In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ - 'Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery' [Mk ] the Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God's law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists. For the same reason, they cannot exercise certain ecclesial responsibilities. Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence.
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Question: Can a Catholic ever marry a divorced non-Catholic? The reason for this is that the Catholic Church recognizes any marriage as valid until proven otherwise. The assumption is that the couple is in good faith and their decision is to be honored. We believe that a commitment of vows creates a reality and is to be respected. In going thru an annulment process with a tribunal, it is not a given that the outcome will be dissolution or judgment of invalidity. The tribunal process is a looking back at the exchange of vows to see if there was some impediment preventing them from being really free to make this decision even if they thought they were ready to undertake it. If it becomes clear through consultations with the couple, their families or friends, that such an impediment was present in one or the other or both , the marriage is considered invalid.
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Francis issues law allowing for fast-track decisions and for appeals to be judged by local churches rather than the Vatican. The Vatican is making it much easier for Catholics to annul their marriages following a push by Pope Francis for reformation of a process long criticised for being complicated, costly and out of reach for many. Rules unveiled on Tuesday speed up the annulment process, with a fast-track procedure now available, and allow for appeals to be judged by a local church official rather than the Vatican in what represents a significant decentralisation of power away from Rome. He also emphasised that annulment ought to be free of cost. While the new rules will have a practical impact that will be felt by Catholics around the world, it is also turning on its head an ongoing and polarised debate within the Vatican about whether communion ought to be offered to divorced and remarried Catholics, which is currently not allowed unless the person has received an annulment.