Widowed, Separated or Divorced
The loss of loved ones through death, or through divorce, touches every Catholic family in America. Loss is a painful process that affects every facet of human existence. While divorce and widowhood are very different situations, and the needs of divorcees and widows/widowers are also different, there is a common element in the loss of a spouse, and adjustment to a new way of life.
The Catholic Church recognizes this loss as a great source of pain, and is offering education and pastoral assistance for Catholics in either of these situations.
With the support of the Diocese of Oakland, an active group of widowed, divorced and/or separated Catholics has been meeting in Contra Costa County for nearly 40 years, for mutual support, peer counseling, and social activities. They have been a great source of community and strength in our diocese.
Their meetings are open to all, and they create a monthly newsletter. We hope that similar groups can be developed in the future in other locations of the diocese.
Quick Facts - did you know that...?
It is NOT TRUE that single, divorced or separated Catholics may not:
- Be sponsors for Baptism or Confirmation;
- Receive the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist.
It is NOT TRUE that divorced and remarried Catholics:
- Are de facto excommunicated from the Church;
- Are no longer Catholics and cannot register in a parish;
- Are not welcome at Mass and church activities;
- Are not allowed a Church funeral and burial;
- Cannot have their children baptized or receive other sacraments.
Regarding the Marriage Tribunal and Annulments, it is NOT TRUE that:
- You must pay hundreds of dollars for an annulment;
- Someone married for many years cannot obtain an annulment;
- Someone with children cannot get an annulment;
- You need an important contact to get an annulment;
- Annulments take years;
- Your former spouse must cooperate in the process.
"I earnestly call upon pastors and the whole community of the faithful to help the divorced and with solicitous care, to make sure that they do not consider themselves as separated from the Church, for as baptized persons they can and indeed must share in her life." Blessed John Paul II, On the Family, 1981