National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Sacraments

Pope Francis says he wants all annulments to be free

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Pope Francis on Friday warned the Vatican's top marriage judges that they should not "lock the salvation of persons within the straits of legalism" and indicated he wants the church to no longer charge for the sometimes onerous and expensive annulment process.

"This is a point I want to emphasize: the sacraments are free," Francis told jurists of the Roman Rota, the church's final court of appeals for annulments.

"The sacraments give us grace," he said. "And a marriage proceeding" -- like an annulment -- "touches on the sacrament of marriage."

Preview: Anointing of the sick fosters awareness of the ill in our midst

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Most people associate the sacrament of anointing of the sick with a priest visiting a dying person in a hospital bed.

But the sacrament goes beyond this typical concept. According to the Catholic church's 1983 instruction on the sacrament, the optimal place to receive the rite is during Mass itself, when church members can participate. There is also room for interpretation as to who can and should receive the sacrament.

Maybe it's time to bring the church to the people

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In recent years, it seems there has been an effort to make it harder for the faithful to participate and receive the sacramental actions of the church. One example would be the denial of Communion to politicians with certain views as well as the denial of Communion to divorced and remarried Catholics. Another example would be the refusal to provide general absolution for parishioners even during the Christmas and Easter seasons.

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In This Issue

August 28-September 10, 2015

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