What About Folks Like Me?


Dear Father Phil,

I have not been able to get a straight answer from folks so I thought I would explore some more information when I found your site. Hopefully, you can help me out. I have been an outstanding Catholic model all of my life. I went to Catholic school since day one and then to a Catholic College. I rec'd all of my sacraments and practiced and modeled my religion faithfully.

Fortunately, Unfortunately at the age of 42 I met my prince charming and we decided to get married. I had never been married and had no children. He on the other hand was divorced and has three sons. Of course we planned to marry in the Catholic church since he is Baptist and had never married in the Catholic Church either. Come to find out we were crushed, since he had married in a Christian church he had to go through a Catholic annulment. Ok, so be. We were then told it would take 1 to 3 years. At the age of 42 this seemed unreasonable so we married in the Lutheran church. We are going on two years waiting for the process to be completed. For a year they lost our paper work and never notified us. We were just patient until we thought we would check on the delay. Oh well, start again.

My question is this: We still attend our Catholic church on a regular basis and continue to receive our donation envelopes as a couple. Can I receive communion and go to confession because I am not married in the Catholic church? We were married by a Lutheran minister. Since our marriage, over a year ago, I have not received communion or gone to confession, but I feel a true abandonment by my faith.

I have heard lots of different answers but have not been given the most up to date Vatican interpretation. I know that homosexuals with different life styles and marriages still can receive sacraments and have special services in different Catholic churches, but what about folks like me?

C

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Dear C,

I feel like you deserve an amnesty for all you have been thru. Still an annulment does require a judgment by a competent tribunal that no true marriage existed. (Technically speaking this is called a Declaration of Nullity).

I commend you for sticking with the practice of your faith. You can certainly attend Mass and, in that way, fulfill your obligation to worship God. As far as going to communion, you do need to wait for the anulment. Some couples chose to live as brother-sister and thus become eligible for confession, communion, but you guys are pretty young for that.

Homosexuals would be in a similar situation. They could only receive communion if they are abstaining from sexual relationships. This is not meant to punish, but to save from what St. Paul refers to as the condemnation which comes from receiving the Body of Jesus in an objectively sinful state. (I Cor 12:29)

Hang in there. It will be worth it.

God bless,

Fr. Phil Bloom

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