What can I do at mass


#1

Hi I have been married to my partner for 15 years , she was divorced from her previous marriage . I have approached my local priest as I have tried to return to the church from a time away. I have spoken to him about annulment but with i do not want to put my wife through the pain and after this length of time it seemed that the process would be unsuccessful anyway. we have 2 children and i dont want to cause problems in this marriage for it to break down so not having relations with my wife would be out of the question so basically for me to carry on i have to live without the sacraments and hope for forgiveness. Can I ask am I allowed to just confess then attend mass but not receive communion . Am i allowed to attend all masses as long as i do not take communion. I was confused with what my priest expected of me

nigel


#2

It is a big mistake that is often made by catholics. They think that they can't go to church if they are in a re-marriage situation outside of the church.

Of course you can and should go to church, make adorations, pray rosaries, and so on.
But Holy Communion cannot be received.

Everyone should keep close to the church in any and every way. People who just quit often drift so far away that it is very hard for them to come back when the opportunity does come.
Just keep praying and going to church.

Just some thoughts.


#3

[quote="sivy28, post:1, topic:313526"]
Hi I have been married to my partner for 15 years , she was divorced from her previous marriage . I have approached my local priest as I have tried to return to the church from a time away. I have spoken to him about annulment but with i do not want to put my wife through the pain and after this length of time it seemed that the process would be unsuccessful anyway. we have 2 children and i dont want to cause problems in this marriage for it to break down so not having relations with my wife would be out of the question so basically for me to carry on i have to live without the sacraments and hope for forgiveness. Can I ask am I allowed to just confess then attend mass but not receive communion . Am i allowed to attend all masses as long as i do not take communion. I was confused with what my priest expected of me

nigel

[/quote]

The couple living together would have to eschew sexual relations the temptation at home, and even the scandal in the community if it is known. There was an official statement from the Vatican on it, and the internal forum (individual confession) can sometimes be used to return to the sacraments, when there is no danger of scandal and the occasion of sin is avoided. See Familiaris consortio of H.H. Pope John Paul II, 1981, particularly:

84. Divorced Persons Who Have Remarried

vatican.va/holy_father/jo...sortio_en.html

An interesting talk by H.H. Pope John Paul II to the Roman Rota 2002 in the matrimonial *indissolublity *as a good for spouses, for children, for the Church and for the whole of humanity.

vatican.va/holy_father/jo...n-rota_en.html


#4

Thank you for your kind support , I want to be part of the church but feel excluded maybe it is what god wants i dont now , I must admit i was ignorant of the importance of being prepared for communion before but now i have studied further and now my conscious tells me i am not worthy so i have to try to stay close to the church knowing it will be difficult without fully partaking in the sacraments . maybe this is my cross

regards
Nigel


#5

[quote="sivy28, post:4, topic:313526"]
Thank you for your kind support , I want to be part of the church but feel excluded maybe it is what god wants i dont now , I must admit i was ignorant of the importance of being prepared for communion before but now i have studied further and now my conscious tells me i am not worthy so i have to try to stay close to the church knowing it will be difficult without fully partaking in the sacraments . maybe this is my cross

regards
Nigel

[/quote]

I have no advice for you but I just wanted you to know that you are in my prayers - you are in a very difficult situation, indeed.


#6

Nigel, when you go to Mass and everyone is going up to receive, you can make a spiritual communion while kneeling in your pew.

If you wish to receive our Lord and do not because of your marital situation, you are respecting the sacrament and can repair for those people who go up and shouldn't be. This can be very beneficial to yourself and to others you are praying for, and a very good work!

Spiritual Communion Prayer

My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. 

I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.

Another: My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the most Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You have already come, and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.

Another: Oh Jesus, I turn toward the holy tabernacle where You live hidden for love of me. I love you, O my God. I cannot receive you in Holy Communion. Come, nevertheless, and visit me with Your grace. Come spiritually into my heart. Purify it. Sanctify it. Render it like unto Your own. Amen.

Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

You can read this page on Spiritual Communion...
ourcatholicprayers.com/spiritual-communion.html


#7

[quote="sivy28, post:1, topic:313526"]
Hi I have been married to my partner for 15 years , she was divorced from her previous marriage . I have approached my local priest as I have tried to return to the church from a time away. I have spoken to him about annulment but with i do not want to put my wife through the pain and after this length of time it seemed that the process would be unsuccessful anyway. we have 2 children and i dont want to cause problems in this marriage for it to break down so not having relations with my wife would be out of the question so basically for me to carry on i have to live without the sacraments and hope for forgiveness. Can I ask am I allowed to just confess then attend mass but not receive communion . Am i allowed to attend all masses as long as i do not take communion. I was confused with what my priest expected of me

nigel

[/quote]

Ask again what you need to do to receive the Sacraments. Can her previous marriage be annuled? find out, and apply for one. God is first, so put Him first. It is good to talk about a past failed marriage. Most people find it healing to realize what went wrong, and how they can grow, change, and become a better person, or make better decisions.


#8

[quote="Vico, post:3, topic:313526"]
The couple living together would have to eschew sexual relations the temptation at home, and even the scandal in the community if it is known. There was an official statement from the Vatican on it, and the internal forum (individual confession) can sometimes be used to return to the sacraments, when there is no danger of scandal and the occasion of sin is avoided. See Familiaris consortio of H.H. Pope John Paul II, 1981, particularly:

84. Divorced Persons Who Have Remarried

vatican.va/holy_father/jo...sortio_en.html

An interesting talk by H.H. Pope John Paul II to the Roman Rota 2002 in the matrimonial *indissolublity *as a good for spouses, for children, for the Church and for the whole of humanity.

vatican.va/holy_father/jo...n-rota_en.html

[/quote]

Divorced Persons Who Have Remarried

  1. Daily experience unfortunately shows that people who have obtained a divorce usually intend to enter into a new union, obviously not with a Catholic religious ceremony. Since this is an evil that, like the others, is affecting more and more Catholics as well, the problem must be faced with resolution and without delay. The Synod Fathers studied it expressly. The Church, which was set up to lead to salvation all people and especially the baptized, cannot abandon to their own devices those who have been previously bound by sacramental marriage and who have attempted a second marriage. The Church will therefore make untiring efforts to put at their disposal her means of salvation.

Pastors must know that, for the sake of truth, they are obliged to exercise careful discernment of situations. There is in fact a difference between those who have sincerely tried to save their first marriage and have been unjustly abandoned, and those who through their own grave fault have destroyed a canonically valid marriage. Finally, there are those who have entered into a second union for the sake of the children's upbringing, and who are sometimes subjectively certain in conscience that their previous and irreparably destroyed marriage had never been valid.

Together with the Synod, I earnestly call upon pastors and the whole community of the faithful to help the divorced, and with solicitous care to make sure that they do not consider themselves as separated from the Church, for as baptized persons they can, and indeed must, share in her life. They should be encouraged to listen to the word of God, to attend the Sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer, to contribute to works of charity and to community efforts in favor of justice, to bring up their children in the Christian faith, to cultivate the spirit and practice of penance and thus implore, day by day, God's grace. Let the Church pray for them, encourage them and show herself a merciful mother, and thus sustain them in faith and hope.

However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.

Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children's upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they "take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples."(180)

Similarly, the respect due to the sacrament of Matrimony, to the couples themselves and their families, and also to the community of the faithful, forbids any pastor, for whatever reason or pretext even of a pastoral nature, to perform ceremonies of any kind for divorced people who remarry. Such ceremonies would give the impression of the celebration of a new sacramentally valid marriage, and would thus lead people into error concerning the indissolubility of a validly contracted marriage.

By acting in this way, the Church professes her own fidelity to Christ and to His truth. At the same time she shows motherly concern for these children of hers, especially those who, through no fault of their own, have been abandoned by their legitimate partner.

With firm confidence she believes that those who have rejected the Lord's command and are still living in this state will be able to obtain from God the grace of conversion and salvation, provided that they have persevered in prayer, penance and charity.


#9

You are certainly welcome to attend Holy Mass and any devotion. I have read this in many places.

For example:

*“I earnestly call upon pastors and the whole community of the faithful to help the divorced, and with solicitous care to make sure that they do not consider themselves as separated from the Church, for as baptized persons they can, and indeed must, share in her life.” * --Pope John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Familiaris Consortio (1981), #84.

Quoted in "Separated & Divorced Catholics"

If your parish allows people who are not receiving communion to approach for a blessing, then you can do this also - however, to avoid other liturgical complications, try to approach the priest rather than an Extraordinary Minister. (This subject often causes controversy in this forum, but apologist Michelle Arnold has advised as I have here, namely to follow the custom in your parish).

[quote="sivy28, post:1, topic:313526"]
... I have spoken to him about annulment but with i do not want to put my wife through the pain and after this length of time it seemed that the process would be unsuccessful anyway. ...

[/quote]

15 years should not be a problem for getting an annulment. It depends much more on the strength of the initial case. Yes, it is uncomfortable and can hurt, but it is usually worth it.


#10

OOnce again I cannot thank you enough for your support. My wife was separated for five years when I met her. She had been married for 18, years. I she is not Catholic. I was un baptized, when I got married and had an adult baptism in the Anglican church. I later converted to Catholic. The more knowledge I have gained the more I realise the situation I'm in. I she is a good woman and we have 2, lovely children and I do not want to ruin this family by causing problems in our relationship my priest thinks that the annulment would be unlikely. I do think it is hard though if I had murdered someone then it would be easier for me to reconcile myself back with the church. Thanks again for your replies


#11

[quote="sivy28, post:10, topic:313526"]
...I do think it is hard though if I had murdered someone then it would be easier for me to reconcile myself back with the church. ..

[/quote]

:sad_yes:

I think it's just wonderful that you have found the Catholic faith and are persevering in it, despite these obstacles.

I will say prayers for you and your family.

~ Edmundus


#12

Of course you are allowed to and should attend Mass but like any Catholic in a state of mortal sin you may not receive Communion.


#13

i recommend you contact the marriage tribunal in your Diocese and explain your situation to them. Your parish priest is a good place to start, but the people at the tribunal may be more knowledgeable.

You say you were not baptized when you married your wife, then were baptised in the Anglican church and then converted to Catholicism. Someone should have helped you to address the question about your marriage at the time of your conversion. Did your marriage come up at all when you converted?


#14

Oddly enough it came up very close to the day of conversion. I asked the priest if it was a problem and he did looked shocked but said we would go through with it as we had come this far I can honestly say I didn’t know about not being able to not receive the sacraments. Now I understand I have to accept that this is what’s required of me but I don’t feel I’m a proper Christian as I cannot be reconciled.


#15

[quote="sivy28, post:14, topic:313526"]
Oddly enough it came up very close to the day of conversion. I asked the priest if it was a problem and he did looked shocked but said we would go through with it as we had come this far I can honestly say I didn't know about not being able to not receive the sacraments. Now I understand I have to accept that this is what's required of me but I don't feel I'm a proper Christian as I cannot be reconciled.

[/quote]

I had a similar situation with my god son - his wife happened to mention to me that they were in an irregular marriage, at the RCIA Retreat! I mentioned it to Father, and he didn't want to deal with the situation, so I did what I could to get them on the path to regularize their marriage, and I prayed for them every day. They had their real wedding a few months later, and I was so proud of them for getting through all of that and doing the right thing.

I still see them - they are a really nice couple, and so happy together. :)


#16

I struggle with pointing this out but I believe it needs to be said: The reason you can't receive communion is that you are living in a state of objective mortal sin. It is your salvation that is at stake. Is there anything more important than that?
AMDG
jsa


#17

Thanks black robe but this is the point I was trying to make
I am now fully aware of what my involvement in the catholic church will entail but i must say I struggle with this law but accept it . I did not have the benefit of being raised a catholic so was not aware of the implications of falling in love with someone who had been married before. I had my adult baptism in the anglican church after my marriage so hoped that god would forgive me. But as I learn’t more I sought the truth of the original christian church so went on to convert to becoming a catholic. So now i have discovered I cannot be a full part of it there is no forgiveness for this as in other sins . My wife (non Catholic ) is a good woman , she has been a nurse for 35 years and has a good heart and is ever compassionate with her patients , we have been married for 15 years and have 2 fantastic children who we have bought up as best we can . I find it difficult that I would be expected to risk this marriage because we could not be forgiven , I will continue in the church without the sacraments in the hope that our lord has mercy on us when judgement comes. How could I now expect my wife to understand that we could now not have a full relationship and then expect to carry on as normal . But I do feel worse for those who for no fault of there own have lost there marriage and are then expected to live without having a full relationship in the future unless they are lucky enough to have it annulled

Nigel


#18

[quote="blackrobe, post:16, topic:313526"]
I struggle with pointing this out but I believe it needs to be said: The reason you can't receive communion is that you are living in a state of objective mortal sin. It is your salvation that is at stake. Is there anything more important than that?
AMDG
jsa

[/quote]

That is not the case. Pope John Paul II does not mention sin as the reason, but rather this...

However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.

Familiaris Consortio of Pope John Paul II

He also mentions the duties of the community to such people...

Together with the Synod, I earnestly call upon pastors and** the whole community of the faithful to help the divorced, and with solicitous care to make sure that they do not consider themselves as separated from the Church, for as baptized persons they can, and indeed must, share in her life. They should be encouraged to listen to the word of God, to attend the Sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer, to contribute to works of charity and to community efforts in favor of justice, to bring up their children in the Christian faith, to cultivate the spirit and practice of penance and thus implore, day by day, God's grace. **Let the Church pray for them, encourage them and show herself a merciful mother, and thus sustain them in faith and hope.

The document also mentions that there are varying degrees of culpability for those who have divorced and remarried, with less culpability for the innocent victims of divorce. Surely the person who has married another divorced person, before being baptised, has the least possible culpability.

I trust that your intentions were good but please be more careful before making such blunt statements, which can be very hurtful and discouraging.


#19

[quote="sivy28, post:17, topic:313526"]
Thanks black robe but this is the point I was trying to make
I am now fully aware of what my involvement in the catholic church will entail but i must say I struggle with this law but accept it . I did not have the benefit of being raised a catholic so was not aware of the implications of falling in love with someone who had been married before. I had my adult baptism in the anglican church after my marriage so hoped that god would forgive me. But as I learn't more I sought the truth of the original christian church so went on to convert to becoming a catholic. So now i have discovered I cannot be a full part of it there is no forgiveness for this as in other sins . My wife (non Catholic ) is a good woman , she has been a nurse for 35 years and has a good heart and is ever compassionate with her patients , we have been married for 15 years and have 2 fantastic children who we have bought up as best we can . I find it difficult that I would be expected to risk this marriage because we could not be forgiven , I will continue in the church without the sacraments in the hope that our lord has mercy on us when judgement comes. How could I now expect my wife to understand that we could now not have a full relationship and then expect to carry on as normal . But I do feel worse for those who for no fault of there own have lost there marriage and are then expected to live without having a full relationship in the future unless they are lucky enough to have it annulled

Nigel

[/quote]

I just want to point out that there must be full contrition for sin in order for it to be forgiven. The fact that you will still be married and having relations with someone who (in the eyes of the Church) is still married to someone else is to still continue in sin. That is the issue. Not that there is not forgiveness of sin...there is...but first you have to get out of it.

The problem is that in the eyes of the Church you are married to someone else's wife. I concur with the other poster...an annulment can be quite healing and help us to learn what went wrong the first time. This would strength your marriage. I would discuss it with the tribunal...if it were me.


#20

[quote="sivy28, post:14, topic:313526"]
Oddly enough it came up very close to the day of conversion. I asked the priest if it was a problem and he did looked shocked but said we would go through with it as we had come this far I can honestly say I didn't know about not being able to not receive the sacraments. Now I understand I have to accept that this is what's required of me but** I don't feel I'm a proper Christian as I cannot be reconciled.**

[/quote]

You have mentioned this in several places. I don't believe the situation is as stark as you've seen it, or as some here have presented it. Yes, your marital situation, without annulment, does prevent you from receiving the sacraments, but the Church encourages you to have as full a Catholic life as possible, without constantly reminding yourself of your marital state.

I recommend that you take your concerns directly to your pastor (again). If he is not encouraging, then feel free to find another pastor who is more encouraging. You have that liberty.

Here's just a suggestion, and I don't know how it would go down with a priest, but it's worth asking. Perhaps you can have reconcilation without absolution? Namely, you confess your sins and receive a blessing rather than absolution at the end.

As I mentioned in a previous post, you are free to approach (the priest) at communion time for a blessing, if that is the custom in your parish (and, it is the custom in most parishes).

I will keep you and your family in my prayers.


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