According to a current Pew Research Center survey, many Roman Catholics in the United States (62%) believe the Vatican should allow divorced Catholics to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion even if they have remarried without an annulment from the Church. Roughly a third of U.S. Catholics (35%) say they believe that embarking upon a second marriage, after getting legally divorced, without receiving an annulment from the Church is sinful, compared to nearly half (49%) who say remarriage without first receiving an annulment is not a sin. A full 61% of those declaring their faith as Roman Catholic believe that getting divorced from a spouse is not a sin, compared to only 21% who believe that it is.
Changing Views on Annulments
These views and beliefs may come from the fact that much like couples of other faiths, Catholics do experience divorce and remarriage. Twenty five percent of American Catholic adults have been divorced, and roughly a third of those have remarried. When surveying all U.S. Catholics who are divorced, a little more than a quarter (26%) say they or their ex-spouse sought to receive an annulment from the Catholic Church.
In fact, there appears to be a growing trend that many Catholics in the U.S. who have been divorced no longer view an annulment as necessary for remarriage or for maintaining their religious faith. The Pew Research Center survey asked all divorced U.S. Catholics who have not petitioned for an annulment why they chose not to; the most common response given was that Catholics did not see an annulment as necessary in moving forward with their life post-divorce or that they simply did not want one.
The Pew survey also found that some Catholics who have divorced and remarried, or are living with a romantic partner outside of marriage, still receive Communion at least some of the time when they attend Mass – despite the fact that in the eyes of the church they are no longer eligible to.
The changing beliefs and practices by U.S. Catholics are also apparent in the number of social issues in which individuals disagree with the church (e.g., should Catholics should be allowed to use birth control) or are divided (e.g., should the church recognize the marriages of gay and lesbian couples).
U.S. Catholics who regularly attend Mass are more likely to accept the Church’s view about which sexual behaviors and living arrangements are considered sinful, such as homosexual behavior, cohabitation, and remarriage without an annulment. When surveying those U.S. Catholics who attend Mass less frequently, a far greater number of respondents view these behaviors as acceptable.
To read more about the survey, and access links to additional details and data, visit the Pew Research Center’s website.
Contact Laura Monty Law in Fort Collins
If you or your spouse reside in the Fort Collins or Larimer County region, and are considering filing for divorce in Northern Colorado, do not hesitate to contact Laura Monty Law to explore a variety of divorce options. We provide collaborative divorce representation, divorce mediation services, legal advising for uncontested divorces and contested divorces, and a full array of divorce and family law services to meet your family’s needs. We strongly believe in taking a compassionate approach to family law, and recognize that every situation is unique.