Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis, on Tuesday announced reforms to streamline processes of marriage annulment by the church.
He said in Vatican City that the measure would relax conditions for marriage dissolution and provide avenue for Catholics who wished to remarry without falling foul of the church’s teachings.
The widely expected move came ahead of the church’s October Synod, a world summit of bishops, which is due to discuss ways to reconcile the Vatican with modern lifestyles.
It could also possibly soften the church’s stance on homosexuals and remarried divorcees.
The Pope said under the new rules, marriages would be declared void, after one ruling from a church tribunal, usually chaired by the local bishop.
In the old set-up, such decisions had to be confirmed by an Appeal Court before coming into force.
Francis also said that annulment tribunals should be free as much as possible, acknowledging that court officials deserved “just and dignified” compensation.
He said Catholic marriages could be annulled for a number of reasons, including, ‘’if one of the spouses does not want children, if the marriage was used to circumvent migration laws or if the bride or the groom was forced into it.
He has also introduced fast-track procedures to deal with less controversial cases.
Meanwhile, Monsignor Pio Vito-Pinto, Dean of the Roman Rota, the top appeals body in marriage annulment cases, said the reforms introduced by Francis were the most wide-ranging since the time of Pope Benedict XIV, who ruled in the 18th century. (dpa/NAN)