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
- Can a gay man become a priest?
- 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 organisations?
- What does discernment mean when we’re talking about vocation?
- Why are there so many different religious orders?
- Are religious orders different from one another? If so, how are they different?
- As a priest if I decide that I no longer want to do something, such as work in a specific parish, do I have any say or is it all out of my hands?
- What can I do as a priest that I cannot do as a layperson working for a charity or NGO?
- I have a girlfriend but I feel called to religious life. If I go into training for the priesthood can I still keep my girlfriend in case it becomes clear that I don’t actually have a vocation?
- What is a deacon and how is it different than a priest?