In fact. he eliminated a previously mandatory review of an annulment decision by a second diocesan tribunal and gave bishops sweeping powers to judge quickly the most clear-cut cases themselves. Bishops should aim to conclude simple cases in 45 days. Procedures have lasted for years in the past. Francis also said the procedures, which can cost thousands of dollars in legal fees, should be free. The reform was awaited by many couples around the world who have divorced and remarried outside the Church. The situation of divorced and remarried Catholics who want to fully participate in the Church is a topic of great debate. Only in the U.S. more than 23,000 marriage annulment procedures, nearly half of the world’s cases, were started in 2014.