FROM now on marriage annulments are going to be fast and free, exactly the opposite to what they have been up until now. Pope Francis has issued a reform of the canonical process by the issuing of two “motu proprio” or papal decrees.
The text presented to the Vatican this week by some of the experts chosen by the Pope to execute his reform dictates that annulments be possible “by one single sentence signed by a single judge under responsibility of the bishop” especially in those cases where annulments are most obvious. The annulment process will take between a month and a half, and a year.
The Pope has left no doubt as to the cost of annulments in stating that “the process must be completely free of charge, because the Church must appear to believers as a generous mother, giving the unconditional love of Christ to all those who by the annulment wish to save their souls”.
The reform, as well as vouching for a single sentence decreed by one judge, establishes a higher level of implication from bishops. First of all, bishops must judge the more evident cases and be it in big or in small diocese, the Pope wants bishops to become judges of their own papacy and come down from their Archbishop’s Palace and face the real problems of Christians.