DEPARTMENT OF CANONICAL SERVICES
The mission of the Ministry of Canonical Services is to assist in the judicial dimension of the Diocese. The Diocesan Bishop exercises his judicial authority either directly or through others. It is customary that the Bishop exercise that judicial authority through the Office of Canonical Services and Marriage Tribunal. The duty of that ministry is to provide a forum for the Christian faithful to vindicate or defend their rights.
The office of Canonical Services promotes and protects the obligations, rights and privileges of constituents throughout the Diocese, advises the bishop on matters associated with the various aspects of Church law, provides assistance, research and consultation on all areas of Church Law for clergy and laity, processes and regulates permissions and dispensations relative to marriage, supervises the alienation and suppression of temporal goods of the Diocese, and represents the Diocese in matters of hierarchical recourse to the Holy See.
St. Raymond of Penafort
The Marriage Tribunal, as an ecclesiastical court, adjudicates ordinary contentious trials, including marriage invalidity cases and documentary cases associated with marriage law in conjunction with the promoter of justices and the defender of the Bond. The Judicial Vicar reports directly to the Bishop on matters concerning canonical trials, supervises the canonical staff, and works directly with the Tribunal Director for the administration of personnel, budget and administrative matters.
The Judicial Vicar (Officialis), as the chief judge of the Tribunal, is assisted by the Adjutant Judicial Vicar (Vice-Officialis). The Tribunal Director, other judges, assessors, auditors, advocates and notaries assist in processing the investigation of invalidity cases and the judicial services of the Tribunal. Although the Bishop can reserve certain cases to himself the decisions of the Judicial Vicar cannot be appealed by the Bishop but must instead be appealed to the Appellate Court.