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Married Outside the Church & Holy Communion


I have had this discussion with several ladies at work and we all seem to have different answers. I am in the process of getting a convalidation. My husband and I were married in Las Vegas seven years ago. I told my co-workers that I do not receive Holy Communion because I am living in sin. One (Catholic) co-worker had a civil marriage (nothing in church) over twenty-five ago and receives Holy Communion. Another co-worker lives with her Jewish boyfriend and also receives Holy Communion. Which one of us is wrong?


Some people receive the sacrament even though they are not morally disposed to do so. Priests are often criticized for administering the sacrament in these cases; however, the priest can do nothing externally that would violate the seal of confession, professional secrecy or the internal forum. While there is currently some debate about the discipline, nothing of Catholic doctrine has changed. The marriages of Catholics should be witnessed by a priest or deacon. Catholics who are only civilly married or cohabitating and sharing sexual intimacy are not invited to come forward for Holy Communion. Marriage outside the Church is a serious sin. Fornication is also serious, indeed sexual activity outside of marriage constitutes mortal sin. If we receive Holy Communion while aware of ourselves in a state of mortal sin (not spiritually prepared) then we commit the mortal sin of sacrilege. In other words, while one person receives grace and eternal life with the Eucharist, others receive their own condemnation or judgment. Thus, the long-and-short of it is this, YOU are RIGHT and THEY are WRONG. The couple that is living together should see a priest and receive the sacrament of marriage. If there be any prior bonds, then we are also talking about adultery. The other civilly married couple should follow your lead and seek out a convalidation.

2 Responses

  1. Wanted to add a comment. I am in a mixed marriage myself. I was married by a justice of the peace in 1999, I became a Catholic in 2004. My wife is Japanese and a nominal or cultural Shin Buddhist and for the most part does not practice unless in Japan visiting family. There is no way a convalidation ceremony possible in my case so there is “radical sanation” which I wrote a letter to the diocese bishop with help from my parish priest. I got a response back that a radical sanation was blnot necessary due to own conversion after my natural marriage. Just wanted to clarify this point as some can make an assumption without knowing full circumstances about others in mixed marriages. A Catholic in good standing who marries outside the Church would need a convalidation ceremony with those willing Christian spouses that agree to their children being raised Catholic and if they don’t consent a radical sanation would be the next step. I don’t know about Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox in terms of the same circumstances but the process may be different if not similar in some degree. Pax Et Bonum. Stephen Brace, OFS

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