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Volume 26 @ Number 10 @ September 13, 2015 @ $15 per Year

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Culp: Close to Home Part II

Page 5 Page 7

Taking leave of St. Peter Claver

The Bi-Weekly Publication of The Catholic Diocese of Lexington

Turn to Annulment , Page 5 Turn to Forgiveness , Page 8

All priests able to forgive sin of abortion during Mercy Jubilee

Photo: Max Rossi/Reuters

Elise Harris

VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN NEWS). In a reformed marriage annulment process Pope Francis has made some significant changes, giving more of a role to the local bishop, dropping automatic appeals, and declaring the process free of charge. Announced Tuesday, the new process is aimed at streamlining the system for granting annulments out of concern "for the salvation of souls," while affirming the longstanding Catholic teaching on marriage indissolubility. The changes were published in two motu proprio (on his own intitiative), Mitis Iu- dex Dominus Iesus" ("The Lord Jesus, a meek judge"), which deals with modifications in the Latin Right's Code of Canon Law, and Mitis et misericors Iesus" ("Jesus, meek and merciful"), which outlines changes for East- ern Churches who, although in full commu-

Revamped annulment process focuses on speed, role of local bishops

nion with Rome, have historically had a dif- ferent process. Both documents reflect many of the same changes, however instead of bishops, Mitis et misericors Iesu" refers patriarchs and eparchies. In a brief introduction, Pope Francis stressed that his adjustments "do not favor the nullifying of marriages but the promptness of the processes." He said that he decided to make the changes in line with the desire of his brother bishops, who during last year's extraordinary synod on the family called for the process to be "faster and more accessible." Many have criticized the current process of obtaining an annul- ment for being long, complex, and in some places, too expensive. Reform was also re- quired due to "the enor- mous number of faith- ful whotoo often are diverted from juridical structures of the church due to physical or moral distance," the pope said, adding that "charity and mercy" require the church as mother to draw close to her chil- dren who consider themselves far off. Among the more significant changes the pope made were dropping the automatic ap- peal needed after a decision on nullity has been reached, as well as allowing local bishops to make their own judgments on "evident" cases of marriage nullity. Until now, once an annulment was issued it was automatically appealed by another, a practice many have blamed for unnecessary delays in the process. With Pope Francis' new changes only one judgment will be needed. However, in the case that it is appealed, the pope decided ap- peals can be done in nearest metropolitan dio- cese, rather than needing to go to Rome. He also decided that each diocese throughout

Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi gestures at a press conference for the release of Pope Francis' documents concerning changes to annulments at the Vatican Sept. 8. Photo: Saltandlighttv.org

Elise Harris

VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN NEWS). In a new set of pastoral guidelines for the upcoming Holy Year of Mer- cy, Pope Francis has made some sig- nificant moves, allowing all priests to forgive the sin of abortion. One of the serious problems of our time is clearly the changed re- lationship with respect to life," the pope said in a Sept. 1 letter addressed to Archbishop Rino Fisichela, presi- dent of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, charged with organizing the jubilee. In today's society, "a widespread and insensitive mentality" has be- come an obstacle to welcoming new life, with many who don't fully un- derstand the deep harm done by the tragedy of abortion," he said. However, Francis also noted that there are many women who, despite thinking abortion is wrong, feel that they have no other choice. I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision," he said. A woman who obtains an abor- tion automatically incurs a latae sententiae" excommunication, along with those who assisted her in the process. Because of this excommuni- cation, the sin of abortion can nor- mally only be absolved by a bishop, or certain priests appointed by him. For specific occasions such as Ad- vent or Lent, some bishops extend this faculty to all priests within their diocese. In the U.S., the faculty to absolve abortion has already been delegated to all priests. However, Pope Francis is tak- ing it to a universal level. He said that the forgiveness of God can't be denied to a person who has sin- cerely repented, especially when the person comes to the Sacrament of Confession, in order to be genuine- ly reconciled with the Father. Because of this, Pope Francis said, he has allowed all priests for the Jubilee of Mercy "to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it." Pope Francis also turned to those who, due to reasons of age, illness or incarceration, will not be able to walk through the Holy Door in order to obtain the plenary indul- gence connected with the jubilee. Each of the four major basilicas in Rome has a holy door, which are normally sealed shut from the in- side so that they cannot be opened. The doors are only opened during jubilee years so that pilgrims can enter through them in order to gain the indulgence. In May, it was announced that as part of the Holy Year for Mercy, holy doors will for the first time be designated in dioceses, and will be located either in the cathedral or in a church of special significance or a

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