Diocese to drop all fees for marriage annulments

Diocese to drop all fees for marriage annulments

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The Madison Catholic Diocese will soon drop all fees related to the issuance of marriage annulments, Bishop Robert Morlino said in an interview.

The decision follows changes announced by Pope Francis last week designed to make the annulment process more accessible and less time-consuming.

An annulment is a ruling by the Roman Catholic Church that a marriage thought to be valid according to church law actually fell short because something essential was missing from the couple’s relationship. An annulment is required if a divorced Catholic wants to remarry and receive the sacrament of communion.

Most dioceses charge between $200 and $1,000 for an annulment case, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The cost in the Madison diocese has been around $300, Morlino said.

Pope Francis did not call for the elimination of administrative fees but said the cost of an annulment should be minimal.

Morlino said the Madison diocese already waives fees in cases of financial hardship and had been considering dropping the fees altogether for some time. He said the fees will be gone by Dec. 8, the date the pope’s changes take effect.

— Doug Erickson

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