U.S. Diocese abolishes annulment fees

With immediate effect, the Diocese of Pittsburgh has eliminated all fees for those seeking an annulment in the diocese.

In a letter to the diocese’s Catholics, Bishop David A. Zubik said “I know that the fee has stood in the way for many who are in need of an annulment” and that the long-imagined move had been given impetus by Pope Francis’ call for marriage tribunals to “do justice freely, as we have freely been forgiven by Jesus Christ”.

Hitherto up to $650, about a third of the cost of the annulment process, was typically paid to the diocese, so the policy change will be funded in the short term by the diocese’s annual appeal, called Our Campaign for The Church Alive. It is expected that within five years the full annulment cost will be paid for through the diocesan parish assessment system.

Explaining that he hoped the decision “will enable many people to participate fully in the sacramental life of the church”, Dr Zubik clarified that while Catholics who had divorced and subsequently remarried civilly without annulments should not receive communion, they remain welcome in the diocese’s parishes.