Pope Francis on Tuesday made it easier and quicker for Catholics to get a marriage annulment as the most radical procedure in 250 years.
Prior to the new law, it took years to secure an annulment, aside from paying heavy fees, as the Catholic church believes that marriage is a lifelong vow.
According to new reforms, a marriage annulment could be granted within 45 days and free of charge. Furthermore, the reform allows bishops to grant divorces, if the two spouses required it.
Pope Francis wrote on Tuesday that bishops should display "particular pastoral concern" over divorced and remarried Catholics.
The pope’s announcement on the new reform came a week following his signaling on a more compassionate approach to women who had an abortion - known as a “grave sin” according to the Roman Catholic Church – in an approach to ease the strict rules of the Catholic Church.
According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostate at Georgetown University, an estimated 50,000 marriage annulments were launched last year, with more than half from the United States.
In the 16th Century, the Catholic Church refused to grant King Henry VIII an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, which led to England's break with Rome and the creation of the Church of England. The monarch was the defender of the faith.