Civil marriage

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: We have a couple in a civil marriage, but not a church marriage. They are not therefore eligible to receive the sacraments, but may they serve as readers and communion ministers? They want to stay active with the church.


A: If I were in your shoes, I’d visit with them first to learn more about the marital situation. If I could help resolve it through opening an annulment case, I’d like to get that started.

To keep them active in parish life, I see no objection to them serving as readers. However, the Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America presume that “all eucharistic ministers” receive communion (40). It would not be proper for them to serve as communion ministers.