Pope Francis has simplified the procedures for the declaration of nullity of a marriage. Effective December 8, 2015, as we begin the “Year of Mercy”, the Halifax-Yarmouth Marriage Tribunal will reflect this desire to express God’s mercy by the gradual implementation of the new procedural canons established by the Holy Father for the declaration of nullity of a marriage.
Marriage is a lifetime commitment. The decision to marry is perhaps one of the most serious decisions that most people make about their personal lives. So much of the person is invested in the decision that when a couple marries divorce is unthinkable. Yet the unthinkable has happened to so many couples. The reality of divorce is so full of stress and pain, that the Catholic Church seeks to reach out to divorced people in an effort to help heal the wounds, while affirming its teaching on the permanence of marriage. Here is some basic information concerning annulments.
The time it takes to process was reduced by:
- Simplifying the ways of determining the diocesan Tribunal which can deal with the request for the declaration of nullity.
- The requirement that the diocesan Tribunal refer all cases to the National Tribunal has been removed.
- When the basis and reasons for the declaration of nullity request are clear and obvious and the spouses agree to proceed with the request, the bishop, after reviewing the information and if he is morally certain in his judgment can grant the Declaration of Nullity.
On September 8, 2015 (the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin) Pope Francis issued two Motu Proprio dealing with marriage nullity procedures for the Latin Church (Roman Catholic Rite) and the Eastern Catholic Churches (Eastern Rite) respectively. Because the pope is the Supreme Legislator concerning the laws of the Church, he is always free to make any necessary changes that he thinks are needed and beneficial. In practice this power is used very rarely and is never undertaken without the input of the experts in a given field. By putting forward these revisions the pope is making the most significant changes to these procedures since 1741.