Pope Francis met with auditors, officials, lawyers and collaborators of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota. It is the Holy See's court of appeal and it studies, among other things, marriage annulments. The audience is to celebrate the beginning of the judicial year.
The Pope told the group that, according to Christian revelation, marriage is not a ceremony, social event or formality, but a gift from God.
Every true marriage, even non-sacramental marriages, are a gift from God to the spouses. Always marriage is a gift!
Pope Francis added that the faithfulness and fruitfulness specific to marriage are a reflection of God's own fidelity and fruitfulness.
Man and woman are called to accept this gift and to freely respond to it with mutual self-giving.
Every year, the Pope meets with the Tribunal of the Roman Rota. In previous years, he asked them to guarantee access to marriage annulments, so that no one would be denied it for economic reasons. But, he explained that, before reaching this point, the Rota should encourage forgiveness and reconciliation between couples.