According to familiaris consortio, the only case where a "civilly" re-married Catholic may receive communion, is where they repent and live like brother-sister, so to speak.

Are there other, perhaps special situations, where such a Catholic may be allowed to receive the Eucharist? Is there some applicable canon law, other papal, or something in the catechism that I may not be aware of?

We are assuming that the re-married catholic had a prior valid marriage in Catholic church that has not yet been declared null, and that the second marriage is a civil marriage only.

  • Would you consider the case where the person has civilly remarried the same person who they previously civilly divorced to be a valid special case?
    – Vality
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 16:53

1 Answer 1


Are there other, perhaps special situation, where such a Catholic - divorced and remarried - may be allowed to receive the Eucharist?

No there aren't Unless a declaration of nullity [cf.entire Ch 1 (Art 1-7) Code of Canon Law] is issued on the prior marriage, and the current marriage convalidated.

a. Epikeia and aequitas canonica exist in the sphere of human and purely ecclesiastical norms of great significance, but cannot be applied to those norms over which the Church has no discretionary authority. The indissoluble nature of marriage is one of these norms which goes back to Christ Himself and is thus identified as a norm of divine law. The Church cannot sanction pastoral practices - for example, sacramental pastoral practices - which contradict the clear instruction of the Lord.

In other words, if the prior marriage of two divorced and remarried members of the faithful was valid, under no circumstances can their new union be considered lawful and therefore reception of the sacraments is intrinsically impossible. The conscience of the individual is bound to this norm without exception.2

2 Cf. Angel Rodríguez Luño, L’epicheia nella cura pastorale dei fedeli divorziati risposati, ibid., pp. 75-87; Piero Giorgio Marcuzzi, S.D.B., Applicazione di "aequitas et epikeia" ai contenuti della Lettera della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede del 14 settembre 1994, ibid., pp. 88-98; Gilles Pelland, S.J., La pratica della Chiesa antica relativa ai fedeli divorziati risposati, ibid., pp. 99-131.

Source: Objections to the Church's Teaching on the Reception of Holy Communion by Divorced and Remarried Members of the Faithful by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger | Congregation for the Doctrine for the Faith.

Please see also

CCC 1665 The remarriage of persons divorced from a living, lawful spouse contravenes the plan and law of God as taught by Christ. They are not separated from the Church, but they cannot receive Eucharistic communion. They will lead Christian lives especially by educating their children in the faith.


CDF October 22, 2014 response to the Question of a French Priest: "Can a confessor grant absolution to a penitent who, having been religiously married, has contracted a second union following divorce?"


  1. OP contained - "civilly" re-married Catholic - wording. If one is re-married, there must have been a prior marriage that ended in a divorce.
  2. A Sacramental marriage is a marriage between two baptized persons. A valid marriage between a Catholic and a non-baptized person is NOT a sacramental marriage.
  3. If a Catholic marries not observing the Church's laws on marriage, that marriage is invalid.

Please see this answer to: Is a Catholic annulment divorce in a Catholic way?

  • It may be worthwhile to update in answer in light of Amoris Laetitia.
    – Belinda
    Commented May 7, 2016 at 15:53
  • @Belinda Amoris Laetitia did not change Church teaching, the Catechism or Canon Law. Commented May 9, 2016 at 7:23
  • @AndrewLeach I agree that Amoris Laetitia did not change teaching, however it did mention the issue of culpability, which, while always part of the doctrine I think was made more explicit there. If not I would be happy to say that if the couple are seen a not culpable for the sin they may receive, but those circumstances would be rare.
    – Belinda
    Commented May 9, 2016 at 10:29
  • You need to address dispensations to be complete, which are covered in canon law. Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 2:47

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