What Exactly Is Internal Forum?

Dear Father,

I was wondering if you could help me. I was baptized Catholic but never was confirmed. I have been divorced and received an annulment from that marriage. I have since remarried and was told I could no longer take communion until my husband gets an annulment from his first wife who is also a Catholic. She will not help in any way and refuses to give him an annulment. I was told about an Internal Forum that would allow me to resume communion. Is this true and what exactly is an Internal Forum. It seems unfair that I do what I am supposed to so that I may return to the church and because of her I now can not. If I can not take communion at mass I see no reason to return to church and feel that I would be lost to God. Please help me, doesn't the church have special circumstances that would allow me to come back.

Thank You and God Bless



Dear Dawn,

Sorry I am slow responding to your question. Have you talked a local priest about this? Your husband's first wife would not be the one to give or not give the annulment. It is possible for the process to move ahead without the cooperation of the other party. I understand that in a good percentage of annulments that is the case.

Meanwhile I encourage you and your husband to attend Mass, to participate in worshipping God in the Holy Sacrifice even if you cannot now receive communion. "Internal Forum" is not really a workable solution since the goal is something very "external" that is receiving communion. I know there has been a lot of confusion in this area, but I think most priests are trying to clear it up so people are not in the untenable position of "resolving" a marriage case in "confession" setting - and then having to do the impossible, that is, not tell anyone what the "solution" was. There are probably better discussions of all this available on the internet. I will try to do some research this week and see what I can come up with.

My prayers for you and your husband. God bless,

Fr. Phil Bloom