Following Pope Francis’ historic announcement that the annulment process will be simplified and made available for free, leaders of the Catholic Church in the Philippines feel that there will be an upsurge in the number of annulment cases in the country.
In a recent interview, Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz of the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said that they are welcoming the news with gladness.
According to Cruz, “I agree with the Holy Father that the process for marriage nullity declaration can be shortened” describing the current process as “quite complicated.”
In the past, annulment has always been very expensive plus the process usually took a long time. With the changes announced by Vatican, the new requirements will shorten the process because annulment cases approved by the church court will no longer have to be reviewed by another tribunal. Also, it will only take about 2 months or less for an annulment to be granted.
An annulment typically begins at the diocese where local leaders will make the decision whether a marriage can be considered null and void. After that, the decision will be forwarded to the Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal so they can review it. In case the case meets disagreement at a Court of Appeals, the case will be sent to Rome.
All of these difficulties will now be reduced as the Catholic Church implements the new set of rules soon.
In Cruz’ viewpoint, the easier annulment is an advantage because “The more cases will be resolved, the more should be able to go back into the fold” since they will no longer be considered “living in sin.”
You can watch ABS-CBN’s video report here: