Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Sunday 19 September |
Our Lady of La Salette
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Pittsburgh Diocese Cancels Fees for Annulment Process

© Louise ALLAVOINE/CIRIC

John Burger - published on 04/03/15

Bishop hopes move will encourage divorced Catholics to come back to the sacraments

As the Church prepares to commemorate the institution of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday, the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has announced a move that it hopes will bring more people back to the sacraments, especially Communion.

Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik said Wednesday that the diocese will no longer charge a fee for the canonical process to determine whether or not they are in a valid marriage.

"This Holy Week, as we remember how Jesus poured out His mercy on us from the Cross and rose from the dead, I am most pleased to announce a decision which I hope will bring many people closer to Jesus and the Sacraments," Bishop Zubik wrote in a letter published on the diocesan website. "Effective immediately, we as a diocese are eliminating all fees for those seeking an annulment in our marriage Tribunal."

The bishop said that he and his staff have "dreamed" of making such an arrangment for some time but that they were inspired to act now because of Pope Francis, who has called for marriage tribunals to “do justice freely, as we have freely been forgiven by Jesus Christ.”

He said that the fee had "partially covered the cost of maintaining a professional office of canon lawyers and support staff, and other expenses involved in processing the cases" but that it had been a roadblock for some people seeking an annulment. 

Responding to a query from Aleteia, Father Roger Keeler, executive coordinator of the Canon Law Society of America, said he would support "any effort that makes it possible for the People of God to approach marriage tribunals, whether those efforts be in informing people about the process and what it is intending to do, in increasing the number of those engaged in the Church’s ministry of justice, in stream-lining the process itself, or in adjusting/eliminating fee structures."

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said that some dioceses, such as Cleveland, Rochester, N.Y., and St. Petersburg, Fla., have eliminated annulment fees in the past year, and some have done so for years. Many continue to charge fees except in hardship cases.

Pittsburgh’s decision also comes between two gatherings of the Synod of Bishops, which is considering responses to various problems affecting the family, including divorce, and several months before the World Meeting of Families and Pope Francis’ visit, which will be hosted by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. 

Tags:
MarriagePope Francis

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
ANMOL RODRIGUEZ
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
2
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope considers what to do with pro-abortion Catholic politicians
3
ARGENTINE CHILDREN
Esteban Pittaro
Argentine “Mother Teresa” was a former model and actress who embr...
4
RESURRECTION
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
5
Kathleen N. Hattrup
On same-sex unions, Pope says Church doesn’t have power to change...
6
PIER GIORGIO FRASSATI
Cerith Gardiner
12 Habits of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati that every young adult...
7
Visalia CHURCH
J-P Mauro
The largest Catholic parish church in the US will soon be in Cali...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.