Questions & Answers

The Church teaches that God loves us.  How do we know this?
We know this from the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, who revealed his Father as a God of love.  You can find this message in the Gospels, in the Letters of St. Paul and in the Letters of St. John.  As Christianity continued throughout the centuries, saints and mystics also revealed to us a God of infinite love and mercy.

What is the present role of women in the Roman Catholic Church?  Can they become deacons and/or Eucharistic Ministers?
Women are encouraged to be active members of the Church.  They can be Eucharistic ministers, lectors, altar servers, trustees, heads of organizations, lay missionaries, founders of religious orders, pastoral ministers, etc.  The only area limited to men is the Sacrament of Holy Orders (deacons, priests, and bishops).

Someone told me at work that if you are living together you cannot be married in the Catholic Church.  Is this true?
Church law does not prohibit priests from marrying couples who live together, but a priest can refuse to marry a couple if he thinks that there is not sufficient maturity, if he thinks someone is being pressured, or if he feels the couple is not capable of giving full consent or making a permanent commitment to the marriage.

Can a divorced person participate in a meaningful way in the Church?
Yes!  Divorce does not mean that you are automatically excommunicated.  You can join any parish activity or volunteer to help out on any of the parish service committees or outreach programs.

There are so many conflicting viewpoints surrounding the practice of my Catholic faith as a divorced person.
That’s because there are so many different situations.  Each person’s story is unique, and it’s best to talk to a priest when you are in doubt about your status in the Church.  Don’t rely on the advice of Catholic friends, relatives or neighbors, who might not have a complete understanding of the laws of the Church or issues related to your own conscience.

I heard that I was automatically excommunicated once my divorce was final.  Is that true?
No.  A divorced person is NOT automatically excommunicated.

Are you automatically excommunicated if you are divorced and remarry outside the Church?
No.  In May, 1977, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops removed the penalty of excommunication imposed by the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore (1884) on American Catholics who divorced and remarried.

I was a Godparent when I was still in good standing in the Church.  Now I’m divorced and remarried and can no longer be a Godparent.  What about my first Godparent responsibility?
Your responsibility as a Godparent does not change.

How does a divorced non-Catholic get into the Church?
Divorced non-Catholics enter the Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA).

I was denied a church annulment many years ago.  Can I try again?
Yes.

Are your children considered illegitimate if you get an annulment?
No.  The Church considers the children legitimate.

Is it possible to get an annulment if your “ex” doesn’t want anything to do with it?
Yes, it is possible.

If I have had an abortion, how do I ask God’s forgiveness and get back into the Church?
You can receive God’s healing forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  You might also consider contacting Bethesda Post-Abortion Healing Ministry.  They offer heartfelt and genuine support, information and sincere loving acceptance.  The office number at Bethesda is 614.718.0277.

Can someone who has had a vasectomy or a tubal ligation still be a Catholic?
Yes.

Can a priest refuse to baptize my baby because I’m not married to the baby’s father?
No.  Canon 868 states that for baptism of an infant it is necessary that:
1.  The parents or at least one of them or the person who lawfully takes their place gives consent; and
2. There be founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion.

Is it true that the Church now allows Catholics to be cremated?
Yes, as long as the cremation is not chosen in defiance of the Catholic belief in the resurrection of the body.

Is it true that you cannot have a Catholic funeral if you are divorced?
No.  It is not true.

Can someone who committed suicide have a Catholic funeral?
Yes.

Can a non-Catholic husband be buried next to his Catholic wife in a Catholic cemetery?
Yes.

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