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Divorce and Communion
Question from Anonymous on 09-21-2015:
I have a close relative who was told by a Catholic priest that although she is divorced and did not receive an annulment through the Church, she may receive Communion because her husband left her and her child. He came back and promised her and their young daughter never to leave again. He did leave a second time and they were divorced.

They did receive counseling after the first time he left, including through the Church. He was never committed to counseling and never attended all sessions.

She was told that because she tried to save her marriage and accepted him back after the first separation, after which he left a second time, she could receive Communion and did not require an annulment as long as she never dates or remarries. She receives Communion on a regular basis and practices her faith. Is this right? I am very confused.

Answer by Catholic Answers on 09-25-2015:
Anonymous--

If your report here is accurate, the priest is correct. An annulment is only required if a divorced person wishes to remarry or enter religious life during the lifetime of the putative spouse. Otherwise, it is not necessary.

Divorce, in and of itself, does not create an impediment to receiving Communion -- especially for an innocent spouse who did all she could to repair her marriage but was abandoned twice by her husband. The priest is correct that if she does not date or remarry (unless she receives an annulment first) then she is free to receive Communion.

Your relative suffered serious injustice from her husband, and is now walking the difficult path of an abandoned spouse while trying to raise a child on her own. I urge you to set aside your interest into her fitness to receive Communion, to refrain from questioning the counsel she receives from her priest, and to focus on supporting her during this difficult time when she will need the support of her family more than ever.

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers


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