Q. Many people in our parish who receive the Eucharist have been divorced and are remarried. I'm sure not all of them have received an annulment. Is it just between them and God, or should the priest or someone say something to them?
-- D.S. via e-mail
A. Here is a reply from Father Francis Hoffman, J.C.D.:
Is it just between them and God? Not exactly, because marriage is one of two sacraments at the service of communion in the Church, the other being holy orders. For that reason, those sacraments take on a public character. That is why witnesses are required for a valid marriage ceremony.
If people are divorced civilly, they must have an annulment before they can contract a valid second marriage in the Church. If their second marriage is irregular, they should not receive holy Communion. If their behavior confuses and scandalizes the other faithful in the parish, someone should say something to them -- preferably the priest.
This is not being "judgmental" (you are not judging their intentions); it is simply following Our Lord's exhortation to practice fraternal correction.
HT: Our Sunday Visitor, Sept. 28, 2010