Pending annulment and initiation

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Sorry to bother… but I am teaching a class and a question came up…. 

I know that we don’t celebrate the Rite of Election or Sacraments of Initiation with those whose annulments are pending….The question is: Why? 

Is the primary reason that initiation is ordered to Eucharist, and since they can’t receive communion (or confirmation) they should also not be baptized? Or is the irregular union also an obex to baptism? 

I can’t find a clear answer to that anywhere… Thanks!


A: There was an article in Canon Law Digest that took this up on July 11, 1983. You’ll find this response to 3 questions about divorce and remarriage on pp. 139-140.

“The first asked whether a divorced and remarried person may be admitted to the catechumenate. The Congregation’s reply would be affirmative, but with the precaution that such a person would almost invariably experience considerable distress when taught in such a program about the Catholic Church’s position regarding the indissolubility of marriage. Obviously, the Church’s position would have to be presented clearly and candidly despite the presence of divorced and remarried persons.

“The second question asked whether it is correct to say that such persons would not be admissible to the Sacraments of Initiation if their first marriage could not, for some reason, be considered invalid. Our response would be in the affirmative.

“Thirdly, it was asked whether there would be a possibility of admitting such persons to the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. Our response would be negative.”

Then, logically, since the Rite of Election is to be celebrated when the path to initiation has been cleared, six weeks in advance of initiation, we hold off until the case has settled.