I took a divorce from my husband and married again and the priest of my church refused to give me and my husband holy communion. Is that right?

I’m assuming from your note that you were divorced and have remarried without receiving an annulment of your first marriage from the Church court. If so, your priest is following the practice of the Church of reserving communion for those who are “in communion” with Church teaching and practice. Church teaching holds that marriage is a permanent, lifelong commitment grounded in Jesus’ teaching “let no one separate what God has joined” (Mark 10:6-9). The Church does not believe that a civil divorce enables a Catholic to remarry.

You might want to make an appointment with your parish priest to talk over your circumstances with him. It may be possible to obtain an annulment so that your present marriage could be validated (“blessed”) by the Church and you and your new husband could receive communion.

An “annulment” occurs when a Church court determines that some essential element necessary to a true marriage was not present in the relationship, even though the couple may have been married in a Church ceremony. For example, the couple might have married at such a young age that sufficient maturity was not present, or there might have been pressure on the couple to marry in a hurry without truly knowing one another. Conditions such as a problem with alcohol or drugs can affect the validity of a marriage. A discussion with your priest should help determine whether you have grounds for an annulment of your previous marriage.

If the possibility of an annulment seems slim, I’d encourage you to continue to attend Mass and participate in the life of your parish. Even if you are unable to receive communion in the Church, you can experience “communion” with God in prayer and trying to lead a good life. You might also check to see if there’s a ministry for Divorced Catholics in your area. If so, those involved in this ministry can provide valuable support and assistance.

God bless you, Fr. Joe


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