Resources for Divorced and Separated Catholics

Divorced Catholics
There is much misunderstanding about divorced Catholics. For instance:

  • Divorced Catholics are not excommunicated.
  • Most divorced Catholics may receive Eucharist and Reconciliation.
  • Divorced Catholics are full members of the Catholic Church and may participate fully in the life of the Church.
  • Children will not be illegitimate if a declaration of nullity is granted.
  • Before a divorced Catholic can re-marry in the Church, a declaration of nullity must be granted on the previous marriage.

Church Teachings on Divorce
“If either spouse causes serious danger to body or spirit to the other spouse or the children, that spouse gives the other a legitimate cause for separating…” Code of Canon Law

“…for people who have undergone divorce…it is even more necessary for the Church to offer continual love and assistance, without there being any obstacle to admission to the sacraments.” Pope John Paul II, in Familiaris Consortio, 1981

“Any baptized person who is not prohibited by law can and must be admitted to Holy Communion.” Code of Canon Law

“The Church does not admit to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried.” Pope John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio, 1981

“The Lord Jesus insisted on the original intention of the Creator who willed that marriage be indissoluble. He abrogates the accommodations that had slipped into the old Law.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church

Recovering After Divorce
Faith and courage are needed to rebuild life after the end of a marriage. You are encouraged to seek help from good people who have learned how to move ahead with rebuilding their lives. Peer support groups, professional counseling, and kind people in your faith community are likely places to seek out support.

If you are separated, use this time to reflect on God’s will for you. Attend Retrouvaille, participate in The Third Option program, seek effective counseling from a professional, and pray for strength to follow your marital commitment. Think of what is best for the children.

If you are a single parent, seek help from other single parents. Attend parent education opportunities through your local grammar school, high school, park district, or library. Never speak ill of the other parent in front of the children.

If you are co-parenting, learn to share the children in a kind way. Do not punish the other parent and do not punish the child for the relationship they have with the other parent. Every time you talk poorly about the other parent, you inflict deep pain in the child. Children whose separated or divorced parents continue to argue and fight have the greatest harm inflicted on them.

Online Resources:
www.divorcedcatholic.org (Catholic divorce support)
www.childreninthemiddle.com (interactive divorce education program for parents)
www.NACSDC.org (Catholic Divorce Ministry)
www.Rainbows.org (help for the children of divorce)
www.compassionatedivorce.com (Center for Compassionate Divorce)
www.thinkingdivorce.com (before you decide to divorce, check this out!)

Books:
Making Your Way After Your Parents’ Divorce by Lynn Cassella, Liguori, 2003
The Divorce Remedy by Michele Weinar Davis, Simon & Schuster, 2001
Spiritual Divorce by Ford, Harper 2001
Thinking Divorce? Think Again by Lorie Fowlke, 2004
The Good Karma Divorce by Michele Lowrance, 2010
Between Two Worlds by Elizabeth Marquardt, 2006
Praying Though Your Divorce, by O’Donnell, St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2003
Divorce and Beyond by Radtke, Greteman, Haverkamp, ACTA, 2004
Should I Stay or Go? How Controlled Separation Can Save Your Marriage by Raffel and Houston, Contemporary Books, 1999
Mom’s House, Dad’s House by Ricci, Simon and Schuster, 1997
Adult Children of Divorced Parents, by Rodgers and Rodgers, Resource Publications, 2003
Voices of Children of Divorce by Dr. David Royko, St. Martin’s Griffin, 2000
Parenting After Divorce by Stahl. 2000
Healing the Heartbreak of Divorce by Rose Sweet, Hendrickson Publishers, 2007
Your Child’s Divorce by Marsha Temlock, Impact Publishers, 2006
Catholics, Marriage and Divorce: Real People, Real Questions by Victoria Vondenberger, St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2004
The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce by Wallerstein, Lewis, Blakeslee, Hyperion, 2000
What About the Kids? Raising Your Children Before, During, and After Divorce by Judith S. Wallerstein, Hyperion, 2003

Annulment
Catholic Annulment; Spiritual Healing by Dennis and Kay Flowers, Liguori, 2001
Annulments and the Catholic Church by Edward Peters, Ascension Press, 2004

Remarriage
The Smart Stepfamily by Ron Deal, Bethany House, 2002
Making Your Second Class Marriage A First Class Success by Doug & Naomi Moseley, 1998
Saving Your Second Marriage Before It Starts by Parrott and Parrott, Zondervan, 2001

For Parents/Kids:
Now What Do I Do? by Lynn Cassella-Kapusinski, ACTA Publications, 2006
Child Custody; Achieving a Parenting Partnership by Kenneth & Janice Dimick, Resource Publications, Inc, 2002
The Shelter of Each Other; Rebuilding Our Families by Mary Pipher, Ballentine Books, 1996
Mom’s House, Dad’s House by Isolina Ricci, Simon and Schuster, 1997