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Divorced Catholics barred from receiving the sacrament?

A question came in asking if divorced Catholics are barred from receiving the sacrments?

Let's start at the beginning: A Catholic is not excommunicated when he or she is divorced. A divorced person is fully and completely a member of the church. As a member of the church there should be nothing that prevents a divorced Catholic from reciving the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Penance. However, although not excommunicated, a Catholic who remarries without an annulment may not receive Communion.  Also a divorced person who is cohabitating or having sex also should not receive communion as they are in a state of sin just as anyone else outside of marriage in those conditions would be.  The other sacraments would not be an issue because they would have been completed to be married or are not an option (Holy Orders, Marriage until annuled, etc.)

We must be careful when dealing with divorcees as all to often we can condemn that person for something that was beyond their control and condemnation belongs to God alone.  We should instead encourage them to get an annulment which after long and serious study, would say that at least one of the elements seen as essential for a binding marriage was not present in a particular relationship.  An annulment implies not moral judgment one way or another about either of the parties. FYI an annulment does not make children illegitimate. The Church considers children to be  a gift from God; therefore, the law of the Church states that children born of a marriage that is later declared to be invalid are legitimate.  Keep the questions coming.

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