Vatican to release two decrees on annulment process

The Vatican is convening a press conference on Tuesday, September 8, 2015 following the presentation of two decrees from Pope Francis, "Mitis iudex Dominus Iesus" and "Mitis et Misericors Iesus," on the reform of the canonical process for the causes of declaration of nullity of marriage, respectively, in the Code of Canon Law and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

Pope Francis has been interested in finding some way to deal with the problem of divorced and remarried Catholics and restoring them to the full sacramental life of the church. Streamlining the annulment process has been among the strong suggestions of a number of Catholic cardinals and bishops from around the world.

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Cardinal Francis Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, will be among the presenters tomorrow. Last October he suggested three ways the annulments process could be improved: Removing the appeal process and requiring only one judicial decision in the church’s tribunal; not requiring a collegial judicial decision in cases of annulment; and the creation of “an administrative procedure” by which the local bishop can declare the annulment of a marriage “for grave and urgent reasons.” 

“I am very favorable to this third solution; it is often the only way forward,” Cardinal Coccopalmerio said then. “We must adopt the hermeneutics of the pope; we must adopt the procedure to the concrete situation of individuals for grave and urgent reasons.”

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