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Osservatore Romano, Sept. 9, 2015
In yet another step to loosen long-held practices inside the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has eased the process for how divorced Catholics can remarry and stay inside the Church.
Two papal edicts, known as motu proprios, were published Tuesday that open the way to make the process of marriage "annulment" simpler and faster. "Pope Francis Reforms The Canonical Process For Annulments" is Wednesday's front-page headline from the Vatican daily Osservatore Romano.
Since Catholicism doesn't recognize divorce, Catholics wishing to remarry within the Church, must seek an "annulment" of their prior nuptials. This is typically a long and complicated process in front of a tribunal to prove that the original marriage did not meet Church requirements.
"With these new motu proprios, Pope Francis is not only reforming but in a sense re-establishing the canonical process for annulments," Osservatore Romano writes. "The new norms must be examined in the light of the historical evolution of the procedure for annulments, especially regarding what was determined by Benedict XIV, who in 1741 established the process of the two conforming decisions in response to the abuses in said procedure committed by bishops and tribunals." A historic decision indeed; read here for further analysis from the Boston-based Catholic affairs website Crux.