Bishops tackle annulment
Kristine B. Quintas/BRP (The Freeman) - January 24, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines members discussed and gave pointers on how to possibly make annulments quicker and simpler during their two-day plenary assembly which concluded yesterday.

This after the CBCP backed Pope Francis’ reforms to simplify and expedite Catholic marriage annulment procedures.

“We will try our best to work on the process given the directive of the Vatican,” Bishop Mylo Hubert Claudio Vergara, Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Social Communications and Mass Media of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines,told members of Cebu Media yesterday.

However, he would not elaborate more on CBCP’s move towards the Pope’s reforms.

Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz, founding judicial vicar of the CBCP’s National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal, earlier said cases like nullifying marriages can be done without bothering the Vatican, unlike cases concerning disciplinary problems of priests on which the Vatican has the final say.

He said marriage cases in the Philippines are first brought to the tribunal of a diocese concerned, which will then be forwarded to the CBCP’s tribunal for confirmation or non-confirmation.

In September 2014, Vati-can Radio reported that the Holy See Press Office announced that Pope Francis has decided “to establish a Special Commission for the study of the reform of the matrimonial processes in canon law.”

It added that the committee will be headed by Msgr. Pio Vito Pinto, dean of the Roman Rota, and would have 10 members.

According to the Vatican, the new rules are the most substantive changes to annulment laws since the papacy of Benedict XIV, who was Pope from 1740 to 1758.

An annulment, formally known as a “decree of nullity”, is a ruling that a marriage was not valid in the first place according to Church law because certain prerequisites, such as free will, psychological maturity and openness to having children, were lacking.

Aside from the process of nullity, Vergara said they also tackled issues about the pastoral situation; the creation of guidelines for the clergy and the Catholic laity during the May elections; and updates of the Year of Mercy.

CBCP is expected to issue a collective statement on pastoral and social issues.

The closed-door 112th CBCP plenary assembly concluded yesterday noon. It was the first time the plenary assembly was held outside Luzon and was attended by 98 out of 131 bishops from different dioceses in the country.  (FREEMAN)

 

ACIRC ARCHBISHOP EMERITUS OSCAR CRUZ BISHOP MYLO HUBERT CLAUDIO VERGARA CATHOLIC BISHOPS CEBU MEDIA CHAIRMAN OF THE EPISCOPAL COMMISSION CONFERENCE OF THE PHILIPPINES HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE IN SEPTEMBER NATIONAL APPELLATE MATRIMONIAL TRIBUNAL POPE FRANCIS
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