A chancellor is appointed by the diocesan bishop to gather, arrange, and safeguard the curial archive.  The chancellor also serves as an ecclesiastical notary and secretary of the curia.  Most canonical administrative matters are overseen by the chancellor, with the assistance of a vice-chancellor. 

The chancellor’s responsibilities include:

  • the composition and archiving of decrees;
  • processing of petitions for marriage dissolution in favor of the faith (i.e., Pauline Privilege, Petrine Privilege, non-consummated marriage);
  • verification of a person’s freedom to marry, especially for those who previously attempted marriage without regard to canonical form;
  • to serve as the diocesan bishop’s delegate for the granting of radical sanations of marriage;
  • forwarding of prenuptial documents for Catholics prepared for marriage in this diocese who wish to celebrate their wedding in a different diocese;
  • authentication of ecclesiastical documents.
Very Rev. James M. Clark, J.C.L., J.V.
Rev. Carlos Donato da Silva
Bishop’s Delegate for Sanations and Dispensations
Rev. Msgr. Peter P. Buchignani, P.A., J.C.L.
Ecclesiastical Notaries
Mrs. Nancy Hennessey
Miss Kimberly Kelsey
Mrs. Angela “Po” Canale
Mrs. Lysette Candia

Applications for Matrimonial Processes

There are different canonical processes conducted by the chancellor or the Tribunal to determine the status of those whose marriage has ended in divorce.  There are different applications for each of these canonical processes.

To determine which application to use, please click on the following link and answer a few questions to determine which application is the correct one for you.

Which application should I complete?


Lack of Form Petition

Pauline Privilege Petition

The application for a formal case can be found here.

Petición por Falta de la Forma Canonica

Petición por el Privilegio Paulino

Completing and Submitting an Application for Lack of Form or Pauline Privilege

Applications for lack of form or the Pauline Privilege can be printed and completed by hand.  Please write legibly.  You may also complete an application online, if you have the necessary software.

After completing an application for lack of form or the Pauline Privilege, take the printed application and any required documents to your parish or bring it to the Chancery.

Submitting the Application at Your Parish: If you bring your application and documents to your parish, a priest or deacon will witness your signature and sign the application.  Then the priest/deacon will mail the application to the Tribunal. 

Submitting the Application at the Chancery: You also have the option of bringing the application and documents directly to the Tribunal.  If you choose to submit the application and documents at the tribunal, a tribunal notary will witness your signature and sign the application.  Whenever possible, a tribunal advocate will meet right away with any applicant who delivers his/her application directly to the Tribunal.  This will help to expedite your case.

Please keep a photocopy of anything you bring or send to the Office of the Chancellor, since mail and documents can be lost.

Need Help?

If you need help with the application process, contact us at or call (901) 373-1200 and ask for the Tribunal.

Prenuptial Investigation

Whenever a couple seeks to contract marriage in the Catholic Church, a priest or deacon will meet with the parties individually to complete a Prenuptial Investigation.

Prenuptial Investigation

Investigación Prenuptial

Petition for Dispensations

If a dispensation or permission is needed before a wedding is celebrated, the following petition is to be completed and submitted to the Chancellor along with the Prenuptial Investigation form. The priest or deacon completes the following petition electronically or by hand and mails it to the Office of the Chancellor.  Completed and signed petitions can also be scanned and emailed to

Petition for Dispensations

Petición de Dispensas

Testimonial Letters

If a couple prepares for marriage in the Diocese of Memphis and intends to celebrate the wedding in a different diocese, the priest or deacon who prepared the couple for marriage must send the completed Prenuptial Investigation form and the required documents to the chancellor.  After ascertaining that everything is in order, everything will be forwarded to the chancellor of the diocese where the marriage will take place.  If everything is in order, the chancellor of that diocese will grant a nihil obstat and send all of the documentation to the parish where the wedding will take place.  Please complete the following form and send it to the Chancellor along with all required documents at least one month before the wedding.

Testimonial Letters

Cartas Testimoniales

Radical Sanation

A priest or deacon may petition the diocesan bishop for a “radical sanation” to validate a marriage that was attempted contrary to canon law.  The priest or deacon completes the following petition electronically or by hand and mails it to the Office of the Chancellor.  Completed and signed petitions can also be scanned and emailed to

Petition for a Radical Sanation

Petición por Sanación en la Raiz

Particular Law

The Diocese of Memphis is governed in accordance with the 1983 Code of Canon Law promulgated by St. John Paul II and particular law promulgated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Bishops of Memphis.

Financial Administration (Parishes)

Marriage Norms

Online Election Norms

Parish Finance Council Norms

Sacramental Norms


The Code of Canon Law recommends that books dealing with sacred scripture, theology, canon law, ecclesiastical history, and, especially, religious or moral disciplines should be submitted to the judgement of the local ordinary (c. 827 §3).  The Office of the Chancellor accepts requests from local authors who wish to obtain an Imprimatur from a local ordinary.

When a manuscript is electronically submitted to the Office of the Chancellor with a request for an Imprimatur, the manuscript is forwarded to a censor approved by the local ordinary.  Having received the opinion of the censor, the local ordinary will communicate with the author if there is anything in the text that would need to be changed to conform with Catholic doctrine regarding faith and morals.  If the censor and the local ordinary judge that the text is free from all doctrinal error, they will grant the Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.

The Nihil obstat and Imprimatur are declarations that a particular text is free from doctrinal or moral error; however, the grant of the Nihil obstat and Imprimatur does not imply that the censor and the local ordinary agree with the contents, statements, or opinions expressed in the book.

Authors who would like to obtain an Imprimatur for their books or pamphlets may email the Chancellor with an electronic copy of the manuscript attached.  If the local ordinary is competent to grant the Imprimatur, a check will be requested from the author to cover the censor’s fee and processing of the request.  The fee for most texts is $200.

Requests can be sent to

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