Office of the Tribunal


Marriage is “a gift” from the Lord (1 Cor 7:7), given for the mutual sanctification and salvation of spouses. When addressing married couples, Pope Francis once said that “Both are called to respond to God’s gift with commitment, creativity, perseverance and daily effort” (Amoris laetitia #78).

It occasionally happens that, for various reasons, couples are unable to sustain a common life, eventually ending in divorce. With divorce may arise family divisions, feelings of guilt, failure and uncertainty about the future. These experiences are not unusual and it is important to remember that neither party would have desired this outcome on the day of their wedding.

In her mission to spread the Good News and to assist people in leading lives of holiness, the Church rejoices over the success of many families, supports those that are currently hurting or experiencing difficulties and desires to walk with those who have experienced divorce. In her ministry to troubled marriages, the Church reaches out to bring reconciliation and mediation through the establishment of various support centers. In her ministry to the divorced, the Church reaches out through a variety of other means. Some of these include:

  • Pastors who assist though spiritual and emotional support;
  • Counselors who lend their professional talents toward the recovery of emotional and relational wounds experienced by  couples and their children;
  • Friends and family who, in the name of Christ, offer consolation and support.

The Marriage Tribunal is another essential dimension of the Church’s pastoral outreach. As a moral guide divinely established by Christ, the Church is given the responsibility to discern in particular circumstances whether all of the elements necessary for a valid marriage were present at the time of consent. The shepherds of the Church entrust the judgment about this to the Tribunal. Many people have found peace and healing through the marriage nullity process, both in reflecting upon the events that transpired and in finding moral clarity regarding their status in the Church.

The mission of this marriage tribunal is to provide pastoral service that:

  1. Renders and communicates the most just (truthful) decision regarding each persons status in the Church;
  2. Treats all parties with the upmost respect and care throughout the nullity process;
  3. Provides effective structures and communication to participants so that each party is able to utilize and engage this highly complex process to its fullest potential;
  4. Provides the entire process free of charge, thus making it available to everyone.

The information provided on this website is meant to help you better understand and engage the nullity process. Please feel free to contact us at any time with questions about the nullity process or to inquire about how we might assist you in any other way.



Very Rev. William Thompson, J.C.L.

Judicial Vicar 

55 W Sanborn Street | PO Box 588
Winona MN 55987
Phone number: 507-858-1262