The Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of St. Louis is a court of the Catholic Church responsible for all matters concerning the application and practice of canon law within the Archdiocese of St. Louis. The Vatican website gives a thorough explanation of the role of Canon Law in the Church:
Since the Church is organized as a social and visible structure, it must also have norms: in order that its hierarchical and organic structure be visible; in order that the exercise of the functions divinely entrusted to it, especially that of sacred power and of the administration of the sacraments, may be adequately organized; in order that the mutual relations of the faithful may be regulated according to justice based upon charity, with the rights of individuals guaranteed and well-defined; in order, finally, that common initiatives undertaken to live a Christian life ever more perfectly may be sustained, strengthened and fostered by canonical norms.
Our Pastoral Goal
The Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of St. Louis is a court of the Catholic Church charged with the responsibility of seeking and administering justice. With regard to marriage cases, our task is to assist people in arriving at a determination of the truth concerning the binding nature of their marital bond.
The pursuit and acceptance of the truth about one's life can surely facilitate the healing process. Yet, we believe that this is only one aspect within a broad spectrum of processes that accompany a person in his/her recovery from marital breakdown and return to wholeness.
The Tribunal's responsibility to those suffering the pain of marital breakdown is primarily canonical. Therefore, we encourage men and women who have suffered marital breakdown to establish and develop a professional relationship with a priest or pastoral minister. In that additional forum, a person can benefit more directly from pastoral assistance along the path of reconciliation and be provided appropriate pastoral counsel.