What does the Catholic Church really teach about divorce? Isn’t an annulment just a Catholic divorce? If I am Catholic and divorced can I remarry? Can a divorced Catholic receive communion? These are common questions that we answer.
What does the Catholic Church teach about divorce?
The Catholic Church does not permit divorce for valid sacramental marriages. In fact a valid sacramental marriage is impossible to dissolve thereby making divorce not possible if the marriage was sacramental.
In marriage, the two become one flesh in a union joined by God, (Mark 10:8). Jesus speaks about divorce: “Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate,” (Mark 10:9). So for a marriage that meets the requirements of being a sacrament, divorce in the Catholic Church is not possible.
The annulment process is by which a marriage is determined whether or not it is valid, it is not a Catholic divorce process. If it found to be invalid (not meeting the requirements of a sacramental marriage) then an annulment would be granted.
Marriage directly parallels our relationship with God. God is 100% faithful in his relationship with us those who choose to get married are called to the same faithfulness.
What about if one spouse is abusive or unfaithful?
There are some cases where living together has become too difficult or practically impossible. The Church permits a physical separation of the spouses and living apart, but the two still remain married until an annulment is granted (if applicable).
“The Christian community is called to help these persons live out their situation in a Christian manner and in fidelity to their marriage bond which remains indissoluble,” (The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1649).
Isn’t an annulment just a Catholic divorce?
No. An annulment is not a Catholic divorce, bur rather says that the marriage never met the conditions to be considered sacramental. If at least one criterion for sacramental marriage was not met then the marriage can be considered invalid and an annulment will be granted.
The annulment process is often long, usually lasting about a year or longer; the people who make up the marriage tribunal for your diocese must perform extensive research in determining if an annulment can be granted.
If I am Catholic and divorced can I get remarried?
Perhaps, but only if you have received an annulment (which means your previous marriage was not considered a valid sacrament). If you receive a civil divorce, but no annulment, then you are still married to the other person in the eyes of the Church and would be committing adultery if you married another.
Jesus says, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery,” (Mark 10:11-12).
If I am divorced can I still receive communion?
If your previous marriage was not annulled and you chose to remarry, then no, because you would be in adulterous relationship and in a state of mortal sin. Otherwise it is perfectly acceptable to receive the Eucharist if you are divorced.