The Diocese of Providence has announced the elimination of all fees for the annulment process. The following announcement comes from Msgr. Albert Kenney:
“How I wish all marriage proceedings were free of charge.”
Pope Francis’ Address to the Roman Rota – January 23, 2015
As a response to Pope Francis’ expressed wish, I am pleased to announce the elimination of all fees formerly charged for defraying the cost of the marriage annulment procedure in the Diocese of Providence effective, July 1, 2016.
His Excellency, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, inspired by the Holy Father’s pastoral concern and following the practice of many other dioceses, in accordance with Canon 1649 §1, º1, has decreed the removal of the “requirement of the parties to pay or compensate for judicial expenses.”
Thus, the $500 fee once charged for a formal annulment procedure will be completely eliminated. Parties whose cases have already begun but are still in process need not pay anything further than the payments already made. As you know, back in 2007, the fee was reduced from $750 to the current fee of $500. As always, the expected donation was never a pre-condition or requirement to receive a declaration of nullity. No one has ever been turned away and no case has been delayed because of an inability to defray the costs associated with operating the diocesan marriage tribunal.
It is important that we inform our people about this change. Therefore, I would appreciate your clear communication to parishioners using whatever means and methods necessary. By doing so, we hope that those who until now have felt the cost to be prohibitive, might feel welcome to seek from the Church the pastoral assistance they need.
Finally, in light of the fact that much of our tribunal’s expenses have been subsidized for many years in the amount of one-quarter of a million dollars out of the General Fund, we will adopt a strategy similar to other dioceses (e.g. Boston). If a party expresses a desire to make some contribution, we will provide an opportunity to make a special one-time donation to the Catholic Charity Fund Appeal.”