You are probably here because you just got separated or perhaps just out of curiosity, whatever your reason may be, you are in the right place! In this blog post, we will discuss and answer one of the most frequently asked questions, Can Catholics Remarry?
The Holy Matrimony
Before going in-depth, let’s first tackle the basic teachings of the Catholic Church regarding marriage.
Marriage is a holy sacrament in the Catholic Church. It is a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman.
Based on the Catechism,
CCC 1601 The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.
Marriage is not just a legal contract, it is a Sacrament, a sacred covenant between a man and a woman, blessed by God.
When a couple marries, they are making a vow with each other and with God. They promise to love and honor one another for the rest of their lives, through good times and bad.
It is one of the vocations that requires an unending commitment to building a lasting loving relationship with one’s spouse. The Catholic marriage is the reflection of the love and unity between Christ and His Church, a bond that is indissoluble and unbreakable.
The Catholic Church requires a couple to undergo marriage preparation before they marry. The preparation process is designed to help the couple understand the Sacrament and what it entails. The preparation process usually involves counseling, retreats, and classes on the Catholic faith.
A divorce is an act of dissolving a valid marriage.
CCC 2384 Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery: If a husband, separated from his wife, approaches another woman, he is an adulterer because he makes that woman commit adultery, and the woman who lives with him is an adulteress, because she has drawn another’s husband to herself.
It is clear that the Church is against and does not recognize divorce.
While the Church prohibits divorce, it allows annulment. An annulment is a declaration that the marriage was never valid in the eyes of the Church since the beginning.
It involves an investigation by a Church tribunal to determine if there are grounds as follows:
- Lack of due discretion: This means that at least one of the couples did not fully understand the nature and responsibilities of marriage at the time of the wedding.
- Lack of due form: This means that the marriage was not conducted in accordance with the laws of the Catholic Church, such as not having a priest present for the ceremony.
- Lack of due consent: This means that one of the couples did not give full and free consent to the marriage, such as being under duress or not being of sound mind at the time of marriage.
It is important to note that the annulment process can be lengthy, and there are strict guidelines to follow. An individual seeking an annulment must provide evidence to support their case. Additionally, not every request for an annulment is granted, as the Church takes the validity of marriage very seriously.
The Catholic Church recognizes remarriage only after annulment since the original marriage was not valid, was never a sacramental union, and therefore, not binding.
The Catholic Church believes in the indissolubility of marriage. Divorce is not recognized, and remarriage after divorce is not allowed unless the marriage is annulled. Marriage is a sacred covenant between a man, a woman, and God, and the Church is committed to helping couples maintain the Sacrament of marriage holy.
So to answer the question.
Can Catholics Remarry?
Yes, but only after the annulment of their prior marriages. The Catholic Church considers holy matrimony as an unbreakable covenant so proving that it is not valid from the very beginning is the only way that it allows remarriage. Without a declaration of nullity, remarriage would be considered adultery and not in line with Church teachings.
Although the Church does not allow divorce, it offers pastoral care for individuals who have experienced divorce.
The Church recognizes that divorce can be a painful and difficult experience, and it is committed to supporting those who have gone through it. It supports divorced Catholics who wish to remain active in their faith. They help them to continue to participate in Mass and receive the Sacraments as long as they are not in a sexual relationship with others. The Church recognizes that divorce does not affect your status as a Catholic.
If you are considering remarriage, it is important to seek guidance from your local Catholic parish because it can be complicated.
The Sacrament of Marriage is a lifetime commitment that cannot be undone by human action. As Catholics, we have to make sure that this covenant remains holy. It is not just a contract. It requires profound understanding between a couple, helping each other to carry the cross and remain faithful until the end.
That couples keep the promises they made at the Holy Matrimony, Loving Mother, pray for us.