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May a person who is divorced but not remarried receive Communion?

Full Question

May a person who is divorced but not remarried receive Communion?


While Church teaching recognizes the seriousness of divorce, it understands that:

1. There are situations in which civil divorce may be necessary:

“If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense” (CCC 2383), and

2. Divorce may occur due to no fault of an innocent spouse:

It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law. There is a considerable difference between a spouse who has sincerely tried to be faithful to the sacrament of marriage and is unjustly abandoned, and one who through his own grave fault destroys a canonically valid marriage. (CCC 2386)
In such cases, divorce is not sinful for that person and he or she may continue to receive Communion. However, in other cases—as with all serious sin—a divorced person should go to confession immediately, prior to receiving Communion. If a divorced person later remarries invalidly he or she would then be prohibited from receiving Communion as long as that situation persists or until he or she has gone to confession and committed to living chastely. The Catechism explains:
Today there are numerous Catholics in many countries who have recourse to civil divorce and contract new civil unions. In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ—”Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery”—the Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God’s law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic Communion as long as this situation persists. For the same reason, they cannot exercise certain ecclesial responsibilities. Reconciliation through the sacrament of penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence. (CCC 1650)
Answered by Jim Blackburn


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  1. I divorced 3 years ago after 13 1 / 2 years of marriage my ex wife caused me too many problems . One of the problems was she accused women in my Parish of wanting to sleep with me. I was very faithful to her. I took the advice of my Pastor and divorced her she has other issues. A week before our divorce she came in the Church we were married in and threatened to kill if I divorced her the day of the divorce she never showed up at the divorce hearing. I decided that the divorce to move away from my hometown I miss the job I had in my Parish as a Sacristan.

    • Not an easy one to give a reply. Jealousy seemed to be at the heart of her grievances and in most cases this cannot be resolved if not through time but inevitably it is always the other party which has always to demonstrate fidelity and at times no matter how much one demonstrate such it is not accepted and such continues until realisation is achieved. Unfortunately much of ones serene life as a couple is lost. It is difficult to combat and provide reassurance for such insecurity and it is well advise to move on in life no matter how difficult it is when faced with such a dilemma for no reason to oneself failings. Hopefully she will, through time, reconcile with herself and accept she was unreasonable beyond tolerance and your serenity will eventually be achieved once such errors of uncontrollable emotions are understood.

    • Patrick, to me it sounds like she had deeper problems then the rest of us know! If one threatens to kill~ that sounds very off balance to me. You did the right thing in my eyes! I wish you the best and that you can move on with your life to make it the best!!

  2. A couple are married in the Church. The wife seeks a consensual civil separation. From the time of asking such a separation, its discovered within two weeks she has a relationship and he asks for a judicial separation based on her committing adultery. Much legal stuff takes place for two years under the knowledge she has a new companion which she always describes just as a friend. A separate declaration is made by the friend which states it was his wish to start a relationship. She always denies that a relationship never existed before asking for a consensual relationship. Eventually the parties reach an agreement which ends in a consensual civil separation, after the friend is abandoned by her. She returns to the church having gone to confession, becomes active in church duties such as the teaching of catechism to children and takes communion. Both do not have any relationships with other people. However, he has irrefutable clear evidence she was unfaithful albeit always denied. Is she, therefore, allowed to have communion with God? Both parties meet and talk regularly, have a child under civil joint custody agreements, but live apart.

      • We are asked to forgive 70×7… Every marriage has highs…and lows… We move t higher ground when we work through those lower ground problems such as infidelity, jealousy, hurt feelings, etc. keep your eye on the goal…for yourself, your child and your spouse… Run the good race…fight the good fight… For Heaven is your Eternal goal and reward… It sounds to me as if your marriage is worth saving… Do it!

        • Thank you kindly for your thoughtful words. No matter what the difficulties are one is making all attempts possible at saving the marriage, for our child and indeed spouse. I also know if I give-up its finished, so as long as I continue, there is hope. These efforts are noted by my spouse who understands, without putting it in words, what I’m trying to achieve, as ultimately, I dearly wish for my daughter to have a true loving family.
          My one concern is that I think she is scared to lose face with those few people around her, including her ex-lover even though they are no longer together, but remain aware of each others activities since they share employment at the same company, albeit now separated having changes offices and town so as to avoid further contact.
          Having realised her mistakes and coming back to the church this could well be the key for her to make a leap of faith. Certainly living a stones throw from Assisi in Italy does help. However, the one question which somehow I have problems in finding an answer is the point of communion and I do not wish to take this up with the local parish priest at the church which she attends as I know he is also trying to pull us together again by attending Sunday Mass as a family.
          Anyhow, thank you for your encouragement..!!!

        • What if the man you married deceived you? I married a man who simply married me to cover the fact he is a homosexual. I have two children from that marriage. I divorced him. Do you honestly think that I should have worked through the frequent beatings and deceit?

    • The Catholic Church absolutely recognizes ALL civil marriages. It does not recognize civil divorce, hence annulments (coming from a married outside the church, divorced, and now converted Catholic) I was married and divorced before I was ever Catholic, I still have to seek an annulment if I want to remarry.

    • I did not believe that the civil divorce was regarded in anyway with the Catholic Church! My understanding was only if married within the Catholic Church and that the civil marriage also is not considered my the Catholic Church! The only way one can get an annulment would be through the Pope! The Pope being Catholic only annuals Catholics! I was married in the Catholic Church and got a civil divorce, so I can still receive communion due to circumstances, however, if I choose to remarry I would need an annulment from the Pope! Also Cohabitation is not accepted within the Catholic Church! If cohabiting then you may not receive communion unless you stop and ask forgiveness from confession. That is my understanding!

      • Joy, you misunderstand. Civil marriages are considered valid. Marriage between two non-Catholics is considered valid. A marriage between a Catholic and a non Catholic is not considered valid. I was protestant and had to get an annulment before I could marry my Catholic wife. Our marriage was considered valid even though I was non-Catholic because we got a dispensation from the Bishop. Without the dispensation it would be considered not valid. The Bishop has the authority to grant an annulment, even to a protestant. The annulment isn’t something he gave me, it was the Church declaring that a marriage was invalid and thus never happened. BTW I have since become Catholic.

      • @Patrick: there’s really no such thing as being ‘remarried’ within the Church. As this article states, the Catholic Church defends the Lord’s intention for marriage which does not include divorce and remarriage because that is adultery. If Catherine believes she had a valid marriage within the Catholic Church, then she is asked to remain chaste and celibate, as all single laypersons are expected to be. If Catherine believes she had an invalid marriage, she is asked to remain chaste and celibate, as all single laypersons are expected to be, but can begin an inquiry into annulment and a tribunal can investigate whether she is able to marry in the Church. She could talk to her pastor about that possibility and he can answer any questions she might have.
        @Catherine: I have done in the past what you are speaking of, and have repented of it. I accept Church teaching that sex is intended for those in a valid marital union within the Church and that celibacy is a requirement of the single in the laity. I have come to believe that not only was I jeopardizing my own soul by participating in fornication, I was jeopardizing the soul of another as well. I have been celibate for 8 years now and receive grace in Mass that I don’t receive elsewhere. It’s a hard place to be, where you’re at, so I empathize. Scripture warns about receiving the Lord’s bread unworthily and that doing so brings judgement against oneself. I don’t want to encourage you in sin, but I understand you are in a relationship. I would recommend this: Please keep attending Mass but do not receive Communion until you are ready to reconcile yourself to the Lord. Also, I would recommend speaking with your pastor. He might help free you from your conflict and encourage your desire to be Holy.

  3. Forgive me but this is not directly related to the topic Divorce and Communion but civil marriage and Communion rather. Since we had our civil wedding with my wife I never received Christ through the Communion in the belief that I am only worthy to do so if only we are married by the Church. What is the stand of our Catholic Church regarding civil wedding and Communion?

    • If you are not previously divorced, and she is your first wife, and you are her first husband, you should be OK, but you should talk to your priest. In my understanding, a marriage is a marriage in the eyes of God, but in the churches eyes, there is no divorce. Only a marriage that wasn’t valid.

    • If they’re not in a state of mortal sin, baptized and confirmed in the church. It’s a matter of confession and doing the examination of conscience before eating it as to not eat and drink condemnation on yourself.
      It’s not a matter of excluding, but protecting people from the condemnation promised if you eat and drink unworthily.

    • Sinners do receive Holy Communion, every week. Sometimes daily. If you have committed a mortal sin, however, you need to reconcile yourself to the Lord before eating His body and drinking His blood, through the sacrament of reconciliation, otherwise you bring judgement upon yourself. That may only be meaningful if you are baptized and Catholic. Here’s a very thorough link on the differences between mortal and venial sin, references to both in Scripture, and evaluation of types of sins that are opposed to the Ten Commandments:
      But maybe you are referring to Protestants and Evangelicals not being able to receive communion in the Catholic Church – which is not to say that they are not welcome. It is possible to visit the Mass without receiving communion. Because of differences in beliefs, it simply is not possible to legitimately offer the sacrament of Holy Communion to anyone who does not believe that the Eucharist is the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Here’s a link to information regarding the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA):
      Or there is a parish nearby you where you can ask a pastor about his belief in the Eucharist, or you can contact the Archdiocese in your area for more information.
      God bless!

  4. my husband is a foreigner protestant, he is divorce for like 13 year now. He has been married in their protestant church with his ex wife. Now he is civil married to me for 4 years now . I am catholic and i wanted much a church wedding but as i understand it i can not marry in to the catholic church with a divorce man. Now he ex wife got married in church again with his new live in partner. Is it possible that my husband and i can marry to the catholic church which i belong?

      • I did not believe that the civil divorce was regarded in anyway with the Catholic Church! My understanding was only if married within the Catholic Church and that the civil marriage also is not considered my the Catholic Church! The only way one can get an annulment would be through the Pope! The Pope being Catholic only annuals Catholics! I was married in the Catholic Church and got a civil divorce, so I can still receive communion due to circumstances, however, if I choose to remarry I would need an annulment from the Pope! Also Cohabitation is not accepted within the Catholic Church! If cohabiting then you may not receive communion unless you stop and ask forgiveness from confession.

  5. I had foreigner boyfriend now, his married before on civil wedding ,he is separated for one year and now his plan to file divorce on his ex wife, so that we can marry . There is a possible that we can marry on the catholic church? Were both catholic . And me rarely single .Thanks

  6. god loves us all even those who are not catholic ,most rules are man made ,we may get a shock to find out the real truth when we die ,the church has to many rules ordinary people can not live up to ,but god allows us to be human .
    worry is the biggest trouble within the catholic faith ,we strive to please men in cloth rather than love our fellow brothers ..

    • Simon, when I get to Heaven, I know I’m going to be glad for sins I didn’t commit. I am happy today for the Lord’s intercession in my life and the ability to repent. I know I’m a sinner and I rely on His mercy. It’s hard to get straight to the Lord following discussions of divorce and annulment, but the Catholic belief that marriage is between one man and one woman for the entirety of their natural lives comes directly from the teachings of Jesus Himself. I don’t know that I strive to please men in cloth, but I do believe their presence in the confessional provides me a clean conscience with which to better serve my fellow brothers – both in and out of the Church. I hope that I can continue to be an example of Christian virtue in my community. Here’s a relevant passage from the Gospel of Luke 12:48 – From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.

  7. what is far worst than divorced and annulment? is that the hypocrisy of having an illegitimate Child while Practising your Priesthood taking the vow of Celibacy. Church must not Judge the Divorced and annulled for many of us do not experienced it yet. give the sacrament of communion for God of Moses gave the manna from heaven not only for the righteous but also for the sinners.

    • The Catholic Church teaches that we are all sinners. As Catholics we leave the judging up to God. If you want to receive the true Body and Blood of Christ then join the Catholic Church and participate as a practicing Catholic. The Catholic Church is open to every man and woman on the planet. Whether or not they choice to live faithfully to it and follow the teachings that Christ himself instilled upon it, is their decision.

    • They don’t ‘judge’ the divorced. They judge whether a marriage was a valid sacremental union or not based on the facts. They ask that the remarried don’t take communion until an annulment is decided upon, as they would either be an adulterer, or in the clear. You know, all those scriptures that say to examine yourself before partaking of the body and blood of Christ, lest you eat and drink condemnation upon yourself. It’s not the judgement of the Church, but God’s judgement on that person/people, that the church is worried about.

  8. Well, there are plenty of other churches that will welcome..we the divorced and remarried…..and they will let us partake in communion. The Roman Catholic Church is losing thousands and thousands of people every year. You may say ..they are not the faithful. Fine. Empty churches will be still empty when the faithless go elsewhere. The R.C. Church does not hold the patent of Christ. Other, loving, Christ-Centered Churches exist based on Christ’s true message. Love Now Another. It’s the R.C’s loss.

    • “The R.C. Church does not hold the patent of Christ” – Yes, indeed it does. Christ began Catholicism and it is the Church which He founded and upon which He instilled His teachings. Be careful when you talk about ‘loss’. You are not the judge of what is a ‘loss’. it may well be yourself.

      • Kathleen, your words are harsh and judgmental. Other churches are also Christ-Centered. The Lutheran Church began due to the terrible behavior of the Popes in Rome (purchasing Indulgences). Look at the horrible abuse inflicted on innocent children by Catholic priests that finally came to light after being hidden by the Church for decades. What do you mean by “it may well be yourself”? How would you know what is in my heart? Why must I be careful when I talk about loss? The Catholic Church in Southern New England has lost thousands and thousands of parishioners. Catholic parishes and esp. Catholic schools are closing every month. That is the factual loss I speak of. The Episcopal Church is very similar to the R.C. church. They allow priests to marry and recognize divorce in certain situations. Choice is in the heart and to judge another does not seem Christ-Like to me. He preaches love, tolerance and esp. acceptance. Peace.

        • Just because some popes in Rome behaved very sinfully, Luther did not have a valid reason for abandoning the Church Christ Founded. Kathleen’s words were not harsh or Judgmental at all. They were very honest. I am sorry if this invalidates your beliefs. Christ’s teachings were not easy to follow. Which is why droves left him over certain teachings (John Chapter 6). Or to say this. 13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14. Christ Preached love. Tolerance is a new modern invention. Was it peace when he drove the merchants from the temple with a whip of rope? He loved the sinners, but he never condoned their sin. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.” John 20:23
          “The Episcopal Church is very similar to the R.C. church. They allow priests to marry and recognize divorce in certain situations. ”
          This is the very reason you should stick with the Catholic Church. Who’s position on such issues have not changed.
          “And on this Rock I will build my Church. And the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18

          • I agree with Peter. I’d also like to add…if a person (R.C.) TRULY believed that Christ IS substantially PRESENT in the Holy Eucharist, WHY would they go to another church, even the Episcopal Church? ONLY in the R.C. Church will one find the TRUE presence of Christ, to be consumed. (To coin Peter the Apostle, when Christ asked him if he also wanted to leave…”To WHOM shall we go? ONLY YOU have the words of Eternal Life!!!”) A Christ-centered church is a commendable thing, but I need MORE, I need CHRIST HIMSELF!

          • Kay,
            Another good post. This is (one of) the reasons I left the Episcopal church and became Catholic last year.

          • Good for YOU, aymamibrockway! I believe if more folks (even Catholics) really KNOW what they have, everyone should RUN, don’t walk into a Catholic Church! After all, that’s what we ALL want…to be WITH Christ! How much closer can one get in this world!

  9. my first marriage was in a catholic church . we divorced and I remarried by a judge . and got divorced again . my first wife is deceased . can I remarry in a catholic church .

    • I think that you are on the clear. Actually, you need to ask a priest, but because of the death of the first wife, you are a widow. All the years that you lived with your second wife, that is looked at as adultery or fornication; a fairly serious sin. But all you need to do, if you have not done so yet, is to pray, do a real good exam of conscience and go to confession.

  10. Divorced or not, they are still the children of god. They should not be left aside. They are still our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.

    • Divorce is a sin, confess and stay chaste, and you’re good to go. I’m in that boat. Remarry? Church does not recognize divorce, get an annulment… Remarry, and you’re good.
      Nobody is ever being left outside by being denied communion while in a public state of sin. The community is protecting them from drinking condemnation on themselves as is written about the eucharist.

  11. Your situation is not regular. As a Catholic, from what I understand, you CANNOT go to Communion in that condition. Civil unions are natural marriages. Catholics are called to Sacramental unions. You need to prepare for marriage in the Church and after that part becomes regular, that you should be able to go to confession and communion. Your state from the Catholic view is similar to fornication, I believe, BECAUSE you are Catholic,

  12. Hello I have question too I was married only in register office but not church and we did divorce is it mean that I can’t get married again? This time I want to get married in church

  13. It is only in the human understanding that this situation of marriage each party justifies themselves that they do not committing sin. However, while it is true that annulment in Civil Marriage is a different thing from the Marriage from the Church. It is only the civil marriage when annulment has been granted is being annulled, but the force/effect of the Church Marriage is still in effect and forceful until one of either party between husband or wife one of them dies. This is the time that Church Marriage obligation or effect is extinguished. Neither in any churches canon law been approved of Church Marriage annulment. Why? this is like an indelible ink that when Church Marriage have done both parties are committed till death do us part. It is only by death that can separate the couple from obligation. So, it is clear that a divorcee individual that Civil Marriage annulment been granted cannot off-the-hook of the obligation as a Holy Couple because of the Sacrament of Matrimony afforded by the church. The church stands not to aggrevate the sin, they do no allow to receive communion while they are under such trials. Why compromise to further received the sacrament of communion when in reality their is no effect, so it is rather sound and proper to cease from receiving communion until such time comes when everything been put to proper and back to the state of grace. Godbless us! Fr. JG.

    • You will also find that the term ‘Sola Scriptura’ is not in the Bible, which is the doctrine written by Martin Luther that has led you to ask that question. So we are both following doctrine that is not specifically detailed within the Bible. The fact of the matter is that the Lord did not give authority to teach to His Book, but to His Church, who uses the Lord’s Word to instruct the faithful, but also develops doctrine to support the needs of believing Christians within the Church. Here’s a link to an explanation of the annulment process:
      Personally, I think the notion of the annulment originates from a desire to be merciful. It can be a healing process that examines the 5 things required for a Catholic marriage to be considered valid (which are presumed to have been in place at the time of the marriage) and helps identify what was missing.

  14. When a couple separate through a civil court both can still have communion no matter who is at fault. However, the guilty party does have a requirement to go to confession at a diocese which is not where they regularly attend. If, following separation, this progresses to a civil divorce, the guilty party is then not allowed communion while the other party is allowed communion in private. A church annulment acknowledges to both parties that their union was not a marriage. Once granted both parties can then receive communion and indeed marry within the church (not re-marry as the first marriage was not a sacramental marriage in the eyes of the church).

    • Each party can have communion as long as they’ve gone to confession. It’s not a matter of guilt or forcing blame on one party or another, that’s between them and their confessor. Please don’t spread false doctrine. Neither party cannot, however, have communion if they start a new relationship, especially a sexual one, or remarry, before a church annulment is given.

  15. pclark36. I do not spread false doctrine and have no wish for my thoughts to be interpreted in such a way. Indeed I agree with the first part of your statement however I would check in more detail on the last sentence in your statement and interested to read your comments. I have been told by the church what I have written, in particular, if the couple do not obtain a church annulment. Regards…

    • Not sure what your problem with my last sentence is, Canon law says without an annulment, they are to live as brother and sister of they have remarried and an annulment hasn’t been granted. Civil Divorce does not remove your ability to take communion. Remarriage without annulment (aka adultery) does if the couple treats it as a marriage, sex and all.

  16. I want to understand this issue of divorce especially when the couple was married in a church that does not recognise sacramental marriage, what then happens if one of the spouses after civil divorce, decides to remarry a person who has never been married before but in the catholic church thus wishing to receive sacramental marriage?

  17. I am a baptized Catholic, married in the Church, divorced and remarried to a divorced non-Catholic in a civil marriage. Does my second marriage (of 20 yrs.) need to be annulled so that I can receive Communion? My husband does not wish to become a Catholic.

    • Your first marriage, and your husbands previous marriage needs to be annulled. Your husband not being Catholic is not the issue.

  18. When a good number of priests ( nuns) do not live by their commitment/vows (who have affairs, commit sodomy and oppress and ill-treat people) and still continue to offer Mass, receive and distribute Holy Communion, I don’t see any harm in a divorcee or sinner receiving Holy Communion…. Everyone ought to remember that the Lord God came to rescue sinners and outcasts and not the “saints” and better-than-thous……

    • It has nothing to do with the priest or his vows. It has to do with what the Bible Says Noel. Read Corinthians 11. It speaks to this exact thing. Sin is Sin. Divorce, Jesus said was not possible, so by taking Communion, whilst remarried, yet not sure if your first marriage was a valid one or not(Let not man tear apart what God has put together), you may be taking Communion, but to great harm to yourself. It was even said in the Bible that those who do that without examining themselves, get sick, and fall asleep. Sounds like a pretty dangerous thing to me if you view your faith and God’s Word in a literal sense, and not in the purview of a social circle.

      • pc36: Please happen to read the context of 1 Cor. 11. Paul wasn’t saying that it’s your perfection that make you qualified to take nor your sins made you disqualified. Unworthy manner that Paul talked about was it was seemed like others were drunk and others get full and other wasn’t able to eat. And Paul by saying examine he means that: “without discerning the body of Christ” he never mentioned if you have sins. Please read the Bible and do not just hear from someone and believe you might be deceived.

    • You are always welcome with Christ. Just come to Him boldly knowing that you are loved and forgiven. Do not worry Christ is for us. He loves you more than you think. If you are referring to your sins, understand that God is not looking at you as sinner, instead a righteous one in Christ.

  19. My friends! Please listen to this! The reason why CHRIST came, offered his body and blood is for us all. SINNERS! So, why looking on to yourself? It is obvious! We are all sinners! That make us needing CHRIST’s body and blood all the more! LOOK to Christ! He’s able to forgave us all! Do not disqualify yourselves because of your sins! Are your sins bigger than Christ Love? Are your sins greater than Christ body and blood? Common!!! He died because of that! If you think that you are qualified to take the communion because you did not do this and you do that, are you referring to your performance? HYPOCRITES! God loves the sinners but He hates hypocrites! Embrace Jesus’ love! God loves us the way we are!!! SO, we are all welcome to partake God’s holy communion. It is a preventive way and a healing way! Hallelujah!

  20. My friends! Please listen to this! The reason why CHRIST came, offered his body and blood is for us all. SINNERS! So, why looking on to yourself? It is obvious! We are all sinners! That make us needing CHRIST’s body and blood all the more! LOOK to Christ! He’s able to forgave us all! Do not disqualify yourselves because of your sins! Are your sins bigger than Christ Love? Are your sins greater than Christ body and blood? Common!!! He died because of that! If you think that you are qualified to take the communion because you did not do this and you do that, are you referring to your performance? HYPOCRITES! God loves the sinners but He hates hypocrites! Embrace Jesus’ love! God loves us the way we are!!! SO, we are all welcome to partake God’s holy communion. It is a preventive way and a healing way! Hallelujah!

  21. When I was a teenager….so many years ago…I would step over my great grandmother kneeling in the pew (who would not receive because of divorce) so that I could take communion. She was ashamed and my heart broke for her. I remember my Dad writing to the Pope, why this rule when JESUS himself, at the last Supper, broke the bread and gave it to all the disciples knowing their sins, saying “this is my body, take and eat ” …..he did not say, “everyone can share Communion except Judas, …who needs to go to confession first. ” I don’t recall what came of that.
    I married a non Catholic very young ….in the Catholic Church. It was an abusive situation. We divorced. I did not seek to annull…I had a protective order for a long time even and wouldn’t dare ask…plus .wouldn’t that make my children “bastards”? I was single for 15 years raising my sons. Two years ago, I married a Christian who loves JESUS as I do…we married legally in a non denominational church. This makes me an adulteress in the”eyes of the Catholic Church” still? I believe JESUS died on the cross for all sinners and I am saved by His Grace. It saddens me that I am basically ostracized from the Catholic Church ….at least certainly not “eligible” to receive the Eucharist….ever….
    How can I ?

    • Deborah,
      I’m sorry about your situation but there is hope. First let’s clear up about your children. If they are from the first marriage then NO, they are not seen as bastards in the eyes of the Church. That is a common misconception. Your first marriage (to a non-Catholic) would normally be considered licit (valid) but just not sacramental unless there was a disposition by the bishop. If you were married in the Catholic Church, then it was by the Catholic rite and in order to do this a disposition was obtained. So, your first marriage was licit and sacramental. Just to be clear for others reading this, if the marriage was licit and non-sacramental your kids would still not be considered bastards. Now, your second marriage I don’t think would be considered licit since, in the eyes of the Church, your are still married to your first husband. Seek an annulment and it would then be considered licit, but not sacramental. If you do this then, after confession, you can receive communion. You are not ostracized. We would love to have you back with us. Now earlier I looked at the case if your kids were from the first marriage, if they are from the second, I am not sure. Please talk to a priest about this and try to get things straightened out. There is hope and it is never too late. I’ll pray for you and your family.

      • I respect the way your church deals with this matter. But as for me the Scripture says that if we believe/have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ we made righteous in the sight of GOD. of course not on man nor in your religion. but what matters most is in the sight of God. Now, concerning justification on man the only way is to let them know that we are all righteous in the sight of God not by good works but by faith. If you are striving to become righteous by doing right which pursue by the law then know this. if we are under the law we are under sin and being under sin is under death and condemnation. so, which side are you? LAW or GRACE? Should we discuss farther more about grace? Peace be with you.

        • The book of James says the polar opposite of what you are saying. You say “not by good works but by faith”. James says man is justified by good works and not by faith alone. If you are “Bible only”, then reconcile that.

          • Well then let’s talk about “Bible Only”. It is very obvious that James is talking about the justification by man. But Paul is talking about the justification in the eyes of God. James was talking about the fruit and Paul was talking about the root. If you happen to read Genesis 15:6. Furthermore,
            Romans 5:1 – Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
            Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: (Read More…)
            Romans 3:28 – Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
            Galatians 2:16 – Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
            Romans 4:5 – But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
            John 5:24 – Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
            Galatians 5:6 – For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
            Galatians 2:21 – I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness [come] by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
            Romans 4:1-25 – What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? (Read More…)
            Philippians 3:9 – And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
            John 1:12 – But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:
            CONCLUSION. Paul was not contradicting James because James was written after Paul died. Paul was teaching all about faith and not works. James however preaching the justification before man but not before God.

        • Since replies are disabled on your last comment, I’ll reply to this one again. All of the verses that you listed are either talking about the old law and not good works or they are absolutely true but do not fully address justification. In other words the verse may address faith being required for salvation but that does not mean faith alone (ex. Romans 5:1). In none of those verses is faith alone addressed. In fact the only place in the entire Bible that you will find the words “faith alone” is in James and it refutes the doctrine of faith alone by stating that man is justified by works and not faith alone. (Note this is not read to mean “works alone” either, otherwise it would have said that.)
          In the letter, the discussion of the importance of good works seems to presuppose a debate subsequent to that in Paul’s own day. There is no contradiction between Paul and the author of James, the author of James was probably clarifying a misunderstanding of Paul where people were mistakenly thinking that they are justified by faith alone, without good works. The author of James is making it abundantly clear that man is justified faith and good works and not faith alone for “even the demons believe that (God is one) and tremble”.
          I have heard many convoluted arguments and excuses for ignoring or twisting the words of James and hearing the same arguments repeated and parroted gets old after a while. Yours is a new one, that the author of James is preaching the justification before man (whatever that means) and not before God. Why would he bring up Abraham being justified. By submitting to sacrifice Isaac, was Abraham being justified before man or God? It’s refreshing to at least hear something new. I certainly don’t agree with it since with an honest reading of James without trying to read anything into James, the conclusion is obvious…a person is justified by works and not by faith alone and faith is completed by the works.

          • In some points I agree with you. However with your last statements I have to clarify. “a person is justified by works and not by faith alone and faith is completed by the works.” Well this is seems to be true but in another side(man’s side). Remember Faith leads us to Justification. Good works doesn’t.
            Man is looking for evidences. Because I believe issues were fired when some people claim to be saved by the Grace of God through faith yet live in a sinful lifestyle. Or, man expect us to be perfect since we are already in the Grace of God.
            For me as the aforementioned verses, he is not under the grace of God. Because Rom. 6:14 “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”
            The evidence that you are saved by the Grace is living a godly lifestyle but not required for salvation and is not a formula of justification before God. Because our self righteousness is nothing before God but our righteousness is Jesus Christ. Isaiah 64:6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”
            Remember good works is just a result of salvation but not a root or one of the roots. For all times we are subject to sins. The good thing is, when we are under God’s Grace our sins will be Justified through Faith. No good works will justify us but faith will do. Look at this 1 Corinthians 13:5 “Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” 1 John 4:8 “God is love”. Therefore God is not recording all our sins any longer.
            Concerning Abraham his obedience is the result of his Faith. But Gen. 15:6 happened long before Isaac was born. It means Isaac wasn’t born yet Abraham already called Righteous in the sight of God. This really proves that Righteousness and Justification is apart from good works.
            Condemnation will result to further sins. But grace and the gift of no condemnation will lead us to sin no more John 8:11.
            So disallowing or disqualifying someone to have communion with God because of sin is not a Biblical act. For if we are sinners, much more we need the body and blood of Jesus than those people claim to be righteous by obeying the LAW.

        • You said “However with your last statements I have to clarify. “a person is justified by works and not by faith alone and faith is completed by the works.” Well this is seems to be true but in another side(man’s side). Remember Faith leads us to Justification. Good works doesn’t. ”
          These are quotes from the Bible (“a person is justified by works and not by faith alone and faith is completed by the works.” ) so I’m glad you didn’t say this is wrong, you simply said you wanted to clarify. So many sola fide types do not understand James and would argue against that and find themselves arguing against the Word. Good for you! You and I are almost on the same page, we just express it differently. When you said Faith leads to justification, good works does not, I could not agree more. Good works alone absolutely does not lead to salvation. This is and always has been the Catholic stance because it is Biblical. It has also been so misunderstood. Faith does indeed lead us to justification but without works, it does not get us there because it is not a completed faith. Remember, faith is completed by works. James 2:22. So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:17. Works alone will not justify and faith without works is hollow and incomplete. Both are needed. One without the other is dead.
          Where we differ is the role of works. You say it is not a “root”, I’m not saying you are wrong but I tend to think otherwise. The way I see it, works are part of the foundation of salvation, not the result of it. You say good works are the result of salvation and I say good works are required to complete faith James 2:22. Good works are important building blocks of faith, required to complete faith. If I understand you, you say faith leads to salvation, then salvation leads to good works. I don’t see how this can be if good works are required to complete faith (James 2:22). Without good works, faith is dead, if faith is dead there is no salvation, if there is no salvation, how can good works come about as a result of it? Reconciling your view with the Bible would require good works to be present (James 2:22) before they can exist (your statement that good works are just the result of salvation). The only way to reconcile this is to deny the truth in James 2:22 and James 2:24.
          I have had quite a few discussions like this with sola fide believers and my original position was works and faith were separate and were both needed. I have evolved due largely to being open minded toward people like you who can have rational and well thought out discussions on this subject without immediately going ad hominem. I still hold that both faith and works are required but now view justification as by faith with works needed to complete that faith for one with out the other is dead.
          You made a lot of really good points that I never considered and need to think about. Particularly where you said :
          “Look at this 1 Corinthians 13:5 “Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” 1 John 4:8 “God is love”. Therefore God is not recording all our sins any longer.”
          I’m not convinced that this means that God is not recording our sins, to me that is a pretty big leap, but I do need to reconcile this with my current views. I think this is going to turn out to be another one of those learning moments for me. Good discussion, thanks. God bless.

          • Your such a nice person. By the way let me clarify our both sides so we couldn’t have misconceptions on our sides. My side is Salvation is by Faith alone. But your side is Salvation Faith + works. Am I right? After this we will continue with clarity on our sides on which we stand.

          • The difference between
            FAITH + GOOD WORKS &
            FAITH = GOOD WORKS
            Ephesians 2:10
            “10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
            Important Note Before we Start:
            FAITH alone that we are saved by the Grace of God(Jesus). Not by good works.
            Statement 1: “I don’t want to have faith alone, I want good works also”
            Well this is a very good and wonderful thing to do and a must do. To have Faith and do good works . James 2: “22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;” James 2: “26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”
            I know that James was written after Paul died. I strongly believe that this was really the issue when the time of James since Paul had already taught Christians about the foundation: Faith. I’m sure James had noticed some Christians boasting to have faith but not willing to do good works. Since Paul was preaching Faith alone can save. See, we cannot hide our laziness to do good works by God’s Grace but resting in God’s Grace is not a laziness of course. Faith will surely produce good works. James mentioned Abraham. He was made Righteous by God because he believed – no good works yet. And a righteous son of God will sure do the good work and God will surely appreciate good works that is resulted from faith. See? When we have good works God will examine our FAITH. And if our good works motivated by faith, like Abraham then surely you are a friend of God. That’s what Abraham called after he obeyed God.
            Good works should not be a problem or an issue after we have been saved through faith. If you still have problems in doing good works long after you have received the Grace of God, re-check your Faith. You might have a dead Faith (James 2:17).
            Anyway you can increase or make live your faith by hearing the word of Christ (Romans 10:17).
            Christians (all who claim to be) should do good works. James is very correct when he said (For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.) James 2:26. We cannot see the spirit(though God is) unless it has a body(in man’s eyes). And so, we cannot see the Faith(but God is) unless it has works(in man’s eyes).
            Remember we Christians are the light of the world. If we live and walk in darkness, it’s very easy to say, we are not the light and therefore we are not Christians. For it is very impossible for a light to be consumed by the darkness. Eph 2:10 means we are walking in good works not in darkness(sins). But if we commit sins, we have to distinguish intentional or not. If it is not intentional then you simply commit it but not walk on it. But if you intentionally do it, simply means you walk in it and Christians should not walk on darkness.
            However in every sins we’ve committed, intentional or unintentional, God’s Grace is more than that. He could wash you clean from Overflowing Waterfall of Grace. Just have Faith on His Grace once again. (Well that’s the solution by the way to stop you from walking on sin once again.).
            GOOD WORKS cannot save us
            Titus 3:5 “he saved us, not because of righteous things(good works) we had done, but because of his mercy(Grace). He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,”
            SINS cannot separate us from GOD
            1 Cor. 6:11 “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
            Rom 8:1 “1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set youa free from the law of sin and death.”
            Rom 8:33 “33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.”
            Rom 8 “38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,k neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
            Rom. 5:20b “But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,”
            Rom. 5 “10For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
            BUT FAITH that does not produces good works is actually dead. Don’t say to me that you have faith though you don’t have good works. You are just wasting your time. But if you have faith, just don’t say it. I should see it by your works.
            When Abraham believed God, his faith was credited to him as righteousness, but it doesn’t stop there. God will show you what kind of faith you have by giving you a test. I believe God tests us not because he want to see your faith for He knew it already, but He want you to see your faith. If Abraham didn’t passed the test, it will proved that his faith was dead. But since God knew it already the purity of his faith, then God gave credit on it long before he passed the test.
            So God can say to you directly weather your faith is true or not even without your works yet. But man cannot do that. They will wait until you show it by your works.
            Your Faith proved by God without works,
            but your Faith proved by Men with your works.
            The two shall unite
            But remember who God made first the BODY or the SPIRIT? It is the Body. Therefore we should have FAITH(Body) first then SPIRIT(Good works). We cannot do it on the same time. Faith comes first.

        • Like I said, we are right there, almost together. Both faith and works must exist. I understand your point. You say works follows faith in order to show men (and yourself) that your faith is real. I say works completes faith. I can also see your point where good works is a test of our faith, imposed by God to let US know it is real. Kind of a reality check. I never thought of it this way before, I told you this was going to be a learning moment.
          But what about…
          Jesus spoke of doing good in Mathew 7:24-27, the parable of the two foundations.
          Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”
          To me this sounds like you must listen to His words AND act on them. It is not by faith alone (“…who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them”).
          Hearing the words is having faith, acting on them is good works.
          The wise man has faith (hears the Word) and does good works (acts on them). Jesus himself says the fool also has faith (hears the Word) but does not do good works (does not act on them).
          So you can have faith without works but salvation is by faith which is completed by works and followed by works.
          So I will agree that salvation is by faith alone, full completed faith. Faith completed by good works and followed by good works. Do you notice how different that is than when we first started this conversation.
          If I’m not mistaken isn’t this similar to the agreement between the Catholic Church and the Lutherans recently on justification. An excerpt follows:
          “Together we confess: by grace alone, in faith in Christ’s saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping us and calling us to good works.”
          The declaration acknowledges that good works are a genuine response to God’s grace—not the cause of it. I just have to reconcile this with James 2:22. I’ll look at that this weekend. For now I probably can’t post again until Monday, busy weekend, daughter’s 9th birthday!

          • seems like we are now on a one way. i am convinced that faith alone can save.but only fools doesnt have to do good works. faith alone is not foolishness. but the unwillingness to do good works is foolishness. for with it your faith will be proved… so let your faith come to live…
            how about that, do you agree?

  22. If two people were not legally married and they separate should one of them get married to another person and wed in church?

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