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For Your Marriage

Is a Divorced Person Excommunicated?

A reader has asked the following question:

How do you respond to someone who says he is excommunicated from the Church so he no longer attends because he’s divorced and did not receive an annulment? I know it isn’t true but I don’t know the details.


Some people believe that a Catholic who divorces is excommunicated. Not true! Divorced persons are full members of the Church and are encouraged to participate in its activities. The U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults says: “When divorce is the only possible recourse, the Church offers her support to those involved and encourages them to remain close to the Lord through frequent reception of the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist.” Read more about the Church’s teaching on divorce.

Should a divorced Catholic wish to remarry in the Church he or she may need an annulment. Read more about the annulment process. Even if a Catholic has divorced and remarried civilly, the Church does not want them to be alienated. The Catechism of the Catholic Church urges attention to them, “so that they do not consider themselves separated from the Church, in whose life they can and must participate as baptized persons” (no. 1651).