Cardinal John Dew says he is pleased with Pope Francis’s announcement about simplifying the marriage annulment process. The Pope made the announcement on September 8.
Cardinal Dew, the moderator of New Zealand Marriage Tribunal, said the synod gathering last year talked about simplifying the process, “and I’m pleased to see that Pope Francis has been able to move on this, fairly quickly after that discussion”.
“The changes simplify the process and will hopefully speed it up. They are very welcome. We will need to think through how the changes will work in relation to our national tribunal and the regional tribunal which we share with Australian dioceses.”
Pope Francis said that although the process has been simplified and made easier, the grounds for nullifying a marriage have not changed.
Cardinal Dew pointed out that on May 29 this year, the New Zealand bishops had announced that the marriage tribunal would no longer charge for the process.
The cardinal said then that the tribunal process is an important pastoral ministry in the Church at a difficult time in the lives of people seeking an annulment of their marriage.
“The bishops wanted to ensure that cost was no longer a barrier to people seeking an annulment.”
Those now undertaking an annulment process have been advised of the change directly in relation to their particular circumstances.
The annulment process is undertaken following a civil divorce.
People who would like to know more about engaging in that process should contact their local diocesan office of the Tribunal. Details are also available on www.catholic.org.nz .