Annulment Process Reform
Thursday, 10 September 2015 00:00

NEWS RELEASE                     144 West Wood Street,
                                                                     Phone: 330-744-8451
                                                                     Fax: 330-742-6448
                                                                     Rev. Monsignor John A. Zuraw, Chancellor

FOR RELEASE Immediate DATE SENT September 10, 2015
SUBJECT         Annulment Process Reform

MORE INFO     Msgr. Peter Polando, Judicial Vicar  of the Diocese of Youngstown

After a year-long study by experts in Church Law, the Vatican has announced a reform of the procedure for obtaining an annulment of a previous marriage. These changes are meant to simplify and shorten the annulment process in the Catholic Church.

A major change in the process will be that cases that are judged in one ecclesiastical court will no longer need to be confirmed by a second court unless an appeal is made by one of the parties. Moreover, in a case that is unambiguous, the local bishop will have the authority to judge the case himself rather than referring it to a tribunal. These and other changes in the annulment process will take effect on December 8, 2015, the first day of the Holy Year of Mercy.

In a statement dated September 8, 2015, Pope Francis declared: "It is therefore the concern for the salvation of souls that, today as yesterday, remains the supreme objective of the institutions and laws, and drives the Bishop of Rome to offer to the Bishops this reform document, insofar as they share with him the task of the Church to protect the unity in faith and in discipline regarding marriage, the cornerstone and origin of the Christian family. The drive to reform has been fueled by the enormous number of faithful who, while wishing to be at peace with their conscience, are too often separated from the legal structures of the Churches due to physical or moral distance; charity and mercy therefore require that the same Church, as a mother, to be closer to her children who consider themselves separated."

Commenting on the Holy Father's actions, Bishop George V. Murry of the Diocese of Youngstown said: "This reform of the annulment process is an important step in protecting both the indissolubility of marriage while at the same time offering those whose marriages have failed an opportunity to be reunited with the Church. I hope and pray that presently divorced and remarried Catholics will welcome this opportunity to apply for an annulment."

Pope Francis further called for the annulment process to be free of charge. In anticipation of the Holy Year of Mercy, Bishop Murry on July 23, 2015, eliminated all fees for the annulment process in the Diocese of Youngstown.

For more information, contact Msgr. Peter Polando, Judicial Vicar of the Diocese of Youngstown, at 330-744-8451.