Can I still receive the sacraments?

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If you are a separated or divorced Catholic and you have not remarried without a decree of nullity (annulment), you are welcome and encouraged to attend mass and receive the sacraments. The Catholic teaching on divorce and remarriage is that all marriages are considered to be validly sacramental unless proven otherwise through the annulment process, therefore, remarriage without a decree of nullity would constitute a person having two spouses, which is immoral. If you are in this situation you are not permitted to receive the Holy Eucharist, but certainly are welcome and encouraged to attend mass because you are still an important part of the Catholic Church, the body of Christ. If you have remarried without an annulment and would like to be in full communion with the Church, please talk to your parish priest about the possibility of initiating the annulment process.

An exception to being separated or divorced and being able to receive the sacraments would apply if you are someone who deliberately destroyed your marriage by divorcing for selfish reasons, such as abandoning your spouse for another relationship, a career, or to be free of the responsibility of being married. There are many reasons why spouses divorce, but if you find yourself in the position of having willfully abandoned your spouse for immoral reasons, it is necessary to discuss your situation with a priest before receiving any of the sacraments of the Catholic Church.

If you haven’t remarried but are in an physically intimate relationship with someone other than your spouse, you must receive the sacrament of reconciliation (confession) before taking Communion, and this is something that applies to all people, whether they are married, separated, divorced, never married, or consecrated, and not intended to single out divorced men and women.


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8 Comments

  1. Roy-811837 January 7, 2013 Reply

    Can a single person marry a widow

  2. Roy-811837 January 7, 2013 Reply

    can a single unmarried person can marry a widow

    • Lisa Duffy Author
      Lisa Duffy January 31, 2013 Reply

      Yes, Roy, a single, unmarried person can marry a widow. Thanks for your question!

      – Lisa Duffy

  3. Melisha-954385 April 13, 2013 Reply

    This reminds me, I need to start the annulment process myself.

  4. Myrna-889769 April 29, 2013 Reply

    A person can marry anyone, as long as the couple is in good standing with their parish and Diocese.

  5. Myrna-889769 April 29, 2013 Reply

    There is nothing wrong with marrying a widow as long as the party believes in Christ and is willing to obey the rules of the Roman Catholic Church.
    It’s not to format one’s own rules and to expect the church and the laity to agree with one’s perception of what is right and wrong.
    Obedience is very important and one’s relationship with Jesus Christ and mother Mary.

  6. Rosy-1188683 March 3, 2015 Reply

    What if i got married twice and got divorced with both? How or what should I do to receive the sacraments? Can I still do an annulment from the first husband that I married by church? The first divorce was since 2004.

  7. John B. August 19, 2015 Reply

    There are many reasons why spouses divorce, but if you find yourself in the position of having willfully abandoned your spouse for immoral reasons, it is necessary to discuss your situation with a priest before receiving any of the sacraments of the Catholic Church.\

    This statement is misleading at best, Lisa, you must know that causing the end to a Sacramental marriage for any reason without clergy approval (to make sure abuse is abuse) is wrong… Immoral reasons??? are you serious…. imagine you are reading that after divorcing your spouse because he snores… not immoral reasoning… OK with the Church to receive the Eucharist? Is that what you believe? See the Catechism on what it takes to have a proper conscience… in moral matters it is still mortal sin if you do not know if you did not check…. every Catholic should suspect divorce is wrong.. Jesus said it was except for incest… If one chooses to guess and that “God understands” they are still culpable. Please review Church teaching from the Catechism and Canon law and disclose what it actually says… Divorce is grave matter…. Not just divorce and remarriage…. No clergy approval? Not in concert with church teaching….

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