Ask a Priest – Civil Marriage vs. Marriage in the Church?
Nov 01, 2012
Can a Catholic who has had a civil marriage, still receive Holy Communion? And, before or after a divorce, can they receive Holy Communion and be married within the Church? What are the benefits of marrying within the Catholic Church?
Someone who is a Catholic should marry in a Catholic ceremony, so if they marry in a civil ceremony and are living with their spouse then they should not present themselves to receive Communion.
As for divorce in itself it is not a barrier for communion, but an annulment is required before being able to marry again.
What are the benefits? Well, what are the benefits of any sacrament? Each sacrament confers a distinctive sacramental grace. There is a good article on this that goes into some detail regarding this matter.
The USCCB website http://foryourmarriage.org has some great advice about marriage in the Catholic Church: “We believe that weddings are sacred moments, which should ordinarily happen in the place where the bride or groom worships, with their families and their faith community. A church isn’t just a set or backdrop for a wedding; rather a wedding is an expression of a faith community’s joys and hopes.”
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- Sacraments 101: Matrimony – Why Make it Catholic? – A Video by Busted Halo.
- Why Get Married in a Church? – Article from the USCCB website foryourmarriage.org.
- May a Catholic Married in a Non-Catholic Ceremony Receive Communion? Article from Catholic Exchange.
- Catholic Q&A – Marriage, Divorce & Annulments – This article covers some of most frequently asked questions received at The Crossroads Initiative about Marriage, Divorce and Annulments.