Pope Francis considers easing annulment requirements for Catholics
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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
11/7/2014 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
Pope Francis denounced this week the many hardships that Catholics face when seeking marriage annulments. The Pontiff went as far to say that he once fired an official who tried to charge thousands of dollars for getting an annulment.
The Pope is now considering requests, made at a recent Vatican meeting of bishops about families, to make annulments cost-free.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Vatican currently teaches that matrimony is a sacrament and forbids divorce. Catholics who wish to end their marriages sometimes seek annulments. This process is recognized by the church, ruling that the union was invalid and essentially, never existed.
Reasons include a spouse who never intended to be faithful. Another reason could be that one of the spouses was psychologically too immature to understand the forever nature of marriage in the Catholic Church. Annulments allow Catholics to marry again in the church.
Divorced Catholics who remarry without annulments cannot receive Communion as the Vatican considers them as adulterers living in sin.
As bishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis told participants at a Vatican course for officials dealing with annulments that he was dismayed to learn that some faithful needed to travel wide distances and lose days of work to reach church tribunals.
The pontiff remembered firing an unidentified church tribunal official, possibly a lawyer, who told someone: "'Give me $10,000 and I'll take care of the annulment process.' One must be careful that the procedures don't become a business," Francis said.
The Pope is now considering requests, made at a recent Vatican meeting of bishops about families, to make annulments cost-free. Many dioceses customarily ask annulment petitioners to pay hundreds of dollars to defray administrative costs, but some are now dropping fees.
The Pope is resolved to streamline annulment processes, which are sometimes "so long and so weighty," he said, that people become "discouraged."
Divorced Catholics who remarry without annulments cannot receive Communion as the Vatican considers them as adulterers living in sin. Many such divorced Catholics are hoping the pontiff, who says he wants a merciful church, will finally relent and let them receive Communion.
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