September 8, 2015
Statement on Pope Francis’ reform to annulment process
BISMARCK, N.D. – The Holy See released a pair of documents from Pope Francis regarding reform to the way the Church handles annulments. In response, Bishop David Kagan states:
“We will take time to examine what the Holy Father has asked of us regarding annulments; and do what it takes to work with the people within our diocese which this effects to make sure the process of seeking an annulment is followed with the Pope’s full intention.”
Pope Francis has decided to streamline the process that is often lengthy, and sometimes costly, to reach out to those who are experiencing pain and undue burden as a result of a broken marriage. Notable changes are: the need for only a single judgment of nullity required; the bishop as a principal judge in certain circumstances; and no mandatory appeal to a marriage tribunal of second instance (which in our case is the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis).
“Even prior to the Holy Father’s recent initiative, our diocese does not charge a fee for annulments and we work diligently assisting those in our diocese in the process. These changes are meant to encourage those in the annulment proceedings or those considering it.”
The effective date for the changes is Dec. 8, 2015 at the start of Pope Francis’ proclaimed “Year of Mercy."
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MEDIA: Please contact Sonia Mullally, director of communications for the Diocese of Bismarck, at 701-204-7190 or