Roman Rota

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The Roman Rota, formally the Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman Rota (Latin : Tribunal Apostolicum Rotae Romanae), and anciently the Apostolic Court of Audience, is the highest appellate tribunal of the Catholic Church, with respect to both Latin-rite members [1] and the Eastern-rite members [2] and is, with respect to judicial trials conducted in the Catholic Church, the highest ecclesiastical court constituted by the Holy See. [3] An appeal may be had to the pope himself, who is the supreme ecclesiastical judge. [4] The Catholic Church has a complete legal system, which is the oldest in the West still in use. The court is named Rota (wheel) because the judges, called auditors , originally met in a round room to hear cases. [5] The Rota was established in the 13th century.

An appellate court, commonly called an appeals court, court of appeals, appeal court, court of second instance or second instance court, is any court of law that is empowered to hear an appeal of a trial court or other lower tribunal. In most jurisdictions, the court system is divided into at least three levels: the trial court, which initially hears cases and reviews evidence and testimony to determine the facts of the case; at least one intermediate appellate court; and a supreme court which primarily reviews the decisions of the intermediate courts. A jurisdiction's supreme court is that jurisdiction's highest appellate court. Appellate courts nationwide can operate under varying rules.

Catholic Church Largest Christian church, led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Eastern Catholic Churches Autonomous, self-governing particular Churches in full communion with the Pope

The Eastern Catholic Churches or Oriental Catholic Churches, also called the Eastern-rite Catholic Churches, and in some historical cases Uniate Churches, are twenty-three Eastern Christian particular churches sui iuris in full communion with the Pope in Rome, as part of the worldwide Catholic Church. Headed by patriarchs, metropolitans, and major archbishops, the Eastern Catholic Churches are governed in accordance with the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, although each church also has its own canons and laws on top of this, and the preservation of their own traditions is explicitly encouraged. The total membership of the various churches accounts for about 18 million, according to the Annuario Pontificio, thus making up about 1.5 percent of the Catholic Church, with the rest of its more than 1.3 billion members belonging to the Latin Church, also known as the Western Church or the Roman Catholic Church.

Constitution

The pope appoints the auditors of the Rota and designates one of them the dean. [6] On Saturday, September 22, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation as dean, for reasons of age, of Bishop Antoni Stankiewicz, and appointed in his place Msgr. Pio Vito Pinto, until then serving as a prelate auditor of the Court of First Instance. [7] The Rota issues its decrees and sentences in Latin. [8] The Rota adjudicates cases in a panel (called a turnus) of three auditors, or more, depending on the complexity of the matter, assigned by the dean of the tribunal, though sometimes a larger number of auditors are assigned to a particular case. [9] The auditors of the Rota are selected from among recognized ecclesiastical judges serving various dioceses around the world.

Pope leader of the Catholic Church

The pope, also known as the supreme pontiff, is the bishop of Rome and ex officio leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. Since 1929, the pope has also been head of state of Vatican City, a city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. The current pope is Francis, who was elected on 13 March 2013, succeeding Benedict XVI.

The Dean of the Roman Rota is the senior auditor of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, the last instance appellate tribunal of the Roman Catholic Church. Since 12 December 2016, the pro-dean is Maurice Monier. As of 2017, however, Pio Vito Pinto is still the official Dean.

Pope Benedict XVI 265th pope of the Catholic Church

Pope Benedict XVI is a retired prelate of the Catholic Church who served as head of the Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 2005 until his resignation in 2013. Benedict's election as pope occurred in the 2005 papal conclave that followed the death of Pope John Paul II. Benedict chose to be known by the title "pope emeritus" upon his resignation.

History

The Rota's official records begin in 1171. [10] Until the Risorgimento and the loss of the Papal States in 1870, the Rota was a civil tribunal and its judgements had the status of law in the Papal States. [11]

Papal States Territories mostly in the Appenine Peninsula under the sovereign direct rule of the pope between 752–1870

The Papal States, officially the State of the Church, were a series of territories in the Italian Peninsula under the direct sovereign rule of the Pope, from the 8th century until 1870. They were among the major states of Italy from roughly the 8th century until the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia successfully unified the Italian Peninsula by conquest in a campaign virtually concluded in 1861 and definitively in 1870. At their zenith, the Papal States covered most of the modern Italian regions of Lazio, Marche, Umbria and Romagna, and portions of Emilia. These holdings were considered to be a manifestation of the temporal power of the pope, as opposed to his ecclesiastical primacy.

Name

Until the 14th century the court was formally known as the Apostolic Court of Audience. The first recorded use of the term Rota, which referred to the wheel-shaped arrangement of the benches used by the court in the great hall at Avignon, is in Thomas Fastolf's Decisiones rotae, consisting of reports on thirty-six cases heard at the Court of Audience in Avignon between December 1336 and February 1337. [12] Its first usage in a papal bull is in 1418. [13] It is also possible that the term Rota comes from the porphyry wheel that was centered in the marble floor of Avignon, or even from the wheel-like cases in which parchment roll records were kept. [14]

Avignon Prefecture and commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Avignon is a commune in south-eastern France in the department of Vaucluse on the left bank of the Rhône river. Of the 90,194 inhabitants of the city, about 12,000 live in the ancient town centre enclosed by its medieval ramparts.

Thomas Fastolf, sometimes spelt Fastolfe, was an English canon lawyer and Bishop of St David's from 1352 until his death.

Papal bull type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church

A papal bull is a type of public decree, letters patent, or charter issued by a pope of the Roman Catholic Church. It is named after the leaden seal (bulla) that was traditionally appended to the end in order to authenticate it.

Operations

The Roman Rota is named after the round room in which it originally met. Roman Rota.jpg
The Roman Rota is named after the round room in which it originally met.

The Rota's main function is that of an appellate tribunal, ordinarily reviewing decisions of lower courts if the initial court (first instance) and the first appellate court (second instance) do not agree on the outcome of a case; [15] however, any party to an initial decision before a court of the Latin Church (and also some Eastern Churches) has the right to file a second-instance appeal directly to the Rota. [16] Dominating its caseload are petitions seeking the issuance of a decree of nullity of a marriage, although it has jurisdiction to hear any other type of judicial and non-administrative case in any area of canon law. The Rota serves as a tribunal of first instance (in Anglo-American common law what would be termed exclusive original jurisdiction) in certain cases such as any contentious case in which a Bishop of the Latin Church is a defendant. [17] If the case can still be appealed after a Rotal decision, the appeal goes to a different turnus, or panel, of the Rota.[ citation needed ]

Annulment is a legal procedure within secular and religious legal systems for declaring a marriage null and void. Unlike divorce, it is usually retroactive, meaning that an annulled marriage is considered to be invalid from the beginning almost as if it had never taken place. In legal terminology, an annulment makes a void marriage or a voidable marriage null.

The original jurisdiction of a court is the power to hear a case for the first time, as opposed to appellate jurisdiction, when a higher court has the power to review a lower court's decision. Original jurisdiction refers to the right of the Supreme court to hear a case for the first time. It has the exclusive right to hear all cases that deal with disputes between states, or between states and the union government. It also has original jurisdiction over cases brought to the court by ordinary people regarding issues to the importance of society at large.

The Rota is the highest appeals court for all judicial trials in the Catholic Church. A judgment of the Rota can, however with the greatest difficulty, be vacated by the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, which is the highest administrative court in the Catholic Church. [18] However, the legal procedure or process used by the judges of the Rota, not the merits of the case, are on trial before the Signatura: the Signatura is only able to grant the petitioner a new trial to be held before a new turnus of the Rota, if the Rota was found to have erred in procedure ("de procedendo").[ citation needed ]

The Roman Rota proceedings are governed by a specific set of rules, the "Normae Romanae Rotae Tribunalis", promulgated in 1994 by Pope John Paul II. [19] Only advocates who are registered in a specific list are allowed to represent the parties before the Tribunal. [20]

Since Pope Benedict XVI issued the motu proprio Quaerit semper the Rota has had exclusive competence to dispense from marriages ratum sed non consummatum . [21]

Styles

In recognition of the Tribunal's almost 800 years of history and signal reputation,[ neutrality is disputed ] the Prelate Auditors, by exception to numerous norms promulgated by both Popes Paul VI and John Paul II, are to be addressed as "Most Illustrious and Most Reverend" ("Illustrissimus ac Reverendissimus").[ citation needed ] The dean of the Rota, even if not already consecrated a bishop, is to be addressed as "Your Excellency" ("Excellentia Tua").[ citation needed ] All Prelate Auditor Judges of the Rota are styled, "Most Reverend Monsignor."[ citation needed ]

Auditors

The active auditors of the Rota, with their dates of appointment by the pope, are:

Officers

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References

  1. Codex Iuris Canonici [CIC] canons 1443, 1444.
  2. Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium [CCEO] canon 1065.
  3. See John Paul II, ap. con. Pastor Bonus art. 121, 80 Acta Apostolicae Sedis 841 (1988) (noting that the Apostolic Signatura is the supreme tribunal).
  4. 1983 CIC, can. 1442
  5. Edward Peters, Canon LawCanonisticsRota Background, http://www.canonlaw.info/personal_rotademo.htm (updated 21 October 2006).
  6. Pastor Bonus art. 127.
  7. "Vatican Appeals Court: Mgr Pio Vito Pinto President". 13 December 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  8. Pastor Bonus art. 16 (Latin is the official language of the Roman Curia).
  9. Canon L. Socy. Gr. Brit. & Ir., The Canon Law Letter and Spirit: A Practical Guide to the Code of Canon Law ¶ 2907, at 837 (Gerard Sheehy et al. eds., Liturgical Press 1995).
  10. Anne O'Hare McCormick, Vatican Journal: 1921-1954 (New York: Farrar, Strause and Cudahy, 1957) pg. 43
  11. Anne O'Hare McCormick, Vatican Journal: 1921-1954 (New York: Farrar, Strause and Cudahy, 1957) pg. 39
  12. John Hamilton Baker, Monuments of endlesse labours: English canonists and their work (1998), p. 22
  13. Anne O'Hare McCormick, Vatican Journal: 1921-1954 (New York: Farrar, Strause and Cudahy, 1957) pg. 43
  14. Anne O'Hare McCormick, Vatican Journal: 1921-1954 (New York: Farrar, Strause and Cudahy, 1957) pp. 37-38
  15. Pastor Bonus art. 128 § 2.
  16. Pastor bonus art. 128 § 1.
  17. SeePastor Bonus art. 129 § 1.
  18. SeePastor bonus art. 122 (noting that the Apostolic Signatura, from Rotal sentences, hears plaints of nullity, petitions for total reinstatement, and petitions for new examination of status-of-persons cases and also hears misconduct proceedings against Rotal auditors).
  19. (Acta Apostolicae Sedis June 6, 1994)
  20. art 47, Normae Rotalis
  21. Quaerit semper, Vatican.va, accessed 7-7-2014
  22. Zarchin, Tomer (3 June 2011). "Israeli Jew turned Catholic priest named head of papal court". Haaretz. Retrieved 5 June 2011. Note that the headline errs in stating that Jaeger was appointed "head" of the court; the body of the article does not make this mistake.
  23. "Fr Konštane Adam Appointed Judge of the Roman Rota". 31 March 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  24. "In latest appointments, Pope names new members of Roman Rota". Catholic News Agency. 20 July 2017. Retrieved 22 July 2017.