Bringing you the "Good News" of Jesus Christ and His Church While PROMOTING CATHOLIC Apologetic Support groups loyal to the Holy Father and Church's magisterium
Home About
AskACatholic.com
What's New? Resources The Church Family Life Mass and
Adoration
Ask A Catholic
Knowledge base
AskACatholic Disclaimer
Search the
AskACatholic Database
Donate and
Support our work
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
New Questions
Cool Catholic Videos
About Saints
Disciplines and Practices
Purgatory and Indulgences
About the Holy Mass
About Mary
Searching and Confused
Homosexual Issues
Life and Family
No Salvation Outside the Church
Sacred Scripture
non-Catholic Cults
Justification and Salvation
The Pope and Papacy
The Sacraments
Relationships and Marriage situations
back
Specific people, organizations and events
Doctrine and Teachings
Specific Practices
Church Internals
Church History


Troy McCauley wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Is it a mortal sin for a Catholic to receive Holy Communion in the Church if they are married by a Justice of the Peace?
  • If so, where in the Bible or the Teachings of the Church does it say this?
  • If a Catholic couple divorces each other and one remarries, can that person still receive Holy Communion?
  • Can a person who has been baptized and confirmed yet:
    • does not go to Church regularly, and
    • has not been to Confession

      receive Holy Communion?

Troy

  { What is the permissibility of receiving Holy Communion in these various marital situations? }

Mary Ann replied:

Dear Troy,

Marriage is the exclusive union of one man and one woman for life, for procreation and love.
One may not receive Communion if one is in a state of grave sin.

As to divorced and remarried Catholics: ongoing adultery is a serious sin. Jesus said that a person who divorces and remarries commits adultery. (Matthew 19:9, Luke 16:18)

  • If the first marriage was no marriage (or found to be null), then there is no problem, because there is no adultery.
  • If the couple lives as brother and sister, then there is no sin of adultery and therefore no problem.

In the case of those married by a Justice of the Peace, ongoing fornication (sex without marriage) is a grave sin. Catholics, because they are baptized and because Matrimony is a sacrament of the Church, must be married according to proper form (where that is possible), that is, with an official Catholic witness. If not, then the Catholics are not married.

The only exception would be a Catholic who has formally left the Church, in which case he would not be considered Catholic and would not be held to the Catholic standard for a sacramental marriage. In this situation, his (or her) marriage before a Justice of the Peace would be a real marriage.

Mary Ann

Mike replied:

Hi, Troy —

A baptized, confirmed Catholic who does not go to Church regularly should not receive Holy Communion at Mass without first going to Confession. [He|She] should still go to Mass,
but they have to refrain from receiving the Eucharist. In these cases, it is best to say a Spiritual Communion. While the faithful are receiving one can also pray the Rosary which is what I do in these and similar situations.

Spiritual Communion

O Lord Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.
I love you [above all things]|[with all my mind and my heart] and I long for thee in my soul.
Since I cannot receive You now sacramentally, at least come spiritually into my heart.
I embrace myself entirely to You and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.

Come Lord Jesus [optional add-on:] and glorify yourself through my weak body.

Amen.

Part of the third commandment — to keep the Lord's Day holy — is attending Sunday Mass. If one knows skipping Mass it is a grave matter, which you now know, it is a mortal sin and has to be confessed before one can receive Holy Communion.

It's no big deal though; almost all parishes have Confessions every Saturday, and you can always call the rectory ahead of time for a private Confession.

Hope this helps,

Mike

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
Suggestions for this web page and the web site can be sent to Mike Humphrey
© 2012 Panoramic Sites
The Early Church Fathers Church Fathers on the Primacy of Peter. The Early Church Fathers on the Catholic Church and the term Catholic. The Early Church Fathers on the importance of the Roman Catholic Church centered in Rome.