Remarriage in the Church

I found an article on the Temple University website about the failed first marriages, and a so-called “internal forum”, where by if tow in a couple truly believe that one or both their first marriages are “dead”, they may marry quietly and continue to receive communion. The article cites “Cardinal Franjo Seper, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in Rome” as endorsing this quiet process, stating that it has existed for centuries.

I read it with a very critical eye, but I would appreciate if anyone familiar with this topic could elaborate.

Please, I have people close to me to which this might apply, so be kind :slight_smile:

Hi Runningdude
I am not familiar with the Temple University or its website but read the interesting article.

As far as my knowledge goes…for those who have been divorced and remarried without annulment they are still in communion with the church (as Pope John Paul II stated) and may attend Mass but should not receive Holy Communion.For those in remarriages where they have not sought annulment but are living as brother & sister they may attend Mass and receive Holy Communion. In either case couples are bound to not draw scandal to the church (ie in advertising the fact ).

My advice to your family members is go and speak honestly to your priest and tell him everything.The priest will give good counsel and explain the authortive teachings of the Catholic Church as regards remarriage after divorce.

It is good to encourage our fallen away bretheren back to Mass on a regular basis.All are welcome just some may not be able to participate in receiving Holy Communion.
I would show much love and example of faith to my family members if they were in this predicament.

It is not for us to judge others.God knows our hearts and minds.He knows the goodness of our intentions and knows if we are truly sorry for our mistakes and sins.

God is the only one who truly can judge us all.

I wish you well and God bless

There is such a thing as the internal forum but it involves more that two people “truly believing” theri marriage is dead. First of all, a ‘dead marriage’ is not a Catholic concept. The couple must beleive that their marriage was never valid. Second, using the internal forum must involve their priest. The internal forum is used in Confession. Using it in a second marriage situation is very rare but possible when there is a situation where the external forum (the regular process of submitting to the marriage tribunal) cannot be used. The example that is often given is an older couple where all the witnesses to the original marriage are deceased and cannot be called to provide witness to the tribunal.

It does NOT allow any type of Catholic wedding by the couple. It does sometimes allow for reception of Communion (see paragraph 8 in the document below).

Here’s a Vatican document that discusses it more.

The Cardinal Seper reference pops up from time to time. It is based on a single letter he wrote back in the 70s (he died in 1981). The Vatican document refers to “mistaken convictions” which in my opinion, include this twisting of Cardinal Seper’s words. :slight_smile:

Thanks. Fortunately this thread is mostly just for my curiosity. The situations I mentioned are totally beyond my control, but I wished that the conversation not veer towards condemning these relatives either.

I don’t know anything about internal forum, but a quick look at the website of the AARC does not seem to be one in line with Catholic teaching, on many levels. I would take a very close look at that site and what it purports to be true.

Thank-you for the link :slight_smile:

The only way to be kind about this is to state that the “so-called ‘internal forum’” is, indeed, only “so-called”. Some priests may have done this for centuries. That doesn’t mean that they were correct.

We are in a second marriage and after 20 years of marriage(re-married in the Lutheran church) which we participated in for about 4 yrs. Both of our previous spouses were
re-married also
We started attending the Catholic church again, but did not receive Holy Communion.
After a while, we decided to talk to a priest. We told him our problem and that we wanted to go to confession He talked to us extensively and suggested the Internal Forum. We were
older–60’s and 70’s and had been married over 20 yrs…So, we received the Internal Forum.
We were estactic and forgiven and re-united with the church. I felt a huge burden lifted off of me, cried and extremely thankful.
We are working on our annulments,but are running :signofcross::signofcross:into the problem that has been mentioned–trying to find people who remember us and our former marriages–or to even find someone to be a witness.
Right now we go to communion, but we live as brother and sister. That’s our story.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit