Pope Francis on Annulments


Once again the mainstream media is taking advantage of Pope Francis for their own self-serving agenda to twist and distort his actions and words.  They think the Holy Father is totally changing the Church’s doctrine on marriage when he is not.  Canon law is not dogma but includes temporal matters and so canon law is up to change as has always been the case.  I can’t count how many times canon law has been changed.

Pope Francis is simply changing the quickness of the annulment process and the apparent cost of it [1].  His concern is that not everybody can afford to pay for the annulment process and/or it takes too long, not that Church dogma on marriage is too rigid.  He knows he cannot change Church doctrine on the subject even if he wanted to, which is why he has opposed the German bishops’ push to give Holy Communion to unlawfully remarried couples.  This means remarried couples without an annulment and an annulment is affirmation there was never a sacramental marriage to begin with.

For a marriage to be sacramental, the couple must be one man and one woman, both must be validly baptized Christians of the age of reason (14 for women and 16 for men in countries with no age of consent), promise to have children, neither was forced into the marriage against their will and were not too closely related .  This is all in canon law [2].  Other than this the grounds for annulment are legitimately there.

As mentioned Pope Francis has upheld the lifelong commitment of a sacramental marriage in the face of Cardinal Marx’s statements [3].  The secular media has once again proven it is largely incompetent in matters of Catholicism.  I would not be surprised if most of those covering news about the Church are fallen away Catholics who wish for the Church to compromise on her doctrine.  We must pray more, myself included, for these fallen away Catholics.  May they have a renewal of faith.

[1] Wooden, Cindy. Catholic Herald: “Pope issues major marriage annulment reforms”. <http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2015/09/08/pope-issues-major-marriage-annulment-reforms/&gt;.

[2] Canons 1083-1094

[3] Lucie-Smith, Fr. Alexander. Catholic Herald: “Annulments: Pope has come down in favor of Cardinal Müller, not Cardinal Marx”. <http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2015/09/08/annulments-pope-has-come-down-in-favour-of-cardinal-muller-not-cardinal-marx/&gt;.


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