If a couple – at least one of whom is divorced but not free to marry – enters into a marriage, then neither spouse is permitted to receive the Eucharist.

The new civil marriage is presumed to be in conflict with an existing sacramental bond, and so also in conflict with the sacramental significance of the Eucharist. Those who choose such a state – however closely drawn they feel toward each other and God – have broken unity with the Church and with the Church’s understanding of both the Eucharist and Marriage.

The teaching that those who marry outside the Church should not receive the Eucharist is not a judgment about personal guilt or sinfulness; it is a judgment about what conduct is objectively in keeping with Church teaching and what states of life are in keeping with the meaning of the Eucharist as the sacrament of the Church’s unity. The consequences of a marriage without the Church’s blessing is that a couple distances themselves from the life of the Church.

There is an obvious conflict with the Church’s understanding of the sacramental significance of both Marriage and the Eucharist. Given the significance of both for the lives of the faithful, the Church has consistently observed the practice of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced Catholics who have re-married without the blessing of the Church (Familiaris Consortio 84).

In the reception of the Eucharist, all Catholics should frequently consider how they should live their lives. No Catholic should approach the Eucharist with a casual attitude or without repenting of any sinful conduct.

Catholics should always consider carefully how well they have prepared themselves when they wish to receive the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist.