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Pope’s Address to Roman Rota Course on Annulment Processes

“there are so many people who are in need of a word of the Church on their matrimonial situation, for a yes or for a no, but it must be just”

On Wednesday, Pope Francis received in audience the participants in the super rato Course of Canonical Procedure, organized by the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.

After the greeting of the Dean of the Roman Rota, H.E. Monsignor Pio Vito Pinto, the Pope gave those present the following greeting regarding the annulment process, which we translate below.

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I haven’t prepared an address. I just want to greet you. In the Extraordinary Synod there was talk of procedures, of processes, and there is a concern to simplify the procedures, for reasons of justice. Justice, so that they will be just, and justice for the people that are waiting, as His Excellency, the Monsignor Dean, just said.

Justice: how many people wait for years for a judgment. And, because of this, already before the Synod I constituted a Commission that would help to prepare different possibilities in this line: a line of justice, and also of charity, because there are so many people who are in need of a word of the Church on their matrimonial situation, for a yes or for a no, but it must be just. Some procedures are so long or so burdensome that they are not favorable, and people give up. An example: the inter-diocesan Tribunal of Buenos Aires – I can’t remember but I believe that, in the first instance, there were 15 dioceses; I believe the farthest was 240 kilometers away  … This cannot be, it is impossible to imagine that simple, ordinary persons can go to the Tribunal: they must make a trip, they must lose days of work, even the award … so many things … They say: “God understands me, and so I will continue this way, with this weight in my soul.” And Mother Church must do justice and say: “Yes, it’s true, your marriage is null – [or] No, your marriage is valid.” But it is just to say it. So they can go ahead without this doubt, this darkness in their soul. It is important that these courses take place, and I am very grateful to Monsignor the Dean for what he has done. And I also thank him because he, himself, presides over this Commission to find suggestions to simplify the procedures. Forward always. It is Mother Church that goes and seeks her children to do justice. And it is necessary to be very careful that the procedures are not in the framework of affairs: and I’m not speaking of strange things. There have also been public scandals. Some time ago I had to dismiss from the Tribunal a person that said: “10,000 dollars and I will do the two procedures for you, the civil and the ecclesiastical.” Please, not this! In the Synod there were also some proposals that spoke of gratuitousness, this must be looked at … For when spiritual interests are attached to the economic, this isn’t from God! Mother Church has so much generosity to be able to do justice gratuitously, just as we have been gratuitously justified by Jesus Christ. This point is important: detach the two things.

And thank you for having come to this course: there must be study and a going forward, always seeking the salus animarum, which does not necessarily have to be found outside of justice but, rather, with justice. Thank you so much and, please, pray for me. Thank you.

[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]

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