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?
- Why are there so many different religious orders?
- Are religious orders different from one another? If so, how are they different?
- I read stories of religious communities merging or closing down. Are religious organisations dying out?
- What can I do as a priest that I cannot do as a layperson working for a charity or NGO?
- What if I change my mind about being a priest during training or things just don’t work out? How do I pick my life back up again?
- If I request information about joining a religious organisation, will I be pressured into joining?
- As a priest, will I get to see and talk with family and friends regularly?
- Do religious communities offer a trial period?
- Why would anybody become a priest nowadays?