Special Reports

Changes to Annulment Process

On September 8, 2015, Pope Francis issued two new motu proprii amending canon law as it pertains to the procedure for a declaration of marriage nullity, often called the annulment process. The first, entitled Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus (The Lord Jesus, The Gentle Judge), was directed at the Latin Code of Canon Law. The second, entitled Mitis et misericors Iesus (The Gentle and Merciful Jesus), amended the text governing those Eastern Churches in full communion with the Roman Church. Both documents were signed by the pope on August 15.

Laudato Si’

On June 18, 2015, Pope Francis’ long-awaited encyclical on ecology was released to the world. The encyclical, as has historically been the case, takes its name from the first few words of the encyclical: Laudato Si’ –  literally “Praise be to you.” These words, in turn, come from the opening line of the Canticle of the Creatures by St. Francis of Assisi, who continues to greatly influence the pope.

Same-Sex Marriage

On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court held, in a 5-4 decision, that the 14th   Amendment to the United States Constitution requires all 50 states to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed in a different state.

Apostolic Visitation Final Report

On December 22, 2008, the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL) announced the Apostolic Visitation of institutes of women religious in the United States. While individual reports will most likely be sent to the institutes which hosted onsite visits and to the institutes where specific areas of concern were identified, the visitation was officially completed with the congregation’s issuance of its final report on December 16, 2014.

Apostolic Visitation

On December 22, 2008, the Vatican’s Congregation for Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL) announced the Apostolic Visitation of institutes of women religious in the United States. While individual reports will most likely be sent to the institutes who hosted onsite visits and to the institutes where specific areas of concern were identified, the visitation was officially completed with the Congregation’s issuance of its final report on December 16, 2014.

U.S. – Cuba Relations

On December 17, 2014, President Obama announced plans to restore diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba after more than 50 years. Obama indicated the shift was prompted by the ineffectiveness of a “rigid” policy of isolation of Cuba. Going forward, Obama stated that the United States would move toward normalizing ties and would open an embassy in Cuba.

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