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A) Since you did not follow the form of marriage required for Catholics under Canon Law, you are not considered married in the eyes of the Church.
Until you have the marriage validated, (blessed) you may not receive communion.
No clear guidance emerged from last fall’s Synod of Bishops on the Family for divorced and remarried Catholics who wish to receive holy Communion. Over the course of 40 years as a priest, I have helped many couples pursue an annulment in order to be free to validate their current marriage in the eyes of the church.
While this may be appropriate in some cases, even a streamlined process will not address the real pastoral questions that the annulment process raises.
A person who persists in a conjugal relationship outside of marriage, in any situation but including remarriage after divorce without a declaration of nullity, should not present themselves for sacramental communion but instead should seek a spiritual communion, praying for God to dwell more fully in his or her heart. A) Yes, once a Decree of Nullity (annulment) has been issued by the Diocesan Tribunal.
3) Can a Catholic marry a divorced non-Catholic in the Church?
8) Does this mean that the marriage did not take place? A) No, the marriage existed but was invalid in the eyes of the Church. In 2010 the average processing time for a case in our diocese was eight months.
This has no effect on the civil aspects of marriage, divorce, alimony, or on the status of the children. All cases are processed in the order the Tribunal receives them. A) No, the process in each case is the search for the truth of the question of validity on the day of the marriage.
A civil divorce in itself, while tragic, does not damage a person’s communion with the Church, and so divorced persons can participate in the entire sacramental life of the Church and they are encouraged to widely participate in the life of the parish.
The Church strongly encourages you to visit with a priest or deacon to discuss your situation.