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17 Jul 2015 Articles Resources No comments

Lessons from South America: How to greet and understand Pope Francis

People make special preparations for welcoming a special guest, and watching what worked and did not work in Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay may help people prepa…

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17 Oct 2014 Q&A Comments (2)

Did the Church move the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday?

Catholics do not worship on the Sabbath which is the last day of the week according to Jewish teaching, when God rested from work after creation (Gen. 2:2-3). W…

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29 Jul 2016 Q&A Comments (4)

When Jesus mentioned the "one flock, one shepherd," was he referring to the Catholic Church alone?

Full Question In John 10:16 Jesus says "I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must lead them too, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be …

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18 Jul 2015 Articles Comments (2)

Grief: Does It Ever End?

“It is suffering, more than anything else, which clears the way for the grace which transforms human souls.” —St. John Paul II In August 2009 my two older s…

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05 Aug 2016 News Comments (1)

New claimant to Boko Haram leadership has pledged to ‘blow up every church we can’

New Boko Haram leader announced, with new threats aimed at Christians An Islamist named by ISIS as the new leader of Boko Haram has pledged to blow up every ch…

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19 Nov 2014 Q&A No comments

What are the pains of purgatory?

Full Question What are the pains of purgatory? Answer While the nature of the punishment of the cleansing fire of purgatory is not a defined doct…

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30 Aug 2016 Uncategorized No comments

Prosecutor undecided on death penalty after killing of nuns

The nuns' order has said it opposes the death penalty and said the sisters' murders do 'not demand revenge' A Mississippi prosecutor said she hasn’t decided wh…

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17 Nov 2014 Q&A Comments (2)

If I married a non-baptized person in a civil wedding, do I need an annulment to remarry?

Full Question My first wife and I were married by the justice of the peace. I was baptized in a Baptist church, but she was not baptized at all. Do I have …

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24 Sep 2015 News USA No comments

Be shepherds concerned only for God and others, Pope tells US bishops

Pope Francis met the US bishops in Washington's Cathedral of St Matthew the Apostle Acknowledging the real challenges and burdens the US bishops face in thei…

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How might the new annulment process affect the Synod on the Family?

By reforming the process for discovering the nullity of marriage on Tuesday, mere weeks before the beginning of October’s Synod on the Family, Pope Francis has taken that issue out of the hands of the synod fathers.

The decision could impact the Synod of Bishops, however, by reducing the perceived need for a quick solution to the issue of granting the divorced-and-remarried access to Communion – since the reformed process may make it easier for many of them to verify the nullity of their first marriage.

Pope Francis had in fact already shown his will to remove the discussion of declarations of nullity from the synod hall: his special commission to study a reform of the matrimonial process was announced Sept. 20, 2014, but had been established a month earlier, on Aug. 27, well before the beginning of October 2014 Synod on the Family.

In any case, the issue was among those discussed at the synod, and Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts and one of the members of the commission, addressed the issue in an Oct. 8, 2014 media briefing.
He noted there that the commission’s aim was that of “drafting a proposal of reform of the process on marriage, trying to speed up the procedure, by streamlining it and at the same time safeguarding the principle of the indissolubility of marriage,” while distinguishing between a declaration of nullity and the dissolution of a marriage, clarifying that no marriage that is “ratum et consummatum” can be dissolved.

As the upcoming synod will now not have to discuss the issue of declarations of nullity, it is possible that Pope Francis’ decision may also temper the push for a new praxis on admission to Communion for the divorced-and-remarried. At the same time, the motu proprios could alter the terms of the synod’s discussion.

The discussion will probably be refocused on other issues, which could be helped by the new rules for the Synod of Bishops.

A source involved in the Synod of Bishops told CNA Sept. 7 that there will be no midterm report, and each week will be dedicated to the discussion of one of the three parts of the synod’s working document.

After a short general introduction, participants of the Synod will split into small linguistic groups, so that there are many small group discussions, but no general discussion among all of the synod fathers. The small groups will then bring their conclusions to the General Secretariat of the Synod and to the general relator, who would give a final report at the end of the synod, which will be concluded with a speech from the Pope.

Meanwhile, the number of requests for declarations of nullity may increase.

Msgr. Pio Pinto, dean of the Roman Rota and chairman of the commission, addressed this issue in the article he wrote Sept. 8 for L’Osservatore Romano: “Thus Francis, with this fundamental law gives a true start to his reform: putting the poor at the center, that is, the divorced-and-remarried, held or treated as far away, and asking of the bishops a true and proper metanoia. That is, a ‘conversion’, a change of mentality that convinces and undergirds them to follow the invitation of Christ, presented to them in their brother, the Bishop of Rome, to pass from the restricted number of a few thousand declarations of nullity to the huge number of unhappy people who might obtain the declaration of nullity – for the evident lack of faith … but who are left outside the existing system.”


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