Receiving Eucharist if married outside of churchgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread
My husband and I were married in a non-Catholic, although Christian, marriage ceremony. Can I receive communion?
-- Nancy White (email@example.com), April 23, 2003
The bottomline answer is No.
Only members of the Catholic Church who are properly reconciled with God (through the sacrament of reconciliation) are permitted to receive the Eucharist.
I have some questions:
1) Are you Catholic? 2) Were either one of you divorced? 3) Why were you married in another Christian ceremony?
Thanks and God Bless
-- john placette (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 23, 2003.
Sometimes marriages outwith the Church are allowed. However, if this were the situation in your case, you would be aware of it. You would have had permission from your diocese, and could receive the Eucharist. If you have been married without this dispensation then I would think the marriage isn't considered valid and therefore you wouldn't be able to receive Communion. I would advise that you contact your local parish priest and ask him for advice.
-- Sara (email@example.com), April 23, 2003.
Is there any way to recive communion again? when I got married I had not really taken my religon very seriously. I went to confession but am unclear if I can recive communion again or do I have to get divorced to be able to?
-- lee hubert (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 23, 2003.
Thanks to all for replies.
Yes, I am Catholic. We were married by a christian miniser, not in the church, because we eloped. Neither of us had been married before -- no divorce
If I can not receive communion, what is the exact reason.
-- Nancy White (email@example.com), April 23, 2003.
it remains to be seen whether or not you can take communion... the thing is this: a protestant church doesnt necessarily follow all the same rules of a catholic church when it comes to the sacrament of marraige. you should consult your priest over whether or not your marraige is considered valid. if yes, then no problem. if not then your marraige was never valid in the first place, you should go to confession, get your marraige handled again in a small ceremony by a priest, and you'll be good to go
-- paul (dontSendMeMail@notAnAddress.com), April 23, 2003.
The reason you can't receive Holy Communion, if the Church doesn't recognise your marriage as valid, is that the Church teaches that sexual relations outside of the Sacrament of Marriage is a mortal sin. You would not be in a state of grace, and consequently be unable to receive Communion.
-- sara (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 23, 2003.
Why is it that she cannot receive communion if she is not married in the church, but she can go to confession? Aren't they both sacraments? Help me out here.
Isn't it obvious that the issue of marriage/divorce/annulment/remarriage... is such a huge deal in the Catholic church? I think it is a source of problems for many people who would otherwise be considered good catholics. I have been divorced and have now found it very hard to be Catholic at times. It seems like the church does whatever it can just to make it difficult. So much for forgiveness and helping those in times of need. It is sad how quickly a person can feel like the church turns it's back on you in a time when you need it most. Going through all of this really makes me question if this is how Jesus wouold handle things (in reguards to marriage/divorce).
I have a problem with the church not recognizing a marriage prefromed in another church when it comes to communion, but when it comes to divorce it recognizes any marriage as one that needs to be annulled. This makes very little sense to me. How is it in one instance you are married, but the other you are not? Why is it that you are only annulled if you are judged to be so by a council (basically of your peers)? It seems to be more important to make peace with God and the decisions that have been made. Who is the council to judge when they have never met me and do not know me? It is hard for me to think that I am waiting for them to decide if it's okay for me to move on. Is it bad that I am willing to take my chances and let God judge me?
Obviously this is a hot topic in the forum. I think there is a reason for so many qustions. I think the church needs to revisit it's views on divorce. The average life span is almost 3 times what it was when the church decided how things would work. Life happens and this isn't a perfect world. People make mistakes.
It seems like in the Catholic church you can remain a practicing Catholic if you do pretty much anything (murder, adultry, steal, hate...) and be fine as long as you honestly change and seek forgiveness through confession. But to get divorced... forgiveness is not that simple.
Just the opinion of a struggling Catholic... maybe you can shine some light on me.
-- Ben (email@example.com), April 24, 2003.
“Why is it that she cannot receive communion if she is not married in the church, but she can go to confession? Aren't they both sacraments? Help me out here.”
Ben, ALL members of Christ’s Faithful have a right to partake in the Sacrament of Penance. This is an inestimable gift/blessing from God that mankind can obtain full pardon for his/her sins (especially, Mortal which is a an entire separation from God and deserves eternal punishment) and fully restore his/her friendship with Him.
“Isn't it obvious that the issue of marriage/divorce/annulment/ remarriage... is such a huge deal in the Catholic church?”
I believe it’s such a huge deal because so many people want “justification” to remarry or unlawfully be with another person if their initial (valid) Catholic marriage doesn’t work out.
Unfortunately, the Law is the Law. Being with another person besides your initial spouse (without a decree of nullity) is considered invalid in the eyes of God and adultery. It is contrary to God’s commandments and, if one wants to worthily partake in the rest of the Sacraments again, we must be truly sorry for our sin, confess it with a sincere determination to “get right” with God, and cease offending Him by never committing this sin again.
Sincere and true contrition for our sins is very important when confessing and is the key to opening up God’s mercy and pardon. “I have been divorced and have now found it very hard to be Catholic at times. It seems like the church does whatever it can just to make it difficult. So much for forgiveness and helping those in times of need.”
Ben, I’m 32 years old. My wife of 21/2 years has just left our sacred Catholic marriage last November and has filed for a divorce. I truly know where you and others are coming from on this subject. Know one said it was easy to stay true to God’s commandments and commit to not having sexual relations with anyone else outside the holy bonds of Matrimony. If it were easy to follow God’s commandments, everyone would be saved! But the fact that its hard for us to “be good” is not the Church’s fault. It’s our own fault. And the fault of are own weak and corrupt human natures, so prone to evil and to sin.
God instituted His “difficult” Commandments only because He loves us deeply. He wants us to love Him and to love our neighbor as ourselves here on earth, and He wants to see us eternally happy with Him in the next - in Heaven, our true home where we all belong. So we suffer here in this valley of tears for a while, and in return we obtain an eternal reward. What a tradeoff! That doesn’t sound so unfair to me. Not at all, wouldn't you say?
“It seems like in the Catholic church you can remain a practicing Catholic if you do pretty much anything (murder, adultry, steal, hate...) and be fine as long as you honestly change and seek forgiveness through confession. But to get divorced... forgiveness is not that simple."
Oh contraire, Ben. God is infinitely merciful and will forgive ALL our trangressions in this life, if we sincerely come back to Him through the Sacrament of Penance. It IS that simple, and no different for divorce. Although it’s just really hard for most people, who were married validly in the Church once, to "stay right" with God. And understanably so. I mean, let's face it. The thought of being alone for the rest of our lives (with no other human companion to love) scares the begigees out of most. Plus, we human beings are so weak that many find it very difficult to curb our disgustingly powerful sexual urges). I hear you.
So we need the sanctifying grace of Penance (along with prayer) and the rest of the Church’s divinely instituted sacraments, especially the Mass and the lawful partaking of the Holy Eucharist, to get us and keep us on the right road to Heaven.
Whew! This post is getting a little too long for my tastes and I’ve got to go, so take care, Ben. Good luck.
God bless. Sincerely,
-- Robert P (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 24, 2003.
So Robert, if you don't mind me asking... Are you planning on staying single for the rest of your life. You are still a young man and have a long life to live. What is you somewhere in your journey of life met somone that you truly couldn't live without. Someone that brought such positive joy to your life that you knew that she was a gift from God. Would you still hold fast to your beliefs that being with her (not sexually) would be wrong?
I about your age and was married for a similar amount of time. My wife also decided she no longer wanted to be a part of our marriage. We never had children and I was wondering if you did. I would love to someday experince the joy of holding one of God's most amazing miracles in my arms. I look forward to a day when I can look into the eyes of my new born son or daughter. I can't see this as being wrong.
-- Ben (Wow@hotmail.com), April 24, 2003.
“ I about your age and was married for a similar amount of time. My wife also decided she no longer wanted to be a part of our marriage. We never had children and I was wondering if you did.”
No, Ben. I don’t have any children. (There's a thread on this forum about my marriage situation a few months back. That's how I found this forum.)
Wow, it sounds like your marital situation is almost a carbon-copy of my own! I really feel for you, Ben. You were in my prayers today. I will pray that you receive an annulment from your current marriage. So that you may indeed witness the marvelous miracle of birth in your lifetime. I really hope you will be able to look into the eyes of your newborn child one day, Ben, and share this joyful experience with someone you truly love - in a valid Catholic marriage.
“Are you planning on staying single for the rest of your life? You are still a young man and have a long life to live. What if you somewhere in your journey of life met somone that you truly couldn't live without.”
This is something I am grappling with, Ben. I don’t know what will happen to me in the future. I have seen a Canon lawyer/ecclesiastical priest and have gotten the process of applying for an annulment underway (however, it won’t be in full swing until the legal divorce is final in November 2003). The Canon lawyer has told me that I have a very good chance to receive an annulment on the grounds that my wife had no intention to stay with me for life on our wedding day. But we shall see.
In the meantime, I have been faithful to our Catholic marriage vows and am hoping and praying that my wife has a change of heart and comes back to me before the divorce is final. I love my dear wife very much and want so much to reconcile our Catholic marriage with her. (But she doesn’t even want talk to me and only wants to keep in touch by email.)
-- Robert P (Robertp234@hotmail.com), April 24, 2003.
It is my understanding that all baptized Catholics must be married by a priest/deacon in a Catholic ceremony (unless dispensation has been petitioned and granted). For a baptized Catholic to seek marriage outside the Church is to enter into an invalid adulterous marriage - they thus separate themselves from the Church (the Church doesn't kick them out) - and by this act of separation - they incur the sentence of excommunication and cannot partake in the sacraments - or serve as godparents or sponsors for confirmation.
There are two kinds of excommunication - public and private. Private is incurred when one marries outside the church - you do it to yourself - but it is easily fixed. Public excommunication is a whole lot more complicated (and a lot rarer these days). The bishop would formally read a letter condemning you from the pulpit and abandoning you to the power of hell (oh, yeah, it was harsh and pretty embarrassing). Those are usually reserved for politicians and public leaders that profess to be Catholic and openly ignore the rules of the Church (but only in extreme ways).
As you were not married properly in the Catholic Church, I believe any priest exercising proper pastoral sensitivity would invite you to correct the mistake by convalidating the marriage, maybe as a way of honoring an anniversary or renewing your vows - only this time doing it solemnly in the Church. Your current situation can be easily fixed ... I urge you to contact your local parish priest and discuss the situation.
-- Tammy H. (email@example.com), April 24, 2003.
Tammy, you are incorrect in asserting that Nancy has incurred excommunication because of her marriage outside the Church. The following link: http://www.geocities.com/seapadre_1999/excommunicationoffenses.html lists the offenses that result in private excommunication, and living together without the benefit of a licit marriage is not one of them.
-- Mark (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 24, 2003.
Tammy, Mark is right. Nancy was not excommunicated by her action.
However, Mark may not be aware of something related to this, so I'll mention it.
Tammy, the reason you thought that Nancy was excommunicated is that such a penalty existed, for clearly invalid attempts at marriage, in the 1917 Code of Canon Law. However, that penalty was removed for these offenses in the new (1983) Code of Canon Law.
Hi, Robert P. Ben asked: "Why is it that [Nancy] cannot receive communion if she is not married in the church, but she can go to confession? Aren't they both sacraments? Help me out here."
You replied: "Ben, ALL members of Christ’s Faithful have a right to partake in the Sacrament of Penance."
Actually, Robert, there is one exception to this -- and it arises especially in "irregular marriage" situations. As we know, Nancy's "marriage" is not recognized by the Church today. We are confident that she is going to straighten this out soon, but let us (just for the sake of argument) assume that she were to decide not to have her marriage validated by the Church, preferring to live in a state of fornication. In that case, she would not be permitted fully to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. She could speak to a priest in a confessional about the situation, but he could not give her absolution if she were to say that she was not willing to correct the situation. (The same is true -- no absolution possible -- in the case of a divorced-and-remarried person who has not received a Declaration of Nullity and is unwilling to abstain from relations.)
God bless you.
-- J. F. Gecik (email@example.com), April 25, 2003.
Interesting John, pardon me. I see what you’re saying (I think). In these cases, there is an obvious unwillingness on the part of the recipient to correct/get out of the wrongful situation they’re in. So the priest couldn’t really offer true absolution for the wrongdoing because there is no sincere confession happening in the first place. Am I understanding this correctly?
-- Robert P (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 25, 2003.
Thank you for you insite. It is very nice to hear from someone that can understand what I am going through. I am not sure wht my future holds. I know that getting back with my x is not an option. She has since remarried outside of the church and is expecting a child in June. While I wish her well in life, I am concerned that she will delay the process of annulment by not sending in the paperwork.
In the mean time, I have met a very special person and I am so happy with her. I am struggling with the church/divorce/annulment/being accepted thing right now, but I do believe that I will get through it.
I regretfully have to say that I can't see comming back to this forum though. Much of my frustration with the church comes with "holier than thou" individuals who have no idea what empathy is. My biggest problem right now with the church is the people who think just because they go to church every Sunday and pry the rosary daily that they have a ticket to heaven no matter how they treat people or act on a daily basis. The type of people that are "good Catholics" but not good Christians. This anger I have only seems to be fueled by people like John and Paul and there responses that lack any sense of emapthy.
Good luck in your situation. It sounds like your are further along than I am. I will however tell you that I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason. Maybe there is a greater reason why your wife doesn't want to be with you. Maybe when you do receive your annulment you will go on and find the one that you were ment to be with. The one you were ment to share your life and faith with. THanks and good bye.
-- Ben (email@example.com), April 25, 2003.
Hi, Robert P.
You asked: "So the priest couldn’t really offer true absolution for the wrongdoing because there is no sincere confession happening in the first place. Am I understanding this correctly?"
You have understood it perfectly.
God bless you.
-- J. F. Gecik (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 25, 2003.
John, thanks for the clarification. I thought that any Catholic who is not able to receive the sacraments was technically "excommunicated", regardless of the reason why they could not receive them.
Ben, hang in there. If it's any consolation, it's been my experience that those Catholics that are "holier than thou" are not the majority. Everyone makes mistakes and is entitled to a second, third, fourth or hundredth attempt to make things right. As I mentioned before, most priests will exercise great pastoral sensitivity when dealing with these type of issues and the Church is very forgiving in many aspects (individually among priests). Talk to your local parish priest as often as possible and resolve all of your doubts with him; they're more than willing to help and they're not there to scare you off -- as long as you're willing and are making a valid attempt, they will guide you along the way. Good luck!
-- Tammy H. (email@example.com), April 25, 2003.
I AM DIVORCED AND RECENTLY SPENT A WEEK END WITH THE LOVE OF MY LIFE OF 35 YEARS, WHO IS NOT ONY CATHOLIC, BUT MARRIED, WHAT HAVE I DONE TO HIS LIFE? HE LOVES HIS WIFE BUT IS NOT IN LOVE WITH HIS WIFE, WHAT SHOULD HE DO?
-- cher stevens (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 08, 2003.
What he should do is clearly described in the wedding vows.
-- Paul (PaulCyp@cox.net), May 08, 2003.
You asked what have you done to his life? Are you referring to his spiritual life? If so, then you are encouraging him to severe his relationship to God. Of course, he is equally responsible for his actions. If you truly love him, you would want him to be reunited with God. Therefore, tell him you will never do something like that again. And to remove all temptation, try to never see him in public or private.
-- Glenn (email@example.com), May 09, 2003.
Are we trying to please the Church or God?
Our minds and hearts are sincere to God, but it must then also be to the Church?
Can the Church know what is in a man's will?
If God already knows, then why should any man know?
Do we need to prove our will to man?
This is a tremendously painful issue for me.
-- rod (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 09, 2003.