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.

POPE’S MESSAGE | Water to wine: Jesus ushers in new covenant of joy

Pope Francis posed with migrants at his general audience June 8 in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican June 8. The pope dedicated his catechesis talk to the first of Jesus’ miracles, the wedding feast at Cana.

VATICAN CITY — Jesus' first miracle of changing water into wine expresses His invitation to share in the joy of the new covenant and reminds people to do as He commands, Pope Francis said.

The miracle also shows how He transformed the law of Moses — represented by water destined for ritual purification — into the joy of the Gospel, which is represented by wine, he said.

"A feast needs to have wine" as an integral part of shared celebration, the pope said June 8 at his weekly general audience.

TWENTY SOMETHING | Thirteen sons, no daughters, no reality TV shows

Christina Capecchi

The wedding that Tyler Schwandt and his fiancée are planning could've been broadcast on national TV. But he's perfectly content with a quieter, more intimate wedding Mass.

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.

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