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John Breaugh wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have noticed in several of your answers that, with no conditions, a person who is divorced, but not remarried, may receive the Eucharist.

  • Since the Catechism states divorce, not divorce and remarriage, is grave matter, and
  • the Church spells out in the Catechism and Canon Law specific steps to follow when separating, with the bond remaining when conditions are met:

    • Isn't a Catholic divorcing after a Sacramental Marriage, for irreconcilable differences, possibly a mortal sin?

Several other sources including Bishops and other apologists have said it was a sin.

  • How could there be an innocent party if no party was guilty?
  • Can you clarify this for me?



  { Since divorce, not divorce and remarriage, is grave matter, isn't a Catholic divorcing a mortal sin? }

Fr. Jonathan replied:


The Church recognizes that divorce can be sinful but it is not always sinful.

There is a moral difference in:

  • a person who is abandoned by their spouse, and
  • the one who abandoned the spouse.

The Church cannot say at the same time we recognize that the person is still bound by their marriage despite the civil law divorce and that the divorce itself has changed their canonical status.

If they are still bound then their canonical status has not changed.

Fr. Jonathan

John replied:

Father Jonathan,

Thank-you for your quick response.

  • Would it be possible to get clarification on when divorce is possibly sinful?

That is what is puzzling to me.

  • When is divorce (not divorce and remarriage) considered grave matter?

Thanks again.

John Breaugh

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Hi, John —

You said:

  • When is divorce (not divorce and remarriage) considered grave matter?

When one abandons the spouse for purely selfish reasons.

Hope this helps,

Fr. Jonathan

John replied:

Special thanks to you for your lightning quick and direct responses to my inquiry.

You are providing a wonderful resource for our Faith.

It is an amazing mission.

John Breaugh

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