Our Church is two millennia old, and we have our own laws that are ancient, and that predate any secular law and indeed any secular government. It is important to let that sink in. And let there be no mistake that a tribunal is a court, and that the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Atlanta is the court that will decide on one’s annulments. We need to respect that, but also keep in mind the people who work in our Tribunal are faithful Catholics who take seriously their faith. They are not bad people … they are good people doing a job most of us would not want to do. We need to respect them as well. It is important to keep all of this in mind when approaching our work with them, to show them deference and kindness (and never contempt). Believe it or not some years past the Metropolitan Tribunal of Atlanta was recognized as the busiest tribunal in the world. Suffice it to say these folks are busy, over worked and they have countless cases before them on any given day, so we need to be as well organized as possible to help facilitate their work.

On the Tribunal there will be someone who will work as an advocate to help us procure the annulment (if possible) but there will also be those whose job it is to defend the bond and to argue that we should not get the annulment. Designated judges make the final call. We should never think of the Tribunal as some funny Catholic thing added onto the process of divorce, because again, our Catholic legal system is older than our government’s legal system by many, many centuries, and as baptized Catholics we arebound to the international law of the Church. Frankly our secular government and its legal system are a huge part of the problem when it comes to upholding the sanctity and the understanding of marriage, so again, let us look at the Tribunal as a group of folks whose job it is to uphold marriage in our troubled times, and we should be grateful to them for this thankless task. I would encourage any and all who want to know more about the process to do the following things:

Again, obviously we need to meet. If the questions on the forms are confusing and you aren’t sure how to answer them, answer them lightly in pencil and then we can clarify their meaning at our meeting. Once you’ve had a chance to review the material online, and once you’ve made some progress on filling out the proper form(s) and pulling together some resources, then meet with the pastor to begin this process in earnest. In the meanwhile, know that we are here to help you if you need us. We are looking forward to meeting with you.