Pope says bishops have sole judicial authority in shorter annulment process

In an address on Nov. 25 to canon lawyers, priests, and pastoral works attending a course at the Roman Rota, the Vatican tribunal that deals with marriage annulment cases, Pope Francis said the diocesan bishop is the sole judge in the streamlined process for handling marriage annulments.

According to the Catholic News Service (Nov. 27, 2017), Pope Francis used the occasion to clarify and strongly emphasize how a bishop should not delegate completely the duty of deciding marriage cases to the offices of his curia, especially in the streamlined process for handling cases of clear nullity that were established with new norms that took effect at the end of 2015. The norms were outlined in two papal documents, “Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus” (“The Lord Jesus, the Gentle Judge”) for the Latin-rite church and “Mitis et misericors Iesus,” (“The Meek and Merciful Jesus”) for the Eastern Catholic churches.

The pope went on to say that bishops should be close to those suffering and who expect help “to restore peace to their consciences and God’s will on the readmission to the Eucharist.”

For the CNS report provided by the National Catholic Reporter, click here.

For the full text of the pope’s remarks, courtesy of Zenit News Agency, click here.