What is the Purpose of a Tribunal?

A tribunal, which is the official ecclesiastical court of the Catholic Church, is established in each diocese by the bishop to assist him in carrying out his responsibility as shepherd of the local Christian community which has been entrusted to him (1983 Code of Canon Law canons 369, 1419). As the judicial arm of the bishop, a diocesan tribunal cooperates in his ministry, namely, "the salvation of souls, which must always be the supreme law of the Church" (canon 1752).

All previously married individuals have a right to seek clarification of the status of a previous marriage. The trained personnel at the Diocese of Raleigh Tribunal are delegated to act on behalf of the Bishop of Raleigh. They seek justice, the protections of rights, and the clarification of obligations for all who approach the Tribunal.

Church law (properly called canon law) safeguards the indissolubility of the sacrament of marriage. By law, a marriage is presumed valid until proven otherwise by positive proof (canon 1060). A declaration of nullity is rendered when the marriage is determined to be invalid. The procedures utilized by the Tribunal are grounded in canon law, Sacred Scripture and the authentic teaching of the Church. While the process is judicial, it is the commitment of tribunal personnel to demonstrate a pastoral attitude and regard for those who submit cases for adjudication.

To experience the process involved in a declaration of nullity is to experience healing.