Pope Francis’ Reform of marriage procedural law, implemented with the Motu Proprio Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus, streamlined the canonical declaration of nullity, particularly emphasizing the importance of the “preliminary inquiry” in preparation of the judicial stage (v. Art. 3, Procedural Norms, Mitis Iudex).
In this pre-trial stage, a role of central importance is assumed by the Pastoral Advocates (also called Tribunal Counselor), who are volunteers or staff members, operating at the Parish/Deanery level or within the Tribunals, with the task of preparing the libellus and marital narratives, identifying possible grounds of marriage nullity, and compiling proofs in the interest of the part they represent (either the Petitioner or the Respondent).
This five days Training is precisely oriented to provide Pastoral Advocates or potential ones with the theoretical and practical knowledge which will enable them to minister in this critical initial stage of the Process of Declaration of nullity. The Tribunals can benefit from the presence of suitably trained Pastoral Advocates who will facilitate the work of the Judges in discerning the truth about the specific marriage case.
The experience of the 2016 Training showed us that this Course is extremely beneficial also to all those who dedicate themselves to prepare couples about to marry: having a deeper understanding of the structure of marriage and of its "pathological" scenarios greatly helps those who minister in this field to be able to spot out the "warning signs" in the couples' relationship and to intervene for their benefit, prior to the celebration of marriage. After two very successful Training that instructed approximately 80 Advocates from 8 Dioceses across the United States, several Bishops and Tribunals are looking forward with great expectations toward this new Edition of March 2018.
That is why this Training is also highly recommended for parish priests, those who minister to married couples in any fashion and volunteers of Pre-Cana Ministry.