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The experience of a ‘broken’ marriage is a hard one for people to bear.

It can be particularly difficult and arduous for those who at a future date wish to ‘re-marry’ in the Catholic Church.

Why? Because of the Church’s need to establish whether the divorced person is free to celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony.

With the best will in the world, the process of establishing this freedom to marry can be painful. Though it must be said it can also prove to be a good experience that allows people to move on, having dealt afresh with past hurts.

Recently Pope Francis introduced new procedures for the formal process concerning the declaration of nullity of marriage.

Pope Francis’ emphasis on mercy is at the heart of these changes. The new norms imbue the search for truth with the mercy of God. This has always been the aim. However, quicker processes, the concern that the lack of finance should not be a constraint and the possibility that a diocesan bishop may be able to use their judicial power for the good of those in their care, all contribute to that search for truth and mercy.

The National Board of Catholic Women has prepared a Guide to the Annulment Process as a resource to assist all those in our communities whose marriages have failed, and those accompanying them; and restore to them, with the mercy of God, hope and confidence on the journey of faith in the light of the Gospel.

If wish to know more, for your self or to help you support a friend, Fr Allen would be very happy to meet with you to discuss things. The Guide itself includes a very useful list of other sources of help and support .