Catholic World News - November 14, 2014
In a letter written three days after the conclusion of the recent Synod of Bishops, the secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith affirmed St. John Paul II’s teaching on absolution for those who have remarried outside the Church.
Asked by a French priest whether a priest may "grant absolution to a penitent who, having been religiously married, has contracted a second union following divorce," Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer responded that "we cannot exclude a priori the remarried divorced faithful from a penitential process that would lead to a sacramental reconciliation with God and, therefore, also to Eucharistic Communion."
Archbishop Ladaria then outlined the steps in the penitential process:
"See eventually if the persons, with the aid of grace, can separate from their new partners and reconcile with those from whom they had separated."
"Invite remarried divorced persons who, for serious reasons (for instance, children), cannot separate from their partner to live as ‘brother and sister.’"
"In any event, absolution cannot be granted if not under the condition of being assured of true contrition, that is, ‘a sorrow of mind, and a detestation for sin committed, with the purpose of not sinning for the future’ (Council of Trent, Doctrine on the Sacrament of Penance, c. 4)," Archbishop Ladaria concluded. "In this line, a remarried divorcee cannot be validly absolved if he does not take the firm resolution of not ‘sinning for the future’ and therefore of abstaining from the acts proper to spouses, by doing in this sense all that is within his power."
Archbishop Ladaria’s letter was published in L’homme nouveau, a French Catholic biweekly entrusted by the Vatican with the distribution of the French edition of L’Osservatore Romano; and an English translation appeared on the Rorate Caeli blog. The Catholic daily La Croix also reported on the letter.
Why the need for an Annulment Review L'Osservatore Romano, 7 November 2014
This may be of interest because in this country expenses for annulments are not charged but a donation of a certain sum is suggested, and paid if affordable by the parties concerned. Read the following from the Pope's address:
"I have not prepared a speech, I would like simply to greet you. In the Extraordinary Synod, the procedures, the processes were discussed, and there is a concern for streamlining the procedures for reasons of justice. Justice, so they may be just, and justice for the people who are waiting, as His Excellency the Dean has just said. Justice: how many people wait years for a ruling. And for this reason, even before the Synod, I constituted a Commission to help prepare various possibilities along this line: a line of justice, and also of charity, because there are so many people who need a word from the Church on their marital situation, for a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’, but that it be just. Some procedures are so long or so onerous that they do not facilitate them and the people leave. For example, take the Interdiocesan Tribunal of Buenos Aires, I don’t recall but I think, in the first instance, it has 15 dioceses; I believe the furthest is 240 km away…. One cannot, it is impossible to imagine simple, common people going to the Tribunal: they have to travel, they have to lose work days, also the bonus … so many things…. They say: "God understands me, and thus I go ahead, with this weight on my soul". And Mother Church must do justice and say: "Yes, it’s true, your marriage is annulled — No, your marriage is valid". But justice has to say it. This way they can move forward without this doubt, this darkness in their spirit."
The Pope went on to say "I had to dismiss a person from the Tribunal, some time ago, who said '$10,000 and I'll handle the two procedures for you, civil and ecclesiastic'. Please, not this! In the Synod a few proposals came up which discussed that they be given gratis. We shall have to see."