Pope makes it easier for Catholics to annul marriages

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Vatican experts have spent the last year studying how the system of annullments could be streamlined without undermining the principle that marriage is for life (AFP Photo/Joe Raedle)
Vatican City (AFP) – Pope Francis on Tuesday made it easier, quicker and free for Catholics to have their marriages annulled in the biggest reform of the Church’s approach to marital breakdown in nearly three centuries.
Details of the changes were unveiled Tuesday with the publication of a letter from Francis to Catholic churches across the world.
In it, the Argentinian pontiff says annulments will henceforth require only one decision rather than having to be approved by two church tribunals, as currently.
A streamlined procedure is to be introduced with most cases to be handled by individual bishops rather than being subject to a hearings process.
Appeals to a Vatican court against individual annulments will still be possible but only in exceptional cases.
The Pope’s letter follows a year-long review by Vatican experts. It also asks bishops’ conferences to ensure that, wherever possible, here are no costs involved in the process of securing an annulment.
– A friendlier Church –
The proposed reform is the latest in a series of steps initiated by Francis with the aim of making the Church appear more compassionate in relation to believers in difficult situations with regard to their faith.
Last week he made it easier for women to be granted absolution for having had abortions and he has also signalled a new, less judgemental attitude to homosexuality.
Pio Vito Pinto, the cardinal who headed the commission on annulments, told reporters the changes were the most significant since the mid-18th Century.
Vatican experts have spent the last year studying how the system of annullments could be streamlined without undermining the principle that marriage is for life (AFP Photo/Joe Raedle)
While Francis is seeking to democratise the procedure in …Read More

Source:: PM Newspaper