Cool Pope Francis announced today he is overhauling the arduous process of obtaining a marriage annulment in the Church. A marriage annulment, if you don’t know, is like an official Church divorce that allows you to get remarried without being considered—by God and all who follow Him—a sinful adulterer. Getting an annulment used to be a long, expensive ordeal involving all kinds of bishops and Vatican tribunals, but now it will be quick and dirty. Cool!
According to the Associated Press, Cool Pope issued a new law today—he can do that—which mandates that regular annulments be settled within 45 days. This “fast-track procedure” will be handled by the couple’s local bishop, as long as neither party opposes the annulment. Easy.
Of course, couples wishing to annul their marriages still have to provide a good and godly reason for doing so to the bishop. Here are some reasons that have worked in the past, per the website of St. Mary of the Assumption:
- “Force” — “You or your spouse married because of an external physical or moral force that you could not resist.”
- “Ignorance about the nature of marriage” — “You or your spouse did not know that marriage is a permanent relationship between a man and a woman ordered toward the procreation of offspring by means of some sexual cooperation.”
- “Fraud” — “You or your spouse was intentionally deceived about the presence or absence of a quality in the other. The reason for this deception was to obtain consent to marriage.”
- “Error regarding marital sacramental dignity that determined the will” — “You and your spouse married believing that marriage is not a religious or sacred relationship but merely a civil contract or arrangement.”
This new law will mostly help poor people—women, especially—remain in the Church after leaving bad partners. Cool Pope said the overarching goal of his reform “is the salvation of souls.”