Monday, June 29, 2015

Archdiocese of Washington eliminates annulment fees

After consultation with the Priest Council and the Tribunal, Cardinal Wuerl has accepted the proposal to eliminate all fees for the annulment process, effective immediately. This includes the $750 fee for a formal annulment case and the $100 fee for a declaration of nullity due to lack of proper canonical form.

This decision comes in anticipation of the Jubilee of Mercy announced by Pope Francis to begin on December 8, 2015 and as we prepare to welcome Pope Francis to Washington in September. In his address to the Roman Rota in January, our Holy Father indicated how important it is that each tribunal assists those who wish to return to the sacraments. He commented, "How I wish all marriage proceedings were free of charge!"

Up to now, the Archdiocese has subsidized the annulment process for anyone who approaches the Tribunal. Even though we requested the fees listed above, if anyone were unable to pay the fees, they were waived. With the elimination of these trees, it is hoped that anyone who may have been reluctant to approach the tribunal will now feel welcome to submit their case.

From a letter dated today, 29 June 2015, on Archdiocesan letterhead emailed today by Auxiliary Bishop Barry Knestout.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Michigan Catholic Bishops' Statement on Supreme Court Decision Redefining Marriage

Today’s decision from the U.S. Supreme Court to redefine marriage represents a profound legal turning point in the contemporary and cultural understanding of spouses and family. We continue to teach that every human person deserves respect and compassion. The experience of same-sex attraction is a reality that calls for attention, sensitivity and pastoral care. While every person is called to love and deserves to be loved, today’s momentous decision will not change the truth of the Church’s teaching on marriage.

The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is and can only be the union of one man and one woman. This union brings two persons together and, because of their natural biological composition, each bring qualities to the marriage that differ from one another. Man and woman complement each other; they then become united as one in marriage and together are unique in their ability to create new life based on sexual and reproductive differences. Every child has a mother and a father and even though each child deserves to be loved and raised by them together, we are conscious of and loving toward those circumstances in which this arrangement of a married mother and father in the home is not reality. Married couples unable to conceive children or family structures that differ – single parents, widowed parents, adopted children and those being raised by grandparents or other family members – merit compassion and support for their life situations, which at times can be difficult and challenging.

The Church and her ministries must remain conscious of and respectful toward these differing dynamics, especially when support, counsel and love is sought. Going forward, the Supreme Court’s decision to redefine marriage will have a significant ripple effect upon the first amendment right to religious liberty. It sets the Church’s teaching about marriage in opposition to the law and will create inestimable conflicts between the state and religious persons and institutions. As the impact of the decision plays out over the coming weeks and months the Catholic Church will continue to preach the truth about marriage and will promote, in the public square, this truth as what is good for society and our world.

For more info visit web site of Michigan Catholic Conference:

Sunday, June 21, 2015

True Story of Providential Encounter Between Navy Chaplain and a Marine Cousin at Sea

One Saturday at sea we flew on a SH-60 from USS Kearsarge to visit Sailors and Marines on the Arlington, one of three 9-11 memorial ships recently commissioned and part of the amphibious group.

During time set aside before Mass this evening I waited in the chaplain's office for the purpose of providing confessions and talking. A young Marine corporal came in and sat down. His face struck me as vaguely familiar. That, in combination with his last name, which is emblazoned on every military uniform, made me pause. I blurted out the name of my first cousin who died after prolonged treatment for a brain tumor in Illinois and he responded, "That's my mother!"

When I was in Illinois for the funeral, which was a beautiful celebration of faith by a holy Catholic family, he would have been too young to get to know. We took care of that today. I know his mother was present in spirit and added to the joy of our meeting. And what was it that brought us together for this blessing? It was a Person, Jesus Christ, who did so as we sought, one to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in that ship's chapel, and the other, to worship thereby.

Big Church, small world.

(In photo, Chaplain Cusick, left and Corporal Price, USMC.)

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