Ask a Priest – Civil Marriage vs. Marriage in the Church?

01 Nov 2012

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 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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