Pope calls for quicker marriage nullity, says Church "is so generous that it can provide justice free of charge"
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Church must not make people wait for years to learn whether their marriage is valid or not. The Church "is so generous that it can provide justice free of charge," Pope Francis said before today's general audience in a speech in the Paul VI Hall in the Vatican to participants in a course offered by the tribunal of the Roman Rota (pictured).
The pontiff focused his brief address on justice, charity and care so "that procedures do not become a business," not some "strange things." He also mentioned that during the recent Synod on the family, discussions centred on streamlining procedures and offering them free of charge.
"In the Extraordinary Synod [on the Family], there was talk about procedures and trials. There was concern for streamlining procedures in the interest of justice." This is "justice because decisions are just, and justice because it is what people expect".
"Justice: how many people wait for years before a ruling [is passed]. For this reason, even before the Synod, I set up a commission to help prepare various paths in this area, a path of justice, and one of charity, because there are so many people who need a word from the Church about their marriage situation - be it a yes or a no - as long as it is just."
"Some procedures are so lengthy, demanding and unfavourable that people quit. For example, the inter-Diocesan Tribunal of Buenos Aires has [jurisdiction] - I am not sure but I think - 15 dioceses [as a court] of first instance. I think the farthest [point] is 240 kilometres! It is impossible to imagine that ordinary people . . . can go to the Tribunal. They would have to travel, miss days of work."
"And then, there is also the cost . . . so many things... They tell themselves: 'God understands me, and I'll go on like this, with this weight on my soul.' And Mother Church must judge and say 'Yes, it is true, your marriage is null' or 'No, your marriage is valid'. But it must rule and tell them, so that it is possible to go forward without this doubt, this darkness in the soul."
"Mother Church seeks out its children to deliver justice," he said. "We must also be very careful that procedures do not become a business. And I am not talking of weird things."
"There have been public scandals," the Pope explained. "I had to dismiss a person from a tribunal some time ago, who said 'Give me ,000 and I'll take care of both trials, the civil and the ecclesiastical'. Please, not this!"
"During the Synod, some proposals included trials free of charge. We shall have to see . . . . But when you attach economic interests to spiritual interests, that is not from God. Mother Church is so generous that it can provide justice free of charge, as we have been freely justified by Jesus Christ. This is important: separate two things."
"We must study and always continue to look for the salus animarum, which is not necessarily found outside of justice but is [found] indeed with justice."