Why I support the Internal Forum Solution


#1

I received my annulment in 1979, but I have read a lot about the Internal forum solution and I am a FAN.

Why? It seems to me to be a warm reception for a heartsick Catholic who needs the loving acceptance of the Church after a sad and hurtful marriage and happily finding a gift of God in a new and spiritually strong relationship. Not all can offhandedly be called “ADULTEROUS.”

There is controversy and there are criticisms.

1) The Pope forbids it. .
Not exactly. He expressed disapproval in speeches at various times, but speeches do not abrogate Canon Law

2) It leads to abuses that would effectively water-down the church’s view of Marriage as eternal.
If we believe this, would should not trust parish priests to grant absolution for serious sin either (Confession is “Internal Forum” also). For if they can’t be trusted to make pastoral judgement about a God-Loving couple and their need for Christ’s life-giving banquet, they surely can’t be trusted to hear the confessions of serious sinners.

3) It’s against Canon Law.
Not really. Both Canon Law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church recognize (a) the use of the Internal Forum for VARIOUS issues which cannot be resolved in the external forum (b) that the well-formed conscience takes authority over law and © that no one should be required to act against their own well-formed conscience, especially in matters of religion.
There is no Canon Law that expressly forbids the use of the internal forum solution for marrIed people who are separated from the sacraments.

4) Remarriage is adultery.
Not always. Sometimes it is God giving a sad heart a new life. To automatically assume all remarriage is adultery is to paint many different things with one brush.

5) It’s too easy.
About this, I agree. There is an accepted process and it should be followed closely. A priest HAS the power to make pastoral judgement, if there is an approved process that he can follow, there would be no need to be concerned. He needs to be sure it is not being taken as an easy route to annulment (Priests can’t declare a marriage null), He needs to be sure the couple has a well-examined conscience and needs to guide them to examine it more fully. He needs to be certain the first marriage has GROUNDS and that there is a serious reason why the tribunal cannot be petitioned.

Considering all this, I think it is a good thing, especially for people who find themselves with no other options.

I don’t want to fight about this. This is THINKING. I appreciate those who add information to my thinking, but if you want to call names or accuse me of something besides starting an academic discussion, save it for the ANTI-Catholic forums.

All others: Your thoughts?


#2

A number of people misunderstand what the “internal forum” solution means. The internal forum requires complete continence. And, yes, that does then allow one to return to the Sacraments while remaining civilly married. So, if you are suggesting that the internal forum can be used without the couple abstaining from marital relations, then you need to read the (many) authoritative documents that state the opposite.

Here are the sources available on the Vatican website that speak directly to this issue:

John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (1981), paragraph 84.

Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law (1983).

Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1650 (1992).

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church Concerning the Reception of Holy Communion by the Divorced and Remarried Members of the Faithful” (September 14, 1994), n. 4.

The Declaration of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, “On Communion for Divorced and Remarried Persons” ( June 24, 2000).

Here is an article from the Pennsylvania Bishops that explains it well:

ewtn.com/library/BISHOPS/DIVCATH.HTM


#3

I have read a great deal about the “living as brother/sister” thing. Big picture: the Vatican teaches that marriage is a PUBLIC sacrament and hence should be dealt with in a PUBLIC (external forum) then makes a mandate about something that is arguably the most private matter between two lives that are joined by God.

Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law (1983).

This is exactly why I AGREE with the use of internal forum solution. Canon 915 has to do with refusing the Eucharist to those in a state of “obstinate and persistent Sin.” In order for it to apply, all divorced and remarried Catholics must be painted with the same brush – both the luke-war catholic guy who ran off with his Catholic secretary, and the two sad and lonely souls that left bad marriages, found true God-centered love, but cannot approach the tribunal. These people are NOT the same.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1650 (1992).

I’ve read this statement in the CCC also. Again it assumes that all divorced Catholics fall into a single category and quotes Christ’s prohibition against divorce, except in cases of adultry – first off, most divorced Catholics probably have that situation in their previous marriages and secondly, Christ never mentioned nor prohibited ANY solution, annulment or anything else.

I accept annulment as a right and proper solution, the IDEAL, but for those who cannot approach the tribunal the IFS is a loving and understanding alternative, which Christ also did not mention (nor prohibit).

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church Concerning the Reception of Holy Communion by the Divorced and Remarried Members of the Faithful” (September 14, 1994), n. 4.

Once again – one brush. All are obstinate and persistent sinners. It ain’t necessarily so. That’s what an IFS can discover, and YES a priests SHOULD make a pastoral judgement when he sees obstinate and persistent sin, by the same token he should extend welcome when he sees God-centered love. There is no greater “scandal” to the Church then to deny Christ’s life-giving banquet to two loving Catholics who have found God’s Love in a second spouse, when it did not exist in the first spouse. No tribunal of strangers in the Diocese office can make that judgement – only a parish priest in the privacy of the IFS can do that.

The Declaration of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, “On Communion for Divorced and Remarried Persons” ( June 24, 2000).

Good One! But it is an interpretation of Canon 915 and the same perspective applies.

I found this on Catholic Insight, and although it continues by ARGUING the point, I don’t think it does so effectively.

In recent years some authors have sustained, using a variety of arguments, that this canon would not be applicable to faithful who are divorced and remarried.

The aforementioned authors offer various interpretations of the above-cited canon that exclude from its application the situation of those who are divorced and remarried. For example, since the text speaks of “grave sin”, it would be necessary to establish the presence of all the conditions required for the existence of mortal sin, including those which are subjective, necessitating a judgment of a type that a minister of Communion could not make; moreover, given that the text speaks of those who “obstinately” persist in that sin, it would be necessary to verify an attitude of defiance on the part of an individual who had received a legitimate warning from the Pastor.

I think this perfectly begs the question. Since a Priest makes a pastoral judgement to convey absolution, a Priest HAS the pastoral judgement to determine if two loving and remarried Catholics are living in sin. If he judges that they are, THAT’S obstinate and persistent sin. No tribunal could judge this.

All of what you have cited is correspondence and teaching, but as I said in my OP, these do not set aside Canon Law.I call your attention, though, to other similar sources, also open to interpretation in another post, since this is too long . . . . to be continued.


#4

CONTINUED

(Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1778).
In current Catholic teaching, “Man has the right to act according to his conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. **He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters” **(ibid., paragraph 1782). In certain situations involving individual personal decisions that are incompatible with church law, some pastors rely on the use of the internal forum solution.

AND

Can. 1082 Unless a rescript of the Penitentiary provides otherwise, a dispensation from an occult impediment granted in the internal nonsacramental forum, is to be recorded in the book to be kept in the secret archive of the curia. No other dispensation for the external forum is necessary if at a later stage the occult impediment becomes public.

Incidentally, for those others who may not know, an “occult impediment” refers to a private or unproveable one, which only a priest could judge, since the external forum is by its very nature PUBLIC and in the business of EVIDENCE.

Granted this canon refers to marriage PREPARATION, but you will note it does not expressly limit the Priest’s pastoral judgement to those circumstances only.

AND . . .

“With regard to admission to the sacraments, the local ordinaries will also please, on the one hand, stress the observance of the current discipline of the church while, on the other hand, take care that pastors of souls follow up with particular solicitude those who are living in an irregular union and, in addition to other correct means, use the approved practice of the Church in the internal forum." (Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s document of April 11, 1973)

There’s been a lot of controversy about this one . . . does “approved practice of the Church in the internal forum” mean “Use approved practice when using the IF” or does it mean. the “IF is an approved practice of the Church”? I think the latter, since the Internal forum, and the authority of conscience, has been a teaching of the Church for centuries. It is however, relatively new (1972) to apply it’s use to divorce and remarriage.

Still, I’m a fan. It’s a gentle path home for Catholics who find they have no other.

As for abuses ( a common criticism of thee IFS), all a couple has to do is say they are living as brother and sister and happily return to the Table, assuming they believe in their well-formed conscience that their marriage is sacred and Godly and that the Church has over-stepped it’s authority by trying to mandate celibacy to legally married persons. I would bet the rent that this is a common situation. Though I am KNOW there are those who abstain from marital relations in good faith as well.

When a priest guides a couple to carefully examine their consciences, it prevents this sort of abuse.

Perhaps I am so passionate about this because I know 2 couples who remain on their knees while lesser catholics who have not bumped up against a Law of the Church, absent-mindedly go on up. These sad couples remain on their knees, hungering for Christ’s life-giving banquet, KNOWING their marriage is not adultry and being insulted by the Church every Sunday.

The IFS is the sweetest thing ever conceived by the Church and I am sad that there is so much controversy, though I do state again that there is no prohibition in the Bible or in canon law, just from the voices of SOME bishops and Cardinals and from the teaching pulpit of the Pope. Many Cardinals and Bishops and many canon lawyers disagree.

I call the attention of those interested to the website of the Association for the Rights of Catholics in Church. arcc-catholic-rights.net/internal_forum.htm

AND 1ke THANK you for an intelligent and polite entry into this discussion.


#5

Few, if any Canon Lawyers and Church Tribunals would consider the Internal Forum a legitimate means of resolving a martial situation in the United States.

I would suggest Ed Peter’s Book on Annulment** Annulments And The Catholic Church: Straight Answers To Tough Questions.** Available via Amazon and many other outlets. Ed Peters is a reliable Canon Lawyer. He covers much in his easy to read text.

It does not seem the the intention of the Church to have a “gentle path” for those in difficult marriage situations. It is the intention of the Church to have a sure path that upholds the dignity of the Sacrament. The Sacrament trumps the person(s).

The internal forum surely exists and if it is useful and legitimate at all, it has to be a rarely used last resort, at the discretion of high level competent authority, not a soft and gentle path for those who found love and companionship after they thought they found love and companionship with another earlier.

No person “needs” to be married nor has a particular “right” to a subsequent marriage provided that the first spouse is alive and the external forum has not been totally exhausted. Those who do marry outside of the Church (with knowledge of Her standards) are in a state of public grave sin, and can not receive the Eucharist validly apart from stopping the sin, which in this case of a 2nd civil marriage seems difficult.

A well formed conscience does not mislead “saying they live as brother and sister” when they do not, nor does a well formed conscience approach a person who has a presumed valid prior marriage for a romantic relationship. Nor does a well formed conscience act contrary to the mind and laws of he Church they voluntarily choose to become part of and have an ongoing relationship with.


#6

Regardless of how it came about, a person who is married to one person, but living with and having sex with someone else, is in a persistent state of sin. Adultery. That is the brush they are painted with, and deservedly so. It’s not as if anyone who is even minimally aware doesn’t know that the Catholic Church doesn’t recognize civil divorce.

Doesn’t matter how many warm fuzzies you put on how the relationship happened, it’s all the same. Painful? Yes. Unfair? Not really. Fixable? Usually…by following the rules and doing as the Church commands. If a person refuses to do that, then they are stubborn, prideful, and rebellious. And that is NOT the Church’s fault!


#7

I don’t disagree, I know well that this is what the Church teaches and I understand the positions of those (like yourselves) who believe the Church offers an excellent path of reconciliation though annulments. And yes, for many that is very true.

But the statistics I have read suggest, that although 95% of annulments are granted, only about 10-12% of those who are eligible approach the tribunal.

I think in that 88-90% ARE many who live in Obstinate and Persistent states of adultery – But I believe too there are many who CANNOT approach the tribunal for a variety of reasons, and who DO live in a new marriage they firmly believe is a Gift of God which will lead them closer to Him. I know the Church also teaches that a well-formed conscience (not, of course, someone who receives in an underhanded or clandestine way) takes precedence over Church law and that a person with a well-formed and well-examined conscience SHOULD NOT be required to act against their conscience, especially in matters of religion.

MUST these people be told they are sinners and that they are not welcome even when they know better in their own hearts and souls?

CAN there be no recourse for these people? MUST they be lumped in with those who sneer at the Church when choosing to remarry?

I just don’t think we are dealing with a single species of D and R Catholic in that 88-90%

Another point if I may. The tribunal doesn’t nullify a marriage, they merely investigate to determine with certitude that the marriage WAS ALREADY invalid – that truth was already present before the tribunal ever heard of it. All they do is uncover it.

GOD knows already, and in their own hearts those who lived the marriage know. The Church requires a clerical investigation. Fair, enough. I agree.

But does God? Is there no point at which the truth can be between God and the individual? With the guidance of a priest, of course, and in the sacrament of reconciliation?

Not an annulment, but a welcome to a full Catholic life through the life-giving Eucharist. No one, I can promise you, NEEDS it more.

Just discussing, now.

Your thoughts?


#8

Internal Forum = one of the best kept “secrets” of the Catholic Church


#9

#10

WOW.

I guess you can call it “warm fuzzies” if you want.

May I ask, have you ever been divorced? Ever applied for annulment? Ever seen anyone you cared about have their heart broken by The Church because they were separated from the Eucharist when they knew in their heart they were right with God?

I can say YES to all of those. It changes your perspective some.

Here’s another warm fuzzy:

1 COR 13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.


#11

Everyone seems to be missing the point. The Internal Forum Solution isn’t intended to be an easy way out so people can pick and choose whether to obey the Church’s teachings, or justify living in sin. It is an option that when applied carefully and thoughtfully provides a way to:

Respect the teachings of the Church without losing the individual (to suicide, false teachings, etc.).

I was told this by a priest. I am a convert (I was a pagan). Before I could be brought into the Church and start marriage prep with the man I love (who brought me to both Christ and the Church through his kind and gentle example and constant prayer), I had to deal with two failed marriages. The most recent one ended over 20 years ago. I don’t even know where my second ex-husband is. My first ex has remarried, I have become friends with him and his wife. First annullment process not too hard, all the information available. It was good for me to face my part in the failure of the marrriage.

Second marriage, more diffucult. Only witnesses I could provide were my family and friends. No idea where ex-husband and his family are now. I went ahead and went through as much of the annullment process as I could and it was still helpful and important for me to do that, but the priest was uncertain about how long it would take to get the second annullment approved.

Because I longed to come into the Church (my fiance and I were attending Mass together every week anyway), and I demonstrated a willingness to learn and abide by the Church’s teachings (including waiting to marry until we could have a true wedding blessed by the Church) my priest used the Internal Forum Solution to resolve the issue so I could finish RCIA and come into the Church at Easter this year. I am so incredibly grateful for this. My fiance and I started marriage prep shortly afterwards, and are to be married in a nuptial Mass in September. I continue to abide by the Church’s teachings on all things to the best of my ability.


#12

Thank you for sharing your story. A wonderful example of the Internal Forum.:thumbsup:
Annie


#13

A BEAUTIFUL story and excellent example of WHY such a loving and understanding path to reconciliation is needed by some. This doesn’t replace the anullment, but for those who cannot, it shows the Church is not cold and resolute.

God bless you and WELCOME.


#14

I have not been divorced, as living through my parents’ divorce cured me of ever thinking that was anything I would ever do to my own children.

I have watched my step-mom decide that she didn’t like the Church’s rules and civilly marry my father anyway. Both of them are baptized Catholics previously married in the Church and civilly divorced. My father had since decided he was an atheist, and so couldn’t give a hoot about what the Church said. My step-mom wanted to remain Catholic, but not enough to abide by the rules. She wanted what she wanted, and did what she wanted to do, in spite of honest counsel from a priest. She REFUSES to pursue annulment of her previous marriage, even though she probably has a good case that her ex never intended to remain faithful. My parents’ marriage would be stickier to annul… I suppose someone could claim duress as they were expecting me… but who in 1974 was getting pressured to marry because they were pregnant? Precisely no one. They told me they chose to marry because they wanted to have their child in wedlock and no one forced them.

My step-mom claims the Church “booted her out.” I took exception to that and said, “Hey, now, let’s be honest… you decided you didn’t like the rules and left. No one told you you were not allowed to remain a member of the Church.” She admitted I was right, but still insists that the Church is unreasonable. Well, perhaps it was unreasonable to marry while you were still practically a child to a man you basically knew would cheat on you, then do nothing while he cheated on you for at least 18 out of 20 years, continue to have kids with him, and continue the pretense of marriage until you decide you are fed up? Then when the Church won’t go along with how you want things done, you abandon it and call it unreasonable?

Marriage is serious business. The Church is right to go through the painful, long, involved process to prove whether a marriage existed in the first place. Because we are talking about the salvation of souls here… caving to human weakness is not what the Church does. And I think making it easier for people to tear up families and move on to new relationships serves neither salvation nor societal good. My concern is the welfare of children, and making the breakup of families easier, making it easier for parents to impose their new partners on their children, is not something I would ever advocate.


#15

The Tribunal process is a formal means of determining the sacramentality of a marriage that seems to have failed. It is certainly true that the Tribunal doesn’t make a marriage null, it just discerns the Truth. The Truth existed before the Tribunal ruled. In that sense, it is entirely possible that a person knows for sure what the outcome will be before the Tribunal rules.

But let us admit to the reality of human nature. If the OP thinks it is a reasonable solution for people to cut the Tribunal out of the process and use the Internal Forum themselves to discern, then he/she is ignoring our fallen nature. Humans have an almost infinate ability to rationalize scenarios until they get the outcome they desire. This is why God gave us a Church, not just a book.
The formal tribunal process may let down some. IMO, suggesting people rely on an I.F. would let down many times more.

There is an old saying among lawyers: Hard cases lead to bad law. If the intent of this thread is to advocate for the normalized use of I.F. instead of the tribunal, then this thread is the poster child for that lawyer quote.


#16

Pesky double post. Sorry!


#17

The Tribunal process is a formal means of determining the sacramentality of a marriage that seems to have failed. It is certainly true that the Tribunal doesn’t make a marriage null, it just discerns the Truth. The Truth existed before the Tribunal ruled. In that sense, it is entirely possible that a person knows for sure what the outcome will be before the Tribunal rules.

Bingo! The truth is already there, even when the party CANNOT approach the tribunal. Hence the nullity of the marriage is just as TRUE as it would be had the tribunal NOT been approached. The PRIEST MUST BE ABLE TO MAKE A PASTORAL DECISION THAT SUCH AN IMPEDIMENT EXISTS (though not with juridical certitude as the tribunal does).

THEN the priest must be CONVINCED that the party cannot approach the tribunal and that the reasons are valid and unavoidable.

But let us admit to the reality of human nature.

I admit, and agree without reservation. That is why a PRIEST and a PROCESS is necessary, not merely the person’s private decision. The priest not only becomes convinced of the well-formed conscience, but takes time to help the party reflect and examine that conscience. If the priest is not convinced of (1) the truth of impediment (2) the hardship or impossibility of approaching the tribunal and (3) the strength and God-centered nature of the current marriage, he should offer no solution.

When well-defined as a process, it includes human nature in the equation.

If the OP thinks it is a reasonable solution for people to cut the Tribunal out of the process and use the Internal Forum themselves to discern, then he/she is ignoring our fallen nature.

Never said that, nor would I. It is a formal process. I do not advocate for the party making up their own rationalized mind apart from the participation of a priest and a procedure.

If the intent of this thread is to advocate for the normalized use of I.F. instead of the tribunal. . .

Not INSTEAD, when necessary. The first oasis is the Tribunal. The I.F.S. is and should be a route for those who cannot approach the tribunal and/or who have tried and failed though they are certain of the truth of impediment. I just don’t believe the Church should resolutely throw such people away.

The Internal Forum as described in Canon Law generally refers to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The IFS, like Reconciliation in general, MUST be done with the guidance and pastoral judgement of a Priest.

Good Post. THANKS!


#18

I understand what you are saying. But Holy Orders is no guarantee of good discernment. Just look at the numbers of people saying they asked a priest and he told them ‘contraception was OK for them’ or ‘in their case IVF was an acceptable alternative.’ Sadly, human nature is such that the tribunal process is usually the only safety net against the vagaries of rationalization on the matter of divorce and remarriage.


#19

The I.F.S. is and should be a route for those who cannot approach the tribunal and/or who have tried and failed though they are certain of the truth of impediment. I just don’t believe the Church should resolutely throw such people away.

Hahaha. Good one.

Manualman is absolutely correct. The IFS is condemned by most responsible bishops and severely restricted by the Vatican because of its potential for abuse. Marriage is a public sacrament. If you have do-it-yourself annulments by people who didn’t care if they caused public scandal handed out by priests whom they shopped around for, the process becomes a joke.

In this day and age in America there is no valid reason someone cannot approach the tribunal. I had to wait 6 years before I even had a final divorce decree and it took 2 years beyond that with a spouse who didn’t cooperate. Some people want what they want when they want it and the way they want it right now. Going into a sacramental marriage with that attitude is a recipe for another failed marriage. Hate to say it. I find people who like to cut corners ethically to get what they want make poor spouses. Rules apply to everyone else but them.

The whole premise for this posting is that somehow the regular process lacks compassion, Christian love and all the warm fuzzies. And that a couple who doesn’t like the answer the tribunal gave them can then go and do what they darn well please anyway.

And that, my friends, is the source of scandal that Christ Himself condemned… leading people who are not Catholic into wrongful impressions of what the Church teaches, publicly undermining a public sacrament…

Folks, sometimes, loving God means proving HE is more important and HIS law is more important than a created being. A lot of people “know” things in their hearts that just aren’t so. They convince themselves of things that are wrong. (How can it be wrong when it FEELS so right???)

So you WANT to be married and you’ll make yourself new rules to get it. Nice. I could declare myself pope but that doesn’t make it so either.

I suspect the people who so want to receive communion that they will play fast with the rules and do the annulment on the fly don’t really mean that part of the prayer that goes “THY will be done”.

You may succeed in misleading yourselves, the priest and all your friends. But at the end of my life I wouldn’t want to stand before the all-Knowing God who KNEW the TRUTH also and sees straight through the smoke and mirrors at our own self-deception and manipulations and have to account for the public scandal.

The Bishops and the Pope are pretty wise to the way this kind of thing can be abused. A competent priest in the confessional will HELP the couple obey the laws of the Church (i,e. the laws of CHRIST’S BODY ON EARTH.)

I also wouldn’t want to be responsible for going on a public forum and trying to find allies in an attitude that runs contrary to Church teaching and portrays the OFFICIAL Church as a heartless monster that doesn’t care if its members can receive Communion or would throw away people who, simply put, if they don’t like what they’re told, will walk away anyway.

You can fool everyone, but not God.

And consider that the Holy Spirit actually works through the priests in the tribunal and hey, if they say no, it might be preventing a greater evil down the road if someone doesn’ t immediately marry. Some of these things can’t ever be known until many years later. I see the IFS as a huge display of lack of trust in God and lack of obedience, which probably had much to do with the failure of the first marriage with some people. Face it, if people trusted and obeyed God, their marriages would work. There is always at least one person in any marriage who didn’t play by all the rules. And the OP wants to institutionalize that attitude.


#20

In this day and age in America there is no valid reason someone cannot approach the tribunal.

  1. No witnesses are available to substantiate the alleged ground;
  2. Knowledgeable witnesses will not cooperate;
  3. Necessary documents are not obtainable.
  4. Emotionally unable to relive the horrors of the previous marriage.
  5. Impediment that cannot be concretely documented.
  6. Hostile former spouse.
  7. Psychological inability to openly discuss private matters with a trio of total strangers.

If you feel these are not valid reasons, this would be a good time to thank God you are so emotionally strong and take a moment to pray for those who are NOT so blessed.

The whole premise for this posting is that somehow the regular process lacks compassion, Christian love and all the warm fuzzies. And that a couple who doesn’t like the answer the tribunal gave them can then go and do what they darn well please anyway.

None of that was anywhere near my intent. .

At no time did I suggest the external forum lacks compassion. At no time did I suggest it should be avoided.

Folks, sometimes, loving God means proving HE is more important and HIS law is more important than a created being. A lot of people “know” things in their hearts that just aren’t so. They convince themselves of things that are wrong.

I don’t disagree. Precisely WHY an IFS requires a process and a priest.

So you WANT to be married and you’ll make yourself new rules to get it. Nice. I could declare myself pope but that doesn’t make it so either.

??? I guess a court of law could declare a man guilty but even though he knows in his heart that he is innocent, no court or jury could ever be wrong.

I suspect the people who so want to receive communion that they will play fast with the rules and do the annulment on the fly don’t really mean that part of the prayer that goes “THY will be done”.

Fast with “the rules”? " Anullment on the fly?"

(Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1778).
In current Catholic teaching, “Man has the right to act according to his conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. **Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters” **(ibid., paragraph 1782). In certain situations involving individual personal decisions that are incompatible with church law, some pastors rely on the use of the internal forum solution.

“With regard to admission to the sacraments, the local ordinaries will also please, on the one hand, stress the observance of the current discipline of the church while, on the other hand, take care that pastors of souls follow up with particular solicitude those who are living in an irregular union and, in addition to other correct means, use the approved practice of the Church in the internal forum." (Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s document of April 11, 1973)

Can. 130 Of itself the power of governance is exercised for the external forum; sometimes however it is exercised for the internal forum only, but in such a way that the effects which its exercise is designed to have in the external forum are not acknowledged in that forum . . .

Roger Michael Cardinal Mahony
Sept 18, 2004
"The Archdiocese will continue to follow church teaching, which places the duty on each Catholic to examine their consciences as to their worthiness to receive Holy Communion. That is not the role of the person distributing the Body and Blood of Christ."

I wouldn’t want to stand before the all-Knowing God who KNEW the TRUTH . . . have to account for the public scandal.

But you know, that’s exactly IT! Who is there that knows a person’s true heart but GOD? All the priest can do in offering the IFS to a party is say, “I understand. Now it is between you and God.” He can’t bless, convalidate or even record the marriage in the Church records. All he can do is leave it between the person and GOD who is always the final judge, having first aided and guided an examination of conscience,.

The Bishops and the Pope are pretty wise to the way this kind of thing can be abused. A competent priest in the confessional will HELP the couple obey the laws of the Church

I agree. See various Church laws above. But the tribunal is open to abuse also. Ever read "Shattered Faith’?

Can the sacrament of reconciliation be abused?
Yup

Can people without a clear conscience BS the priest and come away TRULY absolved?

Nope.

Same with IFS

. . . portrays the OFFICIAL Church as a heartless monster that doesn’t care if its members can receive Communion . . .

Who said THAT?

You can fool everyone, but not God.

Exactly.

And consider that the Holy Spirit actually works through the priests in the tribunal . . .

Minor point, but most tribunals are staffed partly or wholly by lay people.

Also, doesn’t the Holy Spirit work through a Priest in an Internal Forum?

I see the IFS as a huge display of lack of trust in God and lack of obedience, which probably had much to do with the failure of the first marriage with some people. Face it, if people trusted and obeyed God, their marriages would work.

Gross generalization. There are actually a MYRIAD of reasons why marriages fail, many of which have nothing to do with what you just described.

There is always at least one person in any marriage who didn’t play by all the rules. And the OP wants to institutionalize that attitude.

How interesting that you so completely understand MY intent and purpose, but don’t believe anyone could possibly understand their OWN.


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