The Ministry of the Tribunal

The Ministry of the Tribunal


The Marriage Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Baltimore is essentially a ministry of justice and reconciliation. Under the authority and guidance of the Archbishop, the Judicial Vicar, along with his staff and associates, guide a judicial (legal) process to answer a simple question: “Was this marriage a valid covenant before the Lord?”

The marriage enjoys the favor of the law. Concretely, this means that every valid or sacramental marriage is presumed to be a life-long, unbreakable covenant in the eyes of God and the Church. However, this presumption can be overturned by a tribunal’s examination of evidence and witness testimony.

This investigative process is not simply a legal one. For the Petitioner and Respondent, the honest examination of the breakdown in the marriage can also be a source of healing and reconciliation. The Church’s answer to the parties’ question of whether the marriage was a valid covenant before the Lord, can be a source of forgiveness and peace.


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