Divorced are not excommunicated!

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Happily, the Vatican is attempting to clarify a common misconception: that those who are divorced are excommunicated.

"We speak correctly of the pastoral care of divorced persons which relates to Christians who live in an irregular situation, but are not excommunicated," he said.

The archbishop added: "It is urgent to assist wounded persons who suffer due to unhappy marital vicissitudes, at times separated and divorced in spite of themselves."

I think a further clarification that should be made is that having obtained a civil divorce in and of itself does not put one in a state of mortal sin. Unless one intends to remarry, an annulment is not necessary.

UPDATE: Alicia makes a good point in the comment boxes. I should be much more clear and state that usually in the case where a divorce occurs, at least one partner is probably guilty of a violation of the marriage vows. The instances I am referring to above are situations where a more or less "innocent spouse" may believe they are excluded from the Church simply because of the divorce. I intended the term "in and of itself" above to refer to the fact that the divorce of a valid marriage can often be the result of actions by one or both spouses that render it impossible for the couple to live with each other without a drastic change of heart on the part of one of the parties (think physical or mental abuse for one example). In such a situation, a civil divorce can sever ties for the good (and even sometimes the protection of) the other spouse.

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I don't have any comment on the posting, I just wanted to acknowledge your seasonal color change... I like it. :) But then again, I use colored coordinated post-it tabs to mark the guitar book for choir, and on the 6th of March I (and Jeff C.) will be wearing a pink shirt.


Thanks Brandon,

I lkike the way it came out. The green was a little hard to read, especially if I posted something lengthier, I'm thinking of making a permanent change.

Divorce is not always a mortal sin, but in some circumstances may be. If a man abandons his wife and makes no attempt to live out his marriage vows, and then ultimately divorces her - is he not guilty of several sins?
The code of canon law states that, prior to seeking a divorce, a Catholic must consult.
read the references here http://www.marysadvocates.org/officialteaching.html
for more info

That's an excellent point, Alicia.

You are correct in that a Catholic in a marriage that is going south should seek help from the Church to determine his or her options. Furthermore, in most cases of divorce of a valid marriage, at least one party is probably guilty of a grave betrayal of their marriage vows.

I should be much more clear, especially since I'm complaining about misconceptions: what I have in mind is a person looking back on a wrecked marriage - which may have occurred through little or no fault of his or her own - and believeing that they are "bad Catholics" or that the they are forbidden from the Sacraments forever. That is the area where misinformation needs to be cleared up.


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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on February 8, 2005 7:55 PM.

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