Tribunal of the Catholic Church

The Sacrament of Marriage

The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between the baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament (Catholic Catechism, n. 1601)

The Church holds the exchange of consent between spouses to be the indispensable element that makes the marriage. If consent is lacking, there is no marriage (Catholic Catechism, n. 1626)

The Church acknowledges the reality of separation and divorce. The end of a marriage under such circumstances can be a traumatic experience for all concerned.

The Catholic Church reaches out in support of those experiencing this ordeal, while upholding the permanence of a true Christian marriage. These two aspects of the Churches position are evident in the work of the Tribunal of the Catholic Church.

Much of the work of the Tribunal centers on annulment applications and all questions in relation to this matter should be directed to the Tribunal. However, the Tribunal is also involved in a variety of other areas where advice is required on issues relating to Canon Law. The Tribunal does not offer counselling or marriage guidance.

The Tribunal in Parramatta is an office of the Regional Tribunal for NSW and the ACT, responsible for the presentation and assessment of all cases (marriage and otherwise) presented to it by people who reside within the Parramatta Diocese. It prepares formal nullity cases for the Regional Office, Documentary Process Cases and Administrative Cases to be decided locally or in Rome.

As well as answering some of the more common questions about annulments (see bottom of the page), this webpage also provides an overview of the other aspects of the Tribunals work and Canon Law-related news.

The work of the Tribunal of the Catholic Church The bishop has judicial powers within his diocese. He usually appoints a priest to manage this function for him. The delegated priest has the title of the Judicial Vicar. Apart from managing nullity of marriage cases, the local Tribunal gives advice on a range of issues dealing with the law of the Church. Some of these are:

  • Sacraments
  • Temporal Goods of the Church, especially finance and property
  • Statutes for diocesan and parochial organisations
  • Relationships between the Latin and Eastern Catholic Churches
  • Advice to the bishop, clergy and laity on general canonical matters

If you have any further questions regarding the work of the Tribunal of the Catholic Church, please contact us.