuzzy” inside than actually sticking to the teachings of the Church.

That is indeed a problem for the Catholic Church. Many would rather leave and find another denom that fits with their situation, almost all protestant churches fit this area. i know when i was told 15 years ago that to become Catholic i would have to have all my hubbys previous marriages annulled i felt sad, then angry, then despair so i left RCIA.
Now i am back and working thru all the annulment processes, and praying that it will work out. i had a Catholic couple i know talk with me about what all i was going thru and the wife said, “we were going to have to do that so we just found another diocese that was liberal and went thru it there.” WOW!!! i am thinking, is that not lying to God? cheating the system? from what i understand our diocese office is traditional and although i am miserable/sad not being able to partake of the sacraments, i know one day i will be able and without any underlying guilt or judgement later from our Lord for finding an alternative and questionable way.

Many people do not understand why marriage is any of the Church’s business, so they don’t feel like they should have to go through the details of why their marriage fell apart with people they don’t know (the marriage tribunal). These people need people in the Church to earn their trust and to support them as they go through the annulment process.

Don’t assume that they know what to ask for or how to go about getting things done that need to be done. Try to help them at where they are at. They have taken the first step by going to the church to ask to get married. They may need to be guided on what step needs to be done next and how to go about it.

I assume your previous marriages weren’t catholic marriages, so why would you have to go through annulments if they weren’t recognised as sacramental by the church anyway? This doesn’t seem right…why do you have to invalidate something that is not valid anyway…:confused:

Well, for starters, there appears to be a marriage. And the appearance needs to be addressed.

If one of the parties at the time off the marriage was Catholic, then the process is relatively quick and does not entail all the work of two Catholics going through the annulment process, or two Protestants.

Nothing is being “invalidated”’; it is being judged as either sacramental, or not sacramental. The Church takes marriage very seriously; much more seriously than all too many Catholics, or for that matter, non-Catholics.

Whoever does it needs the wisdom of Solomon and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And it would not hurt in the least if they were steeped in prayer. There are not too many situations more likely to result in people picking up and leaving the Church. The truth needs to be addressed; but the process of addressing it takes more skill than simply using a verbal baseball bat.

many Catholics assume this as well and are confused when i explain what i am going through but the Catholic Church recognizes all marriages as valid when it comes to non-catholics. this is my first marriage but not my hubby’s first marriage so the church cannot confirm me until my marriage is considered valid which means hubby’s must be annulled.

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