Pope Francis said the church’s marriage annulment process should be more efficient and perhaps even free of charge, and he decried any attempts to exploit it for profit.
“Some procedures are so long and so burdensome, they don’t favor [justice], and people give up,” the pope said. “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.”
The pope made his remarks Tuesday in a meeting with diocesan officials and canon lawyers enrolled in a course offered by the Roman Rota, the Vatican tribunal primarily responsible for hearing requests for marriage annulments.
Pope Francis said participants at the Oct. 5-19 Synod of Bishops on the family had expressed a desire to “streamline the process” of judging requests for annulments, and he noted that he had recently established a special commission to do so.”