The Roman Rota is one of three courts within the Holy See and is akin to a court of appeals or court of “last instance.” It is also where marriage nullity cases are judged.

Quoting from his 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium, Pope Francis underlined that marriage “is a reality with its own precise essence, not ‘a mere form of affective gratification that can be constituted in any way and modified according to each person's sensitivity.’”

One may ask, he said, how it is possible for men and women, with all the limitations and fragility of human beings, to commit to “a union that is faithful and forever and from which a new family is born?”

Confronted with this question, and with the crises facing many families today, the Church needs to renew awareness in the gift of grace received through a sacramental marriage, he said.

The gift received in the sacrament of matrimony, he said, is “an irrevocable gift, a source of grace which we can always count on.”

Pope Francis also emphasized, quoting the constitution Gaudium et spes, that “God himself is the author of marriage.”

“And this can be understood to refer to every single conjugal union,” he added.

The pope told the tribunal that the Church needs “to rediscover the permanent reality of marriage as a bond.”

The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is a lifelong partnership. When a Church tribunal issues a declaration of nullity of a marriage, it means that the marriage never existed.