Pope urges bishops to exercise authority as judges in annulments

VATICAN CITY — A diocesan bishop is the sole judge in the streamlined process for handling marriage annulments, Pope Francis said.

The simplified process "is not an option that the diocesan bishop can choose, but rather an obligation that derives from his consecration and from the mission received," making the bishop the sole and exclusive authority in charge throughout the three phases of the briefer process, the pope said.

Too many couples do not understand marriage is for life, pope says

Pope Francis speaks during the opening of the Diocese of Rome's annual pastoral conference at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome June 16.

ROME — Because most people today don't understand that sacramental marriage really is a bond that binds them to each other for life, many marriages today can be considered invalid, Pope Francis said.

Raising a point he has raised before, and one also raised by now-retired Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis insisted June 16 that the validity of a marriage requires that a couple understands that sacramental marriage is a bond that truly binds them to another for their entire lives.

Synod members disagree on report's opening to Communion for remarried

VATICAN CITY -- Australian Cardinal George Pell said the final report of the Synod of Bishops on the family didn't create an opening for the divorced and civilly remarried to receive Communion.

Other synod members took a different view and acknowledged that the paragraph in question was being read differently.

"The text has certainly been significantly misunderstood," Cardinal Pell, prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy, told Catholic News Service Oct. 25.

MAN OF THE HOUSE | Vocation of marriage models Christ's love for the Church

By now, every Catholic -- and a whole bunch of non-Catholics -- are aware the Church faces a vocations crisis.

Yes, we need more women and men discerning a call to join the religious life and the priesthood. It's important that adults in the pews encourage such discernment as a legitimate, honorable and holy life choice for a young person. The future of the Church will look much different if that doesn't happen.

That isn't the vocation about which I'm talking right now. I'm thinking of an equally important vocation.

Divorced and remarried are not excommunicated, pope says at audience

Pope Francis arrived to lead a meeting with young people along the waterfront in Asuncion, Paraguay, July 12.

VATICAN CITY — Catholics who have divorced and are civilly remarried “are not, in fact, excommunicated — they are not excommunicated — and they absolutely must not be treated as if they were,” Pope Francis said.

Resuming his Wednesday general audiences Aug. 5 after a month’s break, Pope Francis returned to the series of talks he has been giving on the family. It was the 100th general audience of his papacy.

Court rules same-sex marriage legal nationwide

WASHINGTON -- In a landmark ruling, a divided Supreme Court June 26 said same-sex marriage is constitutional nationwide.

"The nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality," wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the 5-4 majority. "This is true for all persons, whatever their sexual orientation."

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