The Tribunal participates in one of the Diocesan Bishop’s three powers, namely, his judicial power. The Bishop exercises this judicial power normally through a Judicial Vicar, Judges, and Defenders of the Bond, all of whom he appoints as officers of his Diocesan Tribunal. All officers of the Tribunal and others who hold positions connected with it, are bound to discharge their duties in conformity with the law of the Church (Canon law). As the Tribunal works to administer the judicial authority of the Bishop, it also cooperates in administrative and other endeavors of the Diocesan Curia.

One very important task of the Tribunal is to be a prudent and watchful guardian of the Sacrament of Matrimony when it is approached by those who petition for a Declaration of Invalidity of a marriage (annulment). Guided by the Code of Canon law and the proven jurisprudence of the Church, the Tribunal officers will do a thorough investigation of marriages which are believed to be invalid for various reasons. Only if sufficient proof is found that something essential was missing from the beginning can a marriage be declared invalid, which then allows a divorced person to enter a new marriage in the Catholic Church, or to return to the sacraments after having married civilly following a divorce. While not every failed marriage can be proven invalid according to Canon law, the officers of the Tribunal see their mission as doing all within their power to help Petitioners with their cases, to help them understand the canonical issues involved, and to give them some spiritual guidance. They are committed to their mission of contributing to the salvation of souls by their canonical work as well as their prayers.

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