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Ida Cummings wrote:

John,

I am not a Catholic, but I'm beginning to seek out more information about the Church.
I am a Protestant Christian and I want to ask a question about the Eucharist:

  • Is a divorced Christian permitted to partake in the Eucharist?

Receiving this Holy Sacrament is such a blessing to me — I would hate to give it up. I am divorced and am in my second marriage.

I love the Lord, and I can't imagine how it would feel to be a member of a church which would not allow me to ever receive the Eucharist.

Thanks for your help!

Ida

  { Is a divorced Christian permitted to partake in the Eucharist? }

John replied:

Well Ida,

Divorce, in and of itself, does not keep one from the Eucharist . . . however, a second marriage could.

Were you to become a Catholic, the Church would have to determine if your prior marriage were sacramentally valid. If it is not, then the Church would grant you an annulment. This is a declaration that a marriage never happened.

Each case is different. There are a variety of reasons why the Church would find a marriage sacramentally invalid. They range from:

  • emotional immaturity at the time of the marriage
  • a refusal of one spouse to have children, or
  • some other reason.

I'm not sure, but since your marriage was outside the Church, it may not be considered sacramental anyway.

This might not even be an issue. The Church may require that your current marriage be blessed by the Church.

As for the Eucharist, I'm afraid you're not really receiving it now. All the Protestant denominations during the Reformation period, not only broke from the Church and interrupted Apostolic Succession, but Thomas Cranmer under Henry VII rewrote the form (words) for the Sacrament of Holy Orders, so when they "ordained" Bishops, neither their "Holy Orders" nor their "priests" were validly recognized by the Church.

In effect, you are receiving bread and wine ... not the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord. While the "sacrament" you are receiving in your denomination is a powerful symbol, it is not the Eucharist.

The only Churches where you can find a valid Eucharist are the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. While our Orthodox brothers did split from us, they have retained Apostolic Succession, and thus have valid Holy Orders and Sacraments.

It is not that the Church wants to deny remarried people Communion, but a second marriage,
with the prior marriage being valid, is technically adultery in the eyes of the Church.

Hope this helps,

John DiMascio

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