Why can't my divorced son receive Communion?

My son’s wife left him 10 years ago and would not reconcile. He has 2 daughters from that marriage. He has since remarried and has a 7 year old daughter, He is a wonderful catholic in every way. I do not think that God would punish him in this way - not letting him receive the Body of Christ. I really think that this is a manmade law since priests could be married in ancient times. Is there hope for my son?

Dear friend,

The Church is not punishing you son. He is not allowed to receive Holy Communion simply because he cannot be married to two people at the same time. The state does not have the authority or the power to dissolve what God has declared bound. “What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” (Mk 10:9) This is not a man-made law.

But if it can be proven that a necessary element to a valid marriage was lacking when he first married, then the Church would be able to declare that the marriage was never valid. But unless and until the first marriage is declared null, he is still validly married to his first wife. For a Catholic to marry outside the Catholic Church is not only a mortal sin, the marriage itself is not valid. So every time he has marital relations, he sins.

Now if the first marriage can be annulled, then he would be free to validly marry the mother of his third daughter. If he wants to be able to receive Holy Communion now, he may go to Confession and receive at Mass—IF he lives as brother and sister with his current wife until he is able to have a valid marriage with her. I suggest that he see his priest to learn if an annulment is possible.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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