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In circumstances involving abuse and violence, for example, the Church certainly understands that a divorce may be legally necessary.
A battered wife, or a spouse seeking to protect children from an abusive situation by taking the means required under civil law to keep the abuser away, can hardly be considered morally culpable for obtaining a divorce for reasons of physical safety.
The fact is, the Church does not teach that Catholics are forbidden to receive Holy Communion if they are divorced.
Rather, it teaches that a Catholic who has been divorced , without having first obtained an annulment of the first marriage, is not permitted to receive the Eucharist.
There are other situations in which a Catholic spouse might very well find that divorce is, unfortunately, the best way to resolve a difficult situation.
The Church is therefore concerned simultaneously with three different, although interrelated issues: (a) an individual Catholic’s personal spiritual wellbeing; (b) the need to maintain reverence toward the Most Holy Eucharist; and (c) the need to avoid public scandal.
In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ—“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery”—the Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was.
If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God’s law.
Similarly, a divorce may be civilly necessary if one spouse is bankrupting the family with compulsive gambling.
In such a case a Catholic might need to obtain a divorce in order to safeguard the financial wellbeing of the rest of the family.