This, I have to say, is an interesting thread…
Some seem to feel that the divorced and without a decree of nullity need to live a life of a hermit, and God forbid they should be friends with anyone of the opposite sex.
What is needed is self honesty, and I wonder that it seems to be in such short supply. Where did we ever come up with the idea that any meeting between opposite sexes is hell bent for election in the direction of a wedding? That, in itself is an unhealthy attitude that people cannot be friends; and that any social interaction is bound for the bedroom.
Maybe it is the term “date”, which appears to be overladen with sexual innuendo. Appended to that seems to be the idea that if one meets someone of the opposite sex for coffee, that it is the short introduction to a whirlwind courtship. God forbid they might actually meet later for dinner out.
Self honesty should bring someone to the realization that they may be open to marriage. And that should be the route to starting the process of approaching the tribunal.
For someone who does not see themselves seeking a marriage partner, nor adamantly opposed to even thinking of the concept of one, being introduced to someone of the opposite sex, even if that other individual may be seeking marriage, is not a short route to disaster. It is a possible route to a friendship - philos - with an awareness that the other may be seeking a marriage partner. Obviously that requires open honesty - a) I am not free to marry and b) I am not seeking at this point to be free to do so, or necessarily meet someone I might consider marrying. I am, however, open to honest friendship. Should something develop, I will need to approach a tribunal, and you would need to be free to marry or willing to approach a tribunal, and before everything gets off to the races, both of us need to be free to marry. Still want coffee?
Nor do I see a need to run off to the parish priest for what? Permission to have coffee?
Do we need to rush off to the pastor to ask if (GASP!) we might take a job where, who knows, there might be someone of the opposite sex?
The time to speak with the pastor is where there is an itch. The OP has no itch. If one develops, then she needs to be open and honest with herself and start the process toward the tribunal, or if that is not viable, bring the relationship to a close.
If they become platonic friends, what is there to ask the pastor???