A pair of announcements will be good news for divorced Catholics in Buffalo who want to remarry and continue to practice their faith. Though these developments have no impact on the legal process of divorce, this story shows how for many people, there are really two divorces to go through.
The Catholic Church requires its members who have gotten divorced to obtain an annulment, or “declaration of nullity.” Otherwise, the Church will not recognize a Catholic’s subsequent marriage. Technically, it will consider the new marriage to be adultery. These “adulterers” are not supposed to take Communion, which is a very important ritual in the Catholic faith.
Until recently, getting a Catholic annulment could be confusing and intimidating. But earlier in September, Pope Francis announced that he was simplifying the process, apparently by shifting control over the process to the diocesan level and shortening the procedure.
On the heels of that statement, Bishop Richard J. Malone of the Diocese of Buffalo said he was eliminating the $350 fee the diocese has been charging for annulments, the Buffalo News reports. These new moves could make it easier than ever for local Catholics to stay in the religion after getting divorced.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, the legal process of divorce generally has little to do with the religion of the spouses. One possible exception is determining legal custody of the children. The parent (or parents) with legal child custody have the right to determine which religion the children will be raised in, if any.