Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic Culture Resources

Catholic Dictionary




A group of clergy attached to a diocesan chancery for reviewing and passing judgment on marriage cases submitted for study and possible decision by the bishop. Besides others, or in duplicate roles, the court consists of a judge, or judges, advocate, secretary, notary, and defender of the bond of union of the married. It meets to consider disputed cases concerning marriage, in which one or both parties are Catholic, or a marriage which must be decided so that a non-Catholic may marry a Catholic. Cases of the "decree of nullity" are the most frequently sought. All decisions to be valid must have the approval of the bishop. An appeal over the matrimonial court's decision may always be made to Rome, or such decision may be sought without recourse to the diocesan court. The ordinary of the diocese has jurisdiction over a true Pauline case. Any Catholic through an advocate has the right to bring any case to any proper Roman congregation for appraisal or decision.