Faith/Spirituality Forum: Can a Converted Catholic Divorcee take Communion?

Can a Converted Catholic Divorcee take Communion? QUESTION from Wendy Taylor on May 27, 2002 A good friend of mine has recently converted to be a Catholic. She has been divorced for 36 years, and is presently married to a non-catholic. However, she has decided to follow the faith for herself and attends Mass regularly. Our Priest has informed her that as she has been divorced in the past, she cannot take Holy Communion. However, recently at one particular Mass (Easter I think), he told her that he would allow her to take Communion on this occasion, but not again. He has also agreed for her to take Holy Communion for a future date, but not again. Obviously we are a little confused. My own Mother who is also a converted Catholic, and a divorcee, takes Communion once a week at her own Church, (and has done for the last 23 years). We would be very grateful for your comments on this. It appears that our Priest decides when she can take Holy Communion and when she can not.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on May 30, 2002 Dear Mrs. Taylor:
A person who is divorced, but NOT remarried can be a Catholic in good standing and receive communion like anyone else.
If a person is divorced and remarried WITHOUT getting an annulment approved then they are not in good standing with the Church and cannot receive communion. To be remarried without an annulment is adultery in God's eyes since the person is still married to the first spouse as far as God is concerned.
Your friend may be able to resolve this conflict by making application for annulment. I am surprised that her priest did not suggest this.
As for the priest giving her permission to receive communion when she is barred from the sacrament because of an irregular marriage, I am not aware of any provision of canon law that allows him to do that.
I understand the pastoral desire and compassion involved when working with an otherwise good Catholic, but the priest cannot dispense the rules. He has no authority that I am aware of to do that.
Your friend should continue to go to Mass and participate in the parish and in the Catholic devotional like, but she needs to NOT receive communion, even on special days, at this time. Advise her to contact her priest or the diocese offices to see about making application for an annulment. If and when an annulment is granted, then her current marriage may be blessed in the Church and she can be restored to the Sacraments.
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