A Common Ground Solution for the Divorced and Remarrie


In his 1983 apostolic exhortation following the last synod on the family, without using the term “internal forum,” John Paul II recognized the special situation of those “who are sometimes subjectively certain in conscience that their previous and irreparably destroyed marriage had never been valid.” While reaffirming the Church’s practice of excluding them from Eucharist, he urged that this group should be a part of the Church’s life and should not “consider themselves as separated from the Church.”

As the Church has engaged in process of listening during the 2014 and 2015 synods, it has heard time and time again that many divorced and remarried people do in fact feel “separated from the Church.” The practice is not saying what we want it to say.

The German group proposes using an internal forum solution both for those to whom John Paul II drew attention and to those who first marriages were sacramental but failed. Drawing on the argument of Cardinal Kasper in The Gospel of the Family, the bishops propose that spouses would seek guidance from a priest, acknowledge their responsibility for the failure of the first marriage, reconcile with those who have suffered due to the break-up of the marriage, honor duties to family members, and ask for forgiveness.

Read more via Catholic Moral Theology.