Of all annulments granted within the Catholic Church, research shows at 49 percent are in the United States. However, divorced
“In general those kinds of decisions should be between God, the two people involved and maybe the local pastor and not a huge bureaucratic issue”, said resident of Dubuque, Tim Nelson. He also gave bishops sweeping powers to judge applications quickly.
Pope Francis also stated that annulments – which can cost thousands of dollars in legal fees – should be free of charge and that bishops should provide more help to divorced couples.
Without the annulment, divorced Catholics who remarry outside the church are considered to be adulterers living in sin and are forbidden from receiving Communion.
Catholics must have a marriage annulled if they wish to remarry within the church.
The pope’s documents say this is not diminishing the sanctity of marriage or the, “indissolubility of the marriage bond”, but the pope said the church rules and laws should have one objective: “salvation of souls”.
Under the new changes, bishops will be allowed to fast-track and grant certain annulments.
“We are a welcoming Catholic community, and we really desire to welcome people”.
The new law goes into effect Dec. 8, the start of Francis’ Holy Year of Mercy, a yearlong jubilee during which the pope hopes to emphasize the merciful side of the church.
The announcement by Pope Francis of an extensive revision of the marriage annulment process within the Catholic Church has the support of the director of Family Life Ministry for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.
“[Pope Francis] wants the Church to be more like a field hospital, rather than a bureaucracy”, Reese says.