Sacraments for divorced and remarried?



Q. A divorced Catholic who has remarried outside the church cannot receive holy Communion without an annulment of the first marriage. Can they receive other sacraments -- such as the anointing of the sick or a Mass of Christian burial? (City and state withheld)

A. A Catholic who is divorced and remarried without an annulment is surely still a member of the church. In "Familiaris Consortio," an apostolic exhortation that he wrote in 1981, St. John Paul II highlighted this truth. He said:

"I earnestly call upon pastors and the whole community of the faithful to help the divorced, and with solicitous care to make sure that they do not consider themselves as separated from the church, for as baptized persons they can, and indeed must, share in her life. They should be encouraged to listen to the word of God, to attend the sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer ... to bring up their children in the Christian faith, to cultivate the spirit and the practice of penance and thus implore, day by day, God’s grace" (No. 84).

Specifically to your question, the person you ask about may receive the anointing of the sick in danger of death and may have a Catholic funeral Mass and be buried in a Catholic cemetery.

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Questions may be sent to Father Kenneth Doyle at and 30 Columbia Circle Dr., Albany, New York 12203.