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We, the faith community of Infant of Prague Parish, united in the Holy Spirit celebrate the presence of Christ in Word, Sacrament, and each other. We strive to build up the kingdom of God in a spirit of fellowship and service. We welcome all to journey with us as we continue to mature in our faith by our worship of God and our reaching out to our brothers and sisters in need.
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Diocese to eliminate fees for marriage annulments
3 days ago by Kevin Keenan
With the upcoming World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia (Sept. 22-25), and in
anticipation of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which begins on Dec. 8, Bishop Richard Malone has decided to eliminate all fees associated with seeking a marriage annulment through the Diocese of Buffalo’s Marriage Tribunal.
For the past several weeks, diocesan officials had been working on the plan to eliminate annulment fees prior to the Sept. 8 announcement by Pope Francis to simplify the annulment process.
“The hope is that this decision will open the door for many more people to participate fully in the sacramental life of the Church,” Bishop Malone said. “Often people are discouraged from seeking an annulment because of the perceived financial burden attached to an annulment process. Requesting a fee for the annulment process has been an enormous psychological hindrance.”
Previously, the fee had partially covered the cost of operating the Tribunal Office which is responsible for processing annulment cases. While the fee was reduced or waived for those who could not afford it, the very existence of a fee was disheartening to many people and blocked the way for them to seek an annulment. By taking this step, Bishop Malone said he hopes that those who have been unable or unwilling to pursue an annulment will now be able and willing to do so.
Bishop Malone is encouraging pastors and other Church leaders to continue to make every effort to assure parishioners in divorced situations that the Church loves and welcomes them.
Many people are unclear about what an annulment is in the Catholic Church. A Church annulment is a statement by the Catholic Church that a particular relationship did not meet the qualifications and definition of marriage as defined by the Catholic Church. One or both parties may have entered the marriage with good will, but lacked the openness, honesty, or emotional stability or capacity to establish a community of life and love with another person.
Divorced and civilly remarried Catholics are welcome in our parishes. The Family Life Department of the Diocese of Buffalo offers a program called LINK aimed at assisting people to adjust to the fact of their divorce and at helping people reconstruct their lives in relationship to others. Information about such programs may be obtained from the Tribunal or Family Life Department.
For more information, about the annulment process please contact the Tribunal at 716-847-8769 or email@example.com
What is an annulment?
A church annulment, properly known as a “declaration of nullity,” is a declaration by a church court that a marriage entered in good faith was lacking an essential element that the Church requires for the sacramental or spiritual bond of marriage. Often when a marriage ends in divorce it turns out that there was an issue from the very beginning that prevented the couple from living out the obligations of marriage as set forth in the teachings of the Church.
Marriage must be freely entered into, with no deception, coercion or fear driving either party or both spouses must have the intention to enter a permanent, faithful union that is open to the possibility of children. In the Catholic Church, marriage is understood to be a community of life for a man and a woman, for their mutual interpersonal growth, and for the procreation and education of children. Each spouse must have the basic physical, emotional, and psychological ability to understand the intentions and meaning of marriage and to intend to fulfill them.
Who needs to petition for an annulment?
Anyone who has been previously married and divorced and now wishes to marry in the Catholic Church, or to have a current civil marriage recognized by the Church, must petition for a declaration of nullity. This includes non-Catholics seeking to marry a Catholic and those seeking to become part of the Catholic Church.
How long does it take the Diocese of Buffalo to process a petition for annulment?
The average time from the time the Tribunal receives a request to study the possible nullity of marriage to a conclusion is usually about one to one-and-one-half years. However, this time frame may vary according to the circumstances and complexity of the case.
Does an annulment make the children illegitimate?
No. The Church has always taught that all life is a gift from God. An annulment doesn’t deny the existence of a relationship. A declaration of nullity means that a particular relationship did not fulfill the qualities of marriage as defined by the Catholic Church. It does not mean that there was never any relationship. Even if a declaration of nullity is granted it never negates parenthood nor its responsibilities, both parents should always make every effort to cooperate in loving and supporting their children in all circumstances.
If someone’s first marriage wasn’t in the Catholic Church, is an annulment petition still necessary?
Yes, because the Catholic Church respects the validity of all marriages between a man and a woman, not just Catholic marriages.
What costs have been waived by the Diocese of Buffalo?
The Diocese of Buffalo has eliminated all fees that were incurred in the normal processing of an annulment case. If however, one of the spouses chooses to appeal the decision through the Interdiocesan Tribunal – Province of New York, there may be fees due to that Tribunal.
What spiritual and emotional support does the Diocese of Buffalo offer to divorced and separated Catholics?
The Family Life Department of the Diocese of Buffalo offers a program called LINK aimed at assisting people to adjust to the fact of their divorce and at helping people reconstruct their lives in relationship to others. Information about such programs may be obtained from the Tribunal or Family Life Department. For more information, about the annulment process please contact the Tribunal at 716-847-8769 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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