Persons, places and things: Tribunal can be place of healing


By Barb Arland-Fye


A childhood friend sent a letter with an unexpected request: would I serve as a witness in her petition to a marriage tribunal to have her former marriage declared null? I responded yes, and shortly afterwards received a letter from the Tribunal that included a lengthy questionnaire. Many of the questions dealt with childhood, what I remembered of my friend’s upbringing and the events leading up to her marriage to our mutual friend. I wondered whether my answers would be of any value since I was relying on memories from more than 30 years earlier. About a year later, I received a joyful letter from my childhood friend. The Tribunal had declared her first marriage invalid; she was now free to remarry.
Memories of this experience resurfaced earlier this month during my participation in Canon Law class with deacon candidates, their spouses and other classmates. Father Joe Wolf, judicial vicar for the Davenport Diocese and head of its Tribunal, taught the class. Assisting him during class were Tribunal Auditor Terri Doran and Tribunal Secretary Beth Blough.

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