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Pope Benedict XVI says lack of 'faith' could be used in marriage annulments

Published: Monday, Feb. 4 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

Pope Benedict XVI blesses the faithful as he arrives for his weekly general audience in the Paul IV hall at the Vatican, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013.  (Andrew Medichini, ASSOCIATED PRESS) Pope Benedict XVI blesses the faithful as he arrives for his weekly general audience in the Paul IV hall at the Vatican, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013. (Andrew Medichini, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Our take: Pope Benedict XVI has asked the Vatican’s highest appeals court to consider reviewing church rules on marriage annulments to include "lack of faith" as a reason for marriage annulment.

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI has asked the Vatican’s highest appeals court to consider reviewing church rules on marriage annulments — a statement that may signal a change in tone more than a change in substance.

Speaking on Saturday (Jan. 26) to the members of the tribunal of the Roman Rota, Benedict said that “lack of faith” on the part of the spouses can affect the validity of a marriage.

While the Catholic Church forbids remarried divorcees from taking Communion, church tribunals can declare a marriage void if it can be demonstrated that some key elements — such as a commitment to have children — were missing in the first place.

Catholics who obtain an annulment for their first marriage can then remarry without facing church sanctions.

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