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Pope Francis Fast-Tracks Marriage Annulments06:04Download

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Pope Francis waves as he  arrives in St. Peter's Square for his weekly audience at the Vatican on September 2, 2015.  (Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images)MoreCloseclosemore
Pope Francis waves as he arrives in St. Peter's Square for his weekly audience at the Vatican on September 2, 2015. (Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images)

Catholics seeking marriage annulments will soon be able to do it on the fast-track, as Pope Francis radically reformed the three-century-old process today. Among the changes he's instituting are quicker decisions, an end to the automatic appeals that lengthened the process and a lower price tag.

Annulments are necessary for Catholics who want to remarry in the church, otherwise they are considered to be adulterers, living in sin, and forbidden from receiving communion. Pope Francis has said the new process will make it easier for Catholics to remain members of church.

The announcement is one of several recent moves that have been labeled as everything from compassionate, liberal, modern and progressive to over-reaching, anti-traditional and un-Catholic.

Kathleen Cummings, the director of the William W. and Anna Jean Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame, joins Here & Now's Meghna Chakrabarti to shed some light on this announcement.

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This segment aired on September 8, 2015.

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