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'Quick Help' Page: Can I Become Catholic After A Divorce?

 

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Arrow Question / Issue:

"Can I become a Catholic if I have been divorced? I have been told different things."

 

Arrow Answer / Resources:

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There should always be a way for ANY person – regardless of the grievousness of their past sins (we are all sinners!) – to enter the Catholic Church, provided they repent & rectify their situation and are committed to following the Church's rules & amending their ways. In fact, all such persons should be welcomed with open arms.

It may be helpful to make a distinction between past sins that one is sorry for (e.g. a past divorce) and current/future sins that one is not sorry for (e.g. willfully continuing an illicit relationship).

I suspect the confusion you have experienced could involve whether or not divorced persons can receive the Holy Eucharist? To be able to receive the Holy Eucharist after divorce, it is necessary to consult a good priest to see what would be required.

Please keep in mind that the Lord Jesus said it is adultery if someone who was validly married divorced and 'remarried'...

Lk. 16:18: "Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and the one who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery."

Mt. 5:31-32: "It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.' But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

Mk. 10:2-12: "The Pharisees approached and asked, 'Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?' They were testing him. He said to them in reply, 'What did Moses command you?' They replied, 'Moses permitted him to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her.' But Jesus told them, 'Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother (and be joined to his wife), and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.' In the house the disciples again questioned him about this. [Jesus] said to them, 'Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.'" (emphasis added)

Someone in that situation should NEVER receive Holy Communion. Remember that a valid marriage is indissoluble until death. One cannot expect to remain in sin and receive the Holy Eucharist. As Scripture warns...

1 Cor. 11:27-30: "Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying." (emphasis added)

There are some pages on our site that you might find helpful. For example... (click links to view)

* Non-Catholics Section (defense of the Catholic faith, conversion questions, etc.)

* Holy Matrimony

* Annulment Information (user-submitted article)

* Holy Eucharist

It is wonderful that you are considering entering the Church.

May God greatly bless you.


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