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Susan Conte wrote:

Hi, guys —

My question has to do with annulments.

  • If you get an annulment in the Church are your children considered illegitimate?

A friend of mine's son has four children with his ex-wife. Instead of a divorce, she got an annulment. My friend's son said a priest told him his children were now illegitimate.

This happened many years ago and it just came up recently. I am Catholic and never heard this. Also, and I hope you don't mind my asking another question.

  • If you get a divorce does the Catholic Church excommunicate you?

Thank you so much and I look forward to hearing from you.



  { If you get an annulment are your children illegitimate and does a divorce excommunicate you? }

Bob replied:


No the children are not illegitimate. The priest is incorrect.

Children conceived in a marriage, even if annulled, are not considered so because the parents were at least married in the civil sense though the sacramental bond was flawed.


Bob Kirby

Mike replied:

Hi Sue,

I just wanted to address your second question.

You said:
. . . if you get a divorce does the Catholic Church excommunicate you?

No. As a matter of fact divorced Catholics who do not remarry are always welcomed to receive Holy Communion on Sundays.

Sometimes civil divorce and separation are necessary. The Catechism states:

2383 The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law. (cf. Code of Canon Law, canons 1151-1155.)

If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.

This assumes the divorced Catholic has not remarried without the Church's approval.

The whole section can be read in context here.

I hope this helps,


Sue replied:

Dear Bob and Mike,

Thank you for answering my question.

Being Catholic I don't ever remember hearing this but it came up in a discussion with a friend of mine. I am going to pass this on to her.

Thanks again!

I appreciate all your help.



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