Ask a Priest: Pope's retirement & communion for the divorced

December 18, 2017


Q.  What is Pope Benedict doing in retirement?

A.  Pretty much as he pleases, I suspect.  “Pope Emeritus” is a term that has been used to describe him since his retirement in 2013. 

He is over 90 years old, and he still does reading and some writing.  He’s been careful to keep a low profile so that he doesn’t in any way overshadow his successor, Pope Francis. 

Since Benedict was the first pope to retire in over 600 years, he’s paving the way for what a former pope does. 


Q.  If you’re divorced can still receive Communion?

A.  Yes.  There is no reason to abstain from Communion if you are divorced.

However, if you are re-married, without benefit of a church annulment, you are asked to abstain from Communion. 

You should check with your pastor or another priest or deacon to determine what the circumstances are in your situation.  I’m sure you’ll find them helpful and compassionate.

Q.  If someone commits suicide, Can that person have funeral Mass?

A.   Yes.  As many have said, funerals are much more for the living than for the dead.  

Years ago, people who took their life were not to be buried with a Catholic Mass.  The thinking was that they had acted deliberately against the Lord of Life.

Today, we’ve learned a lot more about psychology and the mental and emotional suffering of ordinary people. So, both for the family and friends of the deceased as well as for the deceased person, a funeral Mass, proclaiming the goodness and the mercy of God, is ordinarily celebrated.


Q.   Priesthood Sunday (last Sunday in October). Does our diocese acknowledge or celebrate this day?  Is it still celebrated in the U.S.?  I haven't seen any mention of awareness about this day anywhere.  Thank You.  Bonnie Turner


A. This is a special day set aside to honor the priesthood in the United States.

This year the day fell on Oct. 29, 2017.  Some parishes make note of this day. 

I’m all for it, but I don’t know of any diocesan celebration.