April 2021: How can I rejoin the Catholic Church if I’m divorced?

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  • #11527
    Jacqueline Tinnin

    I am struggling with the divorce issue when evangelizing/talking to ex-Catholics. I work in a health system and it is an amazing environment to speak with professionals and patients about Jesus and His church. One of the doctors that I work with belongs to a non-denominational church and is enrolled in a theology program-he plans on becoming a pastor. We had a super interesting conversation and I mentioned to him that I was Catholic and this is what we believed on a specific topic. Later in the conversation he said he found it interesting that I was a Catholic and that he was raised Catholic and left when he was 18. He went on to share his story of faith and I shared my testimony with him, it was an amazing time. He mentioned that when he wanted to return to the Catholic church when he was younger but couldn’t because he had a divorce as younger man. I still encouraged him to consider returning to the church and would like to be a bit more prepared when the opportunity presents itself again. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to handle this most sensitive topic. I have heard of many former Catholics that feel they cannot return to the church because of divorce. I think this may be one of the most difficult issues that we face. Thank you and God bless.

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    • #12176
      Avatar photoRobert Wilson


      Why do you think you’re not welcome in the Catholic Church because you’re divorced?
      This question may open up the door to explain the true teachings about marriage and annulments.
      Rob L

      Even if you’re remarried, you’re welcome in the Catholic church. You wouldn’t be allowed to receive communion, but you can pray an act of spiritual communion. Here’s an example of one: My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things,
      and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.
      I know of many divorced Catholics very active in their church community. We are all sinners in one way or the other.
      Marie V

      Divorce does not prevent anyone from becoming Catholic or returning to the Church. If you were married outside of the Church your marriage isn’t valid, but that doesn’t mean the situation can’t be rectified. You can and should discuss your situation with a priest. Can I help you with that?
      Louis J

      You should really be in the church Jesus established. Are you married now? If you’re divorced and re-married outside of the Catholic Church, you should seek to have your first marriage annulled. It’s pretty straight forward and, through experiences of people I know who were in the same boat, 100% worth the extra headache if you want to get right with God, which you totally should.
      Kevin N

      The Annulment process in the Church can be a very healing process. If the church declares your first marriage null, then you should have your current marriage convalidated in the Church. The Church has made a path to come Home. We just have to choose to walk that path.
      I speak from experience.
      Jimmy T

      Was he married in the Church or by a Christian minister? Has he remarried? Knowing the answers to these questions are key to giving good advice. If the answer is ‘no’ to the first question, no problem. If it’s ‘no’ to the second question, invite him to an enquiry session at your parish. That’s probably the best place to start. If married in another Christian denomination, an annulment can be filed with the diocese. If remarried, get married in the Church.
      Lynda P

      A civil divorce does not equal divorce in the Church. Catholics married in God’s eyes remain married in God’s eyes. Catholics married to each other are allowed to live apart. Remarriage is not okay, unless it proceeds as brother and sister without sexual intimacy. If someone is remarried, sexual intimacy is adultery. Anything beyond these basics should be discussed with a priest because every situation is different.
      Lori Q

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