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Chad Riddle wrote:

Hi, guys —

My name is Chad Riddle. I was raised Protestant but am feeling strongly drawn to the Catholic faith and have been going to Mass. Perhaps I should address this question to my local priest, however, he has:

  • a heavy load at the Catholic School
  • a large parish
  • health problems, etc.

Here's some background:

My wife is, somewhat, not fully, resistant to our joining the Church. My first wife died at age 24 due to cancer. My current wife is divorced and has to write a sort of essay concerning her first marriage in order for us to be married in the Church and receive Communion.

I love her dearly and could not divorce her. I just do not think the Lord would approve of such a horrible action on my part just to receive Communion. We are older and only have sex a few times a year — less than once a month. I don't want to join the Church without her but neither do I wish to remain outside the Church.

  • If I agreed to abstain from sex, could I be admitted to the Church and receive Communion?

I believe my wife could accept this without feeling that, somehow, I did not love her. I think she would understand that I must love God first, and that only by placing God first, can I truly love her.

  • Am I just stuck or is there a way I can join the Church and receive the sacraments?

Thanks, and
Vaya con Dios


  { If I agreed to abstain from sex, could I be admitted to the Church and receive Communion? }

Eric replied:

Hi Chad,

There should be a way with abstinence to be received into the Church, if your wife is unable to receive an annulment, but you will have to talk to your priest about it.

Your situation can only be handled by him.


John replied:

Hi Chad,

It's wonderful that the Holy Spirit is calling you to the fullness of the faith found only in the Catholic Church.

Rather than address your question directly, I'd rather understand your wife's hesitation.
In addition, becoming a Catholic is not just a matter of receiving Communion. For one thing,
the Eucharist is none other than the Person of Jesus Christ: His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity under the appearance of Bread and Wine. It is not just a symbolic representation.

Secondly, one becomes a Catholic because they have come to believe the Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ on the Apostles, with Peter as the Chief Apostle. When one enters the Church, one professes the One Faith handed down by Christ through the Apostles and their successors.

So my advice to you is, to continue to seek to enter the Church together, for the sake
of both of you.

I would agree that there might be an allowance if you both agree to practice abstinence,
but if your wife is granted an annulment, that won't be necessary.


Fr. Jonathan replied:

Mike —

Tell Chad I would:

  1. Go to the priest — or another priest
  2. If his wife is not baptized this would be easier — is that the case?

The answer to his question about whether or not he can come in with that is an internal forum question, meaning it is not something we can answer but something he needs to speak about with the priest — so, once again, go to the priest.

Fr. Jonathan

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