About annulments


First of all, I did pose this situation to the apologetics already, but I was wondering what you would all say. My sister is divorce now for 4 years and has met a man who has been married and was not granted an external annulment, but granted an internal annulment. This means he can not get married again in the Church. My sister has yet to file for her annulment. Anyway, she is getting to really like this man and so she asked the nun who handles annulments in our diocese if she would go to hell if she married this man outside of the Church. She told her that she would not. I disagree and my sister does not know who to believe. I told her that she would be committing adultery if she married this man if he can’t get an annulment and if she gets hers.

Am I wrong?


What is internal /external annulment? Never heard of that.

As for whether someone is going to hell, none of us can tell anyone they are going to heaven or hell…strictly up to God!! She needs to talk to her parish priest. Each “case” is personal and individual and cannot be “guessed” at.

Love and peace,
Mom of 5


Link below is a very interesting discussion of “external forum” and “internal forum.”


I am glad this thread was opened. I have learned something today.


I learned something new too…Got to love CAF


Hi nana;

Yes–she would be in a state of adultery, if she continues dating a man…eventually marrying a man who does not have a proper annulment. That being said, we can’t be*** sure ***that she will go to hell. Only God makes the final Judgement…but, a good piece of advice is that God would not guide her to marrying someone in this situation. God doesn’t tell us to do things OUTSIDE of His will, and sacred Word. And we all know that we can’t follow both God and man. So, if she marries this man, and he doesn’t have the annulment, then she would be in essence, living outside of God’s will for her life, and I fear that her marriage will be doomed. (in other words–not blessed by God) Same thing though, right? :o There are secular consequences to these things too!:o

But, going to hell…we cannot make that judgement call for sure…however, living in mortal sin, with no repentance in sight, could very well lead to a dismal eternity.:frowning: I will keep your sister in my prayers.


O.K., that explanation makes perfect sense. Re: Internal/external. However, whether someone is going to hell/heaven, that cannot be answered by any human that I am aware of.

Mom of 5


Right. That link is very interesting! What I take from it is that one cannot receive the Sacraments until the extrenal has been granted…

I wonder if that is contingent about remarriage (or marriage–because it wouldn’t be remarriage if the prior one was annuled) or is that in general…when someone is awaiting an annulment, can he/she not receive the Sacrament?:confused:


As I understand it, in general, remarried individuals cannot receive a sacrament until/unless the prior marriage is annulled (and the current marriage validated).

Unless, as described in the link, the remarried persons agree to separate or live as brother and sister; go through the appropriate penitential process, and return to the sacraments.

Individuals who are divorced, but not remarried, can receive sacraments just as any other Catholic whether they are seeking an annullment or not. Divorce is not the issue, remarriage is.


Ok–thank you for that clarification! I always wondered that.


I would strongly caution your sister about this man in general. There is no such thing as being “granted” an internal annulment. The internal forum solution that was discussed in the blog is about a pastoral solution for those who are civilly married but can not be married in the Church due to a prior bond. Someone can not enter a new marriage saying that they will be using the internal forum solution. If someone is telling your sister that he has been granted an internal annulment, chances are good that person is playing fast and loose with the truth. Given your sister’s prior relationship experience, I would consider that to be a giant red flag.


Yep, what she said. Me, too . . .


I agree that it is a big red flag and she is setting herself up to get hurt again, but let me clarify some things. She has not filed for an annulment yet, but asked the nun in our diocese the question about annulment for her man friend that she likes. She tells me she is not in love with him but is so happy when she talks to him for hours. They have not yet met and met only via a single’s Catholic website. He is the one who had two prior marriages. The first was a civil one and the second was one in another religion, not Catholic. He divorced both, but the one needing the annulment is the marriage in another religion. He was not granted an external annulment and appealed twice. The priest of his parish gave him what they call an internal annulment, and I too looked it up and only found internal forum, but this gave this man the right to receive the Sacraments of the Church. He can not get married in the Catholic Church though.

What I told my sister, and it was not that she would go to hell, but that if she knowingly gets married to his man outside of the Church that she is living in adultery and if she continued to live this way without repenting and dies, that it would lead to hell. Christ is the one who said that adulterers can not enter his Kingdom. That is what I told her.

Apparently, this nun told her that she would not be living in sin if she married this man outside of the Church. I disagree. I believe the Church disagrees. I told her that we use to have a very liberal diocese and to becareful, but she answered that this was a nun who represents the Church. I asked her to please call CA. and asked them.


Yep. That makes sense. Only it appears what he “got” from the priest was indeed an internal forum, and, as long as he continues living his life in accordance with the church’s dictates, he can receive communion and go to confession for absolution. He CANNOT, however, obtain the sacrament of matrimony (again) until he receives an external forum – an annulment. Sounds like he is being upfront with you sister about his limitations as a potential spouse. Which is to say, he isn’t.

I agree with you. Absolutely. Without a doubt.


If this were my sister, here would be my strong advice:

“Sis, you do not know if you are or are not validly married. Please begin the process to have your marriage examined by the tribunal. Should the tribunal find that you were never married, then you can begin dating. Until that time, you need to behave as if you are married, and not be dating.”


Sis, you do not know if you are or are not validly married. Please begin the process to have your marriage examined by the tribunal. Should the tribunal find that you were never married, then you can begin dating. Until that time, you need to behave as if you are married, and not be dating."

Good Advice!! Which also means one that one shouldn’t be on a singles dating site!


This is an abuse of the “internal forum”.

The internal forum doesn’t usually even get brought up unless the tribunal had denied an annulment petition. So big red flag here.

Article on internal forum-




I’m glad you liked my blog article! :smiley:

With regard to this…

Individuals who are divorced, but not remarried, can receive sacraments just as any other Catholic whether they are seeking an annullment or not. Divorce is not the issue, remarriage is.

Divorce alone can be an issue, depending upon the circumstances. The Catechism confirms that “Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law.” (CCC 2384) With that said, there are no doubt many instances when perhaps one of the spouses is no more than a victim of divorce. So, if the other conditions for “mortal sin” are also present (ie. full knowledge hat divorce is a grave sin/perfect consent to the divorce), then divorce can be a barrier to receipt of the Holy Eucharist until receipt of sacramental absolution in the Sacrament of Penance.


Based only upon what has been said in this forum, the divorced spouse is still presumed married in the eyes of the Church, in my opinion. That is how faithful yet divorced Catholics should undertand their situation (until) unless they received an annulment. Once that is understood, one has to ask, is it morally licit to date if you were still married?


Thanks to all of you for your advice and I agree that my sister is still married and I have told her, especially when she told me she was on the singles website. I begged her not to do anything until her annulment is granted. She does not know all that she should know about our Catholic Faith. She says she is divorce, but I tell her that is true according to our laws, but that she is still married in the eyes of the Church and God. I would not have been on a single website unless I had an annulment already. She did meet one man who was upfront from the very beginning. He was on this site only to meet fellow Catholics and have penpals. He told everyone including my sister that he was denied an annulment several times and was on his way to Rome to try there, but that he considers himself still married and would not be able to marry anyone but wanted friends. He was a great example and penpal for her, but in her eyes, he sounded to much like me “religious” is what he said. Please pray for her for she needs to know her Catholic faith better. She doesn’t want to raise her kids alone and desires a husband, but I have to always remind her that she is married.

I know that when I told her that she can’t get married to someone who has not been granted an annulment, granted that she gets hers, in our Church, she thought that was unfair and didn’t believe me. She asked this other man, the one I mentioned above here and he told her that she would be committing adultery to get married outside of the Church with someone who is still considered to be married. She is not to happy with this whole thing for she said this man she likes is very nice. I told her and it may seem harsh that that is why I told her from the beginning to not be on this site entertaining another when she is still married. I have been asking her to get the annulment from the time her divorce was finalized, but she has had a rough divorce and custody problems involving child abuse from her ex, but now things are calmer and she needs to file.

I wonder if I should show her all of your responses to this question and situation so that she can see that it is not just me that feels this way, but that is the Churches laws and rules.


Nana3, you have gotten very good advise from our posters here. Please advise your sister to get off that Catholic singles website. She is not single. She needs to put her energies elsewhere (maybe helping the elderly or in some kind of pro-life volunteer work) while she pursues an annulment. She wouldn’t be on a singles website if she didn’t want to remarry. I know that she will feel that she is swimming against the current. Even a nun gave her bad advise, and I am sure that all of her friends are encouraging her to date. My sister was in the same position, and she was ridiculed for continuing to live as a married woman until she received an annulment from her first marriage. She knew what God expected of her, and she was a true example of faith to her children, nieces and nephews. The Lord rewarded her by sending her a wonderful new husband, a widower who she met in a diocesan adult singles group. They have been happily married for seven years. As for the man your sister is talking to on-line, is it possible that both of his previous marriages are invalid because of a defect of form? If he is Catholic and neither of his marriages took place in the Church, this might be possible. He needs to see a good priest about this. We don’t have all of the information, he could have a received a dispensation to marry in another church. Whatever his situation is, your sister needs to get going on her annulment, and at the least to stop going to singles websites where she could be tempted to sin.

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