Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Pope Francis Reforms Church's Annulment Process

As reported by CNN and Vatican Radio, Pope Francis today issued two Apostolic  Letters motu proprio (by the Pope's own initiative) introducing major changes in the Church procedures for annulling marriages. One of the letters, Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus (full text in Latin and Italian) reforms the Code of Canon Law of the Latin Church, while the other, Mitis et misericors Iesus (full text in Latin and Italian) reforms the Code of Canon Law for Oriental Churches. According to CNN, the documents make three major changes in the annulment process:  (1) they eliminate a second review by a cleric before a marriage can be nullified; (2) they give bishops the ability to fast-track and grant the annulments themselves in certain circumstances, for example when spousal abuse or an extramarital affair has occurred; and (3) they provide that the annulment process should be free, except for a nominal fee for administrative costs, and should be completed within 45 days.