Getting an Annulment Is Getting Easier
Francis, who has long called for them to be free, issues new reforms tomorrow
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 7, 2015 7:00 AM CDT
Pope Francis delivers his blessing to faithful during the Angelus noon prayer from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015. The Vatican will shelter two...   (Riccardo De Luca)
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(Newser) – Pope Francis tomorrow will release a new streamlined process for annulling marriages after he—and generations of Catholics before him—complained that the church's current system is cumbersome, costly, and often unfair. The Vatican said Francis would release the new rules after a commission of canon lawyers spent the past year studying ways to simplify the process while safeguarding the principle of the indissolubility of marriage. Details aren't yet clear, but as the National Catholic Reporter notes, the Church is moving with uncharacteristic speed on the issue.

Church teaching holds that Catholics can remarry only if their first marriage is declared invalid by a church tribunal. Catholics have long complained that it can take years to get an annulment, if they can get one at all. Speaking last November, Francis said: "Some procedures are so long and so burdensome, they don't favor [justice], and people give up. Mother church should do justice and say: 'Yes, it's true, your marriage is null. No, your marriage is valid.' But justice means saying so. That way, they can move on without this doubt, this darkness in their soul."