Can widowed or divorced people enter religious life?
A widowed person can, of course, enter religious life, all else being equal (i.e. that there are no other impediments present, such as having responsibility for the rearing of children). Just as a widowed person is free to marry, so he or she is free to commit to religious life.
A divorced person is not free to enter religious life. See Code of Canon Law, Can. 721, 3. A divorced person is still married in the eyes of the Church unless he or she has received an annulment, in which case the person is free to remarry or enter religious life.
Most popular questions
- I feel I have a specific charism to youth outreach. Can I live this charism out as a priest, or must I follow the charism of the order I join?
- If I request information about joining a religious organisation, will I be pressured into joining?
- Can I become a bishop or cardinal and not a priest?
- I read stories of religious communities merging or closing down. Are religious organisations dying out?
- If I take a vow of celibacy, will I get very lonely?
- Can a gay man become a priest?
- I do not consider myself to be exceptionally holy, I try to pray every day and follow the commandments. I have always been very interested in the priesthood but I have never felt a burning passion for it. Could I still be called to the priesthood?
- Why are there so many different religious orders?
- What’s the difference between a diocesan priest and a priest in a religious order?
- Can I still join the priesthood if I have personal debts?