Can I Receive Communion even though I’m Divorced?

Question: “Can I receive Communion even though I’m divorced? Why if you are Catholic and get divorced you can no longer attend the Church? Will that ever change? Is it better to stay in abusive marriages? I think not.

Answer: Spread this truth far and wide, because I hear too many who think divorced people cannot receive communion. You can receive communion if you are divorced. You are welcome to receive communion if you are divorced. My mother has been divorced for 46 years and has gone to Mass and received communion every Sunday. Our Church needs to provide more programs for those who suffer divorce.

Divorce is hard and difficult. The Church recognizes with compassion that those who go through what is often the hell of divorce need the sustenance of the sacraments and the support of community. We recognize that the vast majority of divorced people tried very hard to hold their marriage together. See the Catechism #2386.

If one callously causes a divorce, that’s not loving, and therefore a sin that needs forgiveness before joining with the community at the table of the Lord. To receive communion is a sign we are trying to the best of our abilities to live the Catholic way of life. To have dumped a spouse on Monday and come to receive communion the next Sunday is obviously contradictory.

The common problem comes when one is divorced and living with someone or is married outside the Church. That’s when the Church says one should not receive communion, although anyone is welcome to be present and pray at Mass. Here’s a great article on this topic.

Richard G. Malloy, SJ

Richard G. Malloy, S.J., Ph.D., is Vice President for University Ministries, the University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, and author of A Faith That Frees (Orbis Books).


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