In the Catholic Church, it wasn’t only Pope Francis, but Pope Benedict XVI before him who worried about divorced men and women feeling alienated from the Church.In some parts of the world, getting what would be a valid annulment is a hardship, if not an impossibility; in other parts of the world, not so much.Many people shy away because of that one factor, but when you throw in the prospect of that process possibly lasting up to one years or more and the fact that you must pay for it, even more people shake their heads and walk away because it just doesn’t seem worth it to them.

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This is a big reason why so many Catholics leave the faith.

Anyone who has gone through a divorce can go through the annulment process, although if one has divorced for selfish reasons such as another relationship or just not wanting to be married anymore, there are obviously sincerity issues.

It has been noted that the pope’s primary motivation for doing this was “salus animarum – the salvation of souls – which is the suprema Ecclesiae lex – the supreme law of the Church.” He is working to bring Catholics back to the Church.

I don’t see this hurting or weakening marriage in any way.

He did this in advance of his visit to the United States for the World Meeting of Families and a meeting in Rome with bishops from throughout the world next month on the same topic.

The move doesn’t seek to weaken marriage, but rather to tend to the wounded.The debate regarding the reception of Communion by divorced and civilly remarried Catholics is about whether or not someone who is in a state of mortal sin should be allowed to receive communion.Cardinal Walter of Germany has been calling for this for at least 20 years and from what I’ve heard him say he wants there to be a penitential process before allowing the divorced person to resume receiving the sacraments, but no annulment process and no change in their divergent living situation, that they would remain married to their current spouse.As a culture where marriage and family is in crisis, we certainly cannot afford to welcome, celebrate, or encourage divorce and annulment.Still, we also know that they are a painful reality for many, and that addressing them is a pastoral issue.She told me Pope Francis’ announcement has her rethinking her desire to pursue the annulment process. Even thought not all annulments are granted, if more people went through the process they would find great healing and would have a clear indication of their new direction in life. does not have the greatest number of divorces by far.