May a couple who marry in the Church, divorce, and later reconcile resume marital relations?


Full Question

A husband and wife are validly married in the Catholic Church, and after several years get a civil divorce, never seek an annulment, live chastely after the divorce, and then reconcile. Are they allowed to have intercourse since they are still married in the eyes of the Church, or must they first have their marriage acknowledged by the state?

Answer

For a Catholic, divorce is a purely civil matter and does not affect the validity of a sacramental marriage whatsoever. The husband and wife will always retain the right to express their marriage vows sexually. When such individuals reconcile, they are certainly free to live as man and wife.


Fr. Vincent Serpa O.P.