Is Catholic separation set to become more straightforward?
Firstly, it is important to remember that a Catholic annulment confirms that there was no valid marriage in the eyes of the church. A married couple may choose to obtain a civil divorce, but this will not be recognised by the church, and so many Catholics may seek a Catholic annulment after a civil divorce.
I was interested to hear at the beginning of September 2015 an announcement in the international news that Pope Francis had unveiled reforms to make it easier for Catholics to obtain annulments. This involves the marriage being deemed as flawed from the start. Contrary to some beliefs, this did not mean that divorce was suddenly about to be recognised by the Catholic church, but instead meant that the procedure within the church for annulment may be simplified.
Great news, you may think, but recently this issue has appeared again. The Pope is hosting Bishops in Rome in his second worldwide meeting on family issues. Shortly after the meeting began, one cardinal is reported as stating that there is no foreseeable movement on the Catholic church's stance towards those couples who have been divorced and civilly remarried. Whilst not directly aimed at the reforms unveiled by the Pope, these views are unsurprising, and we have yet to hear further on the proposed reforms.
Any developments must be eagerly awaited by Catholics in Great Britain.