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Marian wrote:

Hi, guys —

I was married in front of the altar in the Catholic Church, St. Mary's, of my youth. My marriage lasted 23 years and blessed me with two beautiful daughters. My husband and I separated in 2005 then civilly divorced in 2006.

Since then, I have not received the sacrament of Holy Communion and I miss it deeply. I have not remarried, but God has blessed me yet again with a fellow Catholic man that adores me and treats me like a princess.

  • I wish to return to full communion with my Church and am asking, as long as David and I do not reside under the same roof, and I have not remarried, may I return to receiving Holy Communion?

David, my new Catholic man, believes I may, for my heart is free of sin, but I need the validation of the Church.

Please help me to reconcile this.

Marian

  { Can I start a romantic friendship with another, without an annulment, and receive Communion? }

Paul replied:

Marian,

When we make our sacred vow for better or worse, we promise God, the community, and our spouse an unconditional love that is the essence of spousal love. Next to God, the spouse becomes the primary object of our love for the remainder of this earthly life, and ultimately it is their salvation which we, as spouse, are responsible for assisting with.

All of this is true if the marriage is valid.

Therefore, the alternative option is to seek an annulment, to discover if yours is truly valid. Since the nature of marriage includes indissolubility, and a marriage is presumed valid unless proven otherwise, an annulment would allow you to recognize the freedom you have in dating other(s) and perhaps marrying some day.

Chances are you probably already know this.

So to answer your question directly, civil divorce, in itself, is no reason to abstain from receiving Holy Communion; especially when you are not at fault. Getting (re)married without an annulment is a reason to abstain, for that would place yourself in a situation of perpetual adultery.

  • The question remaining is whether starting a romantic friendship with another, without an annulment, is a just reason for abstaining from Communion?

  • It would it be a sacrilege to receive Jesus in Communion while committing adultery in one's heart, but is your friendship with this man more platonic than that?

Talk to your pastor about your situation and then act in accordance with what you understand to be the will of God as expressed through His Body, the Catholic Church. Continue to pray and seek what is right, and in the meantime my colleagues may add some important insights to this question.

Peace,

Paul

Marian replied:

Dear Paul,

Thank you very much for the reply and so quickly! I will adhere to your advise and ask for guidance from Father Miller.

Sincerely,

Marian Robinson
Brush Creek, Tennessee

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