A Tribunal 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 (cc. 369, 1419 Code of Canon Law, 1983). As the judicial arm of the bishop, the diocesan tribunal cooperates in his ministry of furthering the supreme law of the Church–the salvation of souls (c.1752).
The diocesan bishop appoints a judicial vicar to oversee the operation of the tribunal (c.1420). This individual must be a priest with a degree in canon law. Other qualified individuals, both cleric and lay, are appointed by the bishop to serve as judges, defenders of the bond, auditors and notaries in order to process petitions requesting a declaration of invalidity. The entire judicial process is specified in Book VII of the Code of Canon Law, as are the qualifications for various positions (cc1400-1707).
In this case our Tribunal has Bishop Sandre of Witbank Diocese as the moderator of the Tribunal. Our Tribunal therefore judges cases put under it or all the cases in the Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Johannesburg, comprising of Archdiocese of Johannesburg and the dioceses of Klerksdorp, Witbank and Manzini. This Interdiocesan Tribunal judges has jurisdiction over cases of nullity in its territory.
Church law safeguards the indissolubility of the sacrament of marriage. By law, a marriage is presumed valid until established otherwise by positive proof (c.1060). A declaration of invalidity is rendered when the marriage is determined to be invalid. While the process is judicial, it is the commitment of the tribunal personnel to demonstrate a pastoral attitude and regard for those who submit cases for adjudication.
While it is the duty of our Tribunal to help with marriages, it important that people needing assistance may first contact their parish priest for help in this regard or consult the Tribunal directly at:
Tribunal Contact Details:
Address: The Chancery, 186 Nugget Street, Berea, Johannesburg
Postal: Private Bag X10, Doornfontein 2028
Want to know more about Declaration of Nullity of Marriage? Nullity of Marriage is an overview regarding the process of the annulment of a marriage.