CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 10 November 2018

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Bill seeks civil recognition of Church annulment of marriage

MANILA (UCAN): The Philippines’ Lower House of Congress is fast-tracking a bill that seeks to recognise as civilly legal and binding the nullification and annulment of marriages by the Catholic Church. The House of Representatives approved the bill on its second reading on January 24. 
Once the proposed measure becomes law, a declaration of nullity by the Catholic Church will hold as much weight and have the same effect as a court decreed civil annulment.
Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez of Leyte, one of the authors of the bill, said the law will “remove the burden of undergoing the civil annulment process.”
The legislator said that by recognising the civil effects of Church annulment, couples “will have the benefit of a more efficient and affordable procedure” to get out of a “truly irreparable relationship.”
Romualdez said the proposed measure was inspired by Pope Francis’ move to simplify the procedures for the annulment of marriage in the Catholic Church.
“While he reaffirmed traditional teaching on the indissolubility of marriage, he streamlined annulment procedures which many considered cumbersome, lengthy, outdated and expensive to make it affordable and accessible to Catholics,” Romualdez said. 
Under the bill, either of the former spouses may marry again after complying with the requirements of the Family Code of the Philippines, otherwise, the subsequent marriage shall be null and void.
At present, Philippine law only recognises divorce under the Code of Muslim Personal Laws, which is based on Islamic law. There is no divorce for non-Muslims in the country.

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