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?
- If I request information about joining a religious organisation, will I be pressured into joining?
- Are religious orders different from one another? If so, how are they different?
- As a priest, will I get to see and talk with family and friends regularly?
- I’m very attracted to women. Will this pass with time and training or will I always be tempted?
- Would entering a religious community mean that I would have to sever my relationships with family and friends?
- Why do I have to be celibate to be a priest?
- Why do some priests wear religious clothes while others don’t?
- If I take a vow of celibacy, will I get very lonely?