The Internal Forum and Catholic Remarriage
It is clear that at least some European bishops, and perhaps many bishops even in our own country, consider the use of the “internal forum” to “reconcile” remarried Catholics an accepted practice. So why the continued soul-searching? Could we be dealing with a fait accompli? A little history may help.
The distinction between the “external forum” (e.g. ecclesiastical courts) and the “internal forum” (e.g. the confessional as a tribunal of conscience) has been discussed for centuries in Canon Law and theology. But for the last forty-seven years, various vicissitudes in interpretation have emerged, fomenting current disagreements about so-called “Catholic remarriage.”