Divorce and Remarriage

The Anglican Church of Canada recognizes civil divorce and allows the remarriage of divorced persons. The legislation permitting the divorce and remarriage of individuals within the Anglican Church of Canada (including admission to Holy Eucharist) was first passed at General Synod in 1965 and then again in 1967. The legislation had to be passed at two consecutive General Synods as it involved changes to canons.

If one or both persons of a couple, wishing to be married in the Anglican Church, have been divorced, they must apply to the matrimonial commission in their diocese (or to the bishop if the diocese does not have a matrimonial commission) for permission to marry. This is not an inquisitorial or unduly lengthy process but one which seeks to determine such things as whether or not a legal divorce degree has been granted; whether the children of a previous marriage are adequately cared for; and why the divorced person(s) feels that this marriage would succeed when another has failed. Normally, at least one member of the couple must be Anglican.

Marriage is a sacrament that takes place in the parish community so individuals wishing to marry should always contact the parish priest to determine parish and diocesan requirements. These may include application to the Ecclesiastical Matrimonial Commission (or bishop), attending a marriage preparation course, or parish involvement in the parish.

Links:

  • Canon XXI (PDF file)
    On Marriage in the Church