Pope Francis suggests no-cost annulments in divorce cases

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Pope Francis officiated at the weddings of 20 couples at St. Peter’s Basilica in September 2014. Religion News Service photo by Cathleen Falsani

Pope Francis officiated at the weddings of 20 couples at St. Peter’s Basilica in September 2014. Religion News Service photo by Cathleen Falsani

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VATICAN CITY (RNS) “The mother church has so much generosity it could provide justice free of charge," Pope Francis said.

  • Ben in oakland

    Shortchanging the money changers in the Temple? Where will this Pope stop? With demanding that judging others is not really an dry Christian thing to do, however it is justified?

    No cost annulments, which are not really divorces because we’re not calling them divorces, even though the annulled couple may have children, even though the annulled couple are going to get a civil divorce?

    What,s next? giving up the idea that any religiously sanctioned discrimination against gay people is really “just” discrimination, instead of just discrimination?

  • Joan

    All churches and religions should stay out of judicial matters. And they should stay out of meddling in politics and life generally.

    Why is it that people think they should enforce their god’s laws for him? It seems that they don’t really believe.

  • Larry M

    Does anyone else find it interesting that the number of Catholic annulments is proportional to the number of Protestant divorces? In other words the number of Protestants that say they had a bad marriage is basically equivalent to the number of Catholics who say their marriage was actually invalid. How does that happen? Are Catholics really that bad at picking spouses? Of course I am being facetious. Most annulments are simply Catholic endorsed divorces. Annulments are basically BS.

  • “There have been public scandals.” – Pope Francis

    Oh, man.
    This guy is going to go all the way. Not only is he a humanist, he’s against indulgences – the very foundation of the church’s financing.

    If he keeps this up, he’ll step in the rabbit hole and discover his Cardinals and Bishops are all Mad Hatters in Wonderland.
    Catholicism is getting closer to blowing away like a house of cards.

  • Earold D. Gunter

    Once you compromise reality with faith based belief in a god, or gods, then it is not a bid step to believe annulments are something different than a divorce.
    A rose by any other name would smell as sweet….and a divorce by any other name is still a divorce.

  • philip

    Newsflash! The defendant sat quietly in her chair as if a mannequin in New York’s Macy’s store with a bad outfit draped over her. The judge asked, “Do you know the charges pending against you, Miss Jones?”
    Bewildered, frightened, confused, “No, your honor,” her voice rings out.
    The judge turns to the prosecution, “Do you have a case?”
    “Yes, your honor. Miss Jones is willfully guilty of the most heinous crime that can be committed under the law of the Catholic Church.”
    The defense attorney, Francis, stands up with a loud, clear voice and says, “Your honor, the prosecution is defaming the defendent of her right to a fair trial.”
    Prosecutor, “Your honor, Miss Jones is guilty because she has failed to submit reams of evidence, thousands of dollars to process her papers through nameless, faceless Catholic authorities; failed to gain a statement that her marriage was not codified by God.”
    “Your honor,” Francis says, “May I approach the bench?”
    The judge responds, “Both of you may approach.”
    Francis starts, “Your honor, my client has suffered by being branded with the letter D. She has suffered by being ostracized by this tribunal and this Church. I ask that all charges be dropped; that she may have the freedom to live her life in full Communion with the Catholic Church if she so chooses.”
    Prosecutor, ” She is guilty, your honor, under God’s rule.”
    Francis rebuts, “It is man’s rule that condemns her. not God’s.”
    Francis realizes the judge and the prosecuting attorney do not see the true love of Jesus in forgiveness. “Your honor, my client wishes to plead to a lower charge. ”
    The Judge turns to the prosecutor. The prosecutor: “Your honor, we will consider cutting in half the suffering and time spent that she may once again receive the Body and Blood of Christ. ”
    The defendant ‘s eyes glaze on the proceedings like a servant who, at the end of the Last Supper, ate a sliver of bread that Jesus had touched.
    Pope Francis: “I beg you to take your case to the Jury. This plea deal only serves the forgiveness constraints of the bureaucratic Church, not God.”
    PS: Personally, I don’t find the same meaning that most people give to the words Good and Evil. The words I choose to use are “Constructive” and “Destructive”.
    Today, American Society is based on a nanosecond; if you don’t like something, you’re a click away from changing it. Divorce is about relationships gone bad. Society and religious Faith is based on constructive marriages, not destructive ones. We need to build on this concept and learn to forgive those in marriages that have failed for good reasons.

  • Janet

    SO TRUE, Larry! I got my annulment based on “defect in form.” In other words, even though we had a dispensation, Catholic Priest (and Protestant minister) perform the wedding, and all the write forms completed for our wedding, we did not have the Priest say our vows. Therefore, in the eyes of the Catholic church, our marriage was invalid. It was so easy (I had the program from the wedding which clearly showed the minister said the vows), cost only the $50 filing fee, and was done in less than a month. And TOTALLY SILLY!!

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  • Beth Comstock

    Catholic marriage is a sacrament. This means sacred and blessed. It is not just a legal matter. Unless one is catholic, you will never understand that. A catholic annulment is also not merely a legal matter. It breaks the earthly/heavenly bond that the sacrament blesses. “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” MT18:18. Speak from knowledge, not from opinion.