Diocese of Pittsburgh eliminates fees for marriage annulments
#1
Quote:Diocese of Pittsburgh eliminates fees for marriage annulments

[Image: Bishop-David-Zubik-14.jpg]
“My staff and I have long dreamed of this move,” Bishop David Zubik said in a letter to Catholics.

By Peter Smith / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Diocese of Pittsburgh is eliminating all fees for couples seeking an annulment, Bishop David Zubik announced today.

Bishop Zubik said the decision was in response to Pope Francis’ call to make annulments easier, and free.

“My staff and I have long dreamed of this move,” Bishop Zubik said in a letter to Catholics. “Our dear Pope Francis inspired us to act now. He has called for marriage tribunals to ‘do justice freely, as we have freely been forgiven by Jesus Christ.’ My hope is that this decision will enable many people to participate fully in the sacramental life of the Church.”

An annulment process previously cost several hundred dollars, and while the diocese has waived fees in cases of financial need, the presence of the fees discouraged some from applying, according to church officials. The elimination of fees takes place immediately.

Pope Francis has called for dialogue at high-level synods on the subject of the family, including on ways to make the church more receptive to divorced and remarried persons.

“The sacraments are free,” Francis said in January. “... I want so much for every process to be free of charge!”

Annulments come after a review by a church tribunal of a couple that has received a civil divorce. While the church teaches that sacramental marriage is eternal, if it’s determined there was never a spiritual bond between the couple, their marriage can be annulled and the persons can remarry. Without an annulment, the church says remarried persons cannot receive the sacraments.

Peter Smith: petersmith@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1416 or on Twitter @PG_PeterSmith.

This article reminded me of a very scandalous "Catholic"(?) church website that actually lists annulment as a sacrament; here's the screenshot I took:
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Even on their updated website it classifies annulment under the sacraments page: http://sacredheartmedford.org/sacraments
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#2
Eh, I think this is a good thing, honestly.  I know plenty of people who see annulments as just a money making scheme (not unlike how indulgences came to be viewed in the past).  If anything, this kind of move says that this process has actual spiritual importance, it's not just a way to make money. 

You can no longer mock them saying, "As soon as a coin in the coffer rings / the soul from matrimony springs."
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#3
I agree with SaintSebastian.  At the risk of being flamed here, I'd just add that as far as marriage/divorce/remarriage goes the Roman Catholic Church just plain got it wrong and the Orthodox Church got it right. :O :O  (I'll duck now and probably keep silent on this matter henceforth  :).)
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#4
It is a good thing. Paying for annulments sounds corrupt and very open to abuse.
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#5
Well this will just bankrupt the Diocese of Pittsburgh even faster.


Annulments should cost money, it costs money to process. I think removing the fees will lead to an abuse of granting annulments. I do think there should be exceptions for people who are poor and cannot afford the fees, but for the rest it should still require payments.
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#6
It's the first of April. Maybe that's relevant.
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#7
If someone has been divorced and remarried, they may have been away from the Church for a long time, they may have just begin to step back in, only to find they need an annulment and all the work that entails only to be asked for a substantial fee on top of it. For someone who is already going through a lot, that might be too much for them to take at that point. It's not good to simply hand someone a bill when they finally come around to asking for help.  Some people come back to the Church confidently- before coming back, they've prayed and studied a lot and are sure of themselves. Others, however, come back because they're in a really dark place and need help. These people often come back very nervously and perhaps even reluctantly at first. They may have a lot of anger and pain to work through. They may be very humiliated and even ashamed.  They are often very vulnerable and need to be treated gently.  The Church probably should have done better at catechizing them and exhorting them to live a holy life. I think they should just take the loss on this one and consider that the gain of a soul back into the Sacraments is more than enough payment.
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#8
(04-01-2015, 03:31 PM)Dirigible Wrote: It's the first of April. Maybe that's relevant.

Let's hope not.
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#9
(04-01-2015, 01:51 PM)J Michael Wrote: I agree with SaintSebastian.  At the risk of being flamed here, I'd just add that as far as marriage/divorce/remarriage goes the Roman Catholic Church just plain got it wrong and the Orthodox Church got it right. :O :O  (I'll duck now and probably keep silent on this matter henceforth  :).)

I'm genuinely not trying to come off as snarky, I'm actually curious.  Do you think Our Lord got it plain wrong on marriage too?  Because the Church is just echoing what he said: You divorce your spouse and marry another, you commit adultery.

As for eliminating fees for annulments, it seems like an ok idea.  A lot of trads seem upset at the number of annulments granted today compared to the good old days but I spoke to a Canon Lawyer about this and he said the reason there are more annulments might be because there are many more invalid marriages due to crummy catechesis and marriage prep.  Makes sense to me.
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#10
(04-01-2015, 04:28 PM)Credidi Propter Wrote: If someone has been divorced and remarried, they may have been away from the Church for a long time, they may have just begin to step back in, only to find they need an annulment and all the work that entails only to be asked for a substantial fee on top of it. For someone who is already going through a lot, that might be too much for them to take at that point. It's not good to simply hand someone a bill when they finally come around to asking for help.  Some people come back to the Church confidently- before coming back, they've prayed and studied a lot and are sure of themselves. Others, however, come back because they're in a really dark place and need help. These people often come back very nervously and perhaps even reluctantly at first. They may have a lot of anger and pain to work through. They may be very humiliated and even ashamed.  They are often very vulnerable and need to be treated gently.  The Church probably should have done better at catechizing them and exhorting them to live a holy life. I think they should just take the loss on this one and consider that the gain of a soul back into the Sacraments is more than enough payment.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.

The Church has been greasing the skids for over 50 years and all it has done is further reduce Her numbers. An annulment is not a requirement to return to Holy Mother Church and a lot of the time people who think they may need annulments do not need them, because their "marriage" lacked form. I just see this as another attempt to water down the faith and further bankrupt a diocese. I guess the Diocese of Pittsburgh does not need annulment fees, what with all the money they get from selling off parishes to be converted into mosques and beer halls.
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