The Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura is the highest judicial authority in the Catholic Church. In addition, it oversees the administration of justice in the Church; the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura is Cardinal Dominique Mamberti, who had replaced Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke. The Secretary is Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca; the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura is housed in the Italian Renaissance-era Palazzo della Cancelleria in Rome, the headquarters and meeting place of the Roman Catholic Church's other two Tribunals. The Apostolic Signatura only hears appeals from these two tribunals if some process was in error or there is an inter-agency conflict, not in regard to the judgment, made or the merits of the case; the two other Tribunals located there are the Sacred Roman Rota, the Apostolic Penitentiary. The Roman Rota is the ordinary appellate tribunal of the Apostolic See; the Signatura's competence covers: complaints of nullity and petitions for total reinstatement against sentences of the Roman Rota.
Apart from these judicial matters, the Signatura has competence as an administrative tribunal to deal with controversies over administrative decisions made by or approved by departments of the Roman Curia if it is contended that the decision violated some law, either in the decision-making process or in the procedure used. It can deal with administrative controversies referred to it by the Pope or those departments, with conflicts of competence between the departments. A third field of competence for the Signatura is that of overseeing all the tribunals of the Catholic Church, with power to extend the jurisdiction of tribunals, to grant dispensations from procedural laws, to establish interdiocesan tribunals, to discipline canonical advocates; the Cardinal Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura serves ex officio as the President of the Supreme Court of Vatican City. The two other members of the Supreme Court are Cardinals of the Apostolic Signatura and are chosen by the Cardinal Prefect on a yearly basis.
In the thirteenth century the Popes made use of "referendarii" to investigate and prepare the signing - hence the name signatura - of petitions and other cases presented to the Holy See. Pope Eugene IV entrusted these referendaries with authority to sign certain petitions and thereby established a permanent office for this purpose. Under Popes Alexander VI, Sixtus IV and Julius II this office was divided into two, the Signatura gratiae for examining petitions for favours, the Signatura iustitiae for contentious cases; the honourable office of referendary came to be conferred as a honorary title, but Pope Sixtus V put a limit on their number, Pope Alexander VII combined the limited number of voting referendaries into a college, assisted by the simple referendaries, who had only a consultative position. The Signatura gratiae lost its functions to other bodies, the growth of the work of the Roman Rota, the foundation of the Congregations of Cardinals resulted in the Signatura iustitiae becoming a Supreme Court of the Papal States.
On 29 June 1908, Pope Pius X reestablished a single Apostolic Signatura consisting of six cardinals, one of whom acted as its prefect. On 28 June 1915, Pope Benedict XV reconstituted the college of the voting referendaries and simple referendaries with consultative functions and the 1917 Code of Canon Law removed the limitation of the number of cardinals members of this Supreme Tribunal; the present competence of the Apostolic Signatura is that laid down in the apostolic constitution Pastor Bonus of 28 June 1988. Vincenzo Vannutelli Michele Lega Augusto Silj Francesco Ragonesi Bonaventura Cerretti Enrico Gasparri Massimo Massimi Giuseppe Bruno Gaetano Cicognani Francesco Roberti Dino Staffa Pericle Felici Aurelio Sabattani Achille Silvestrini Gilberto Agustoni Zenon Grocholewski Mario Francesco Pompedda Agostino Vallini Raymond Leo Burke Dominique Mamberti The members of the Apostolic Signatura are:Cardinals Dominique Mamberti, Prefect Agostino Vallini, Prefect Emeritus Raymond Leo Burke, Prefect Emeritus Béchara Boutros Raï Antonio Maria Rouco Varela Zenon Grocholewski Attilio Nicor
Pastor bonus is an apostolic constitution promulgated by Pope John Paul II on 28 June 1988. It instituted a number of reforms in the process of running the central government of the Roman Catholic Church, as article 1 states "The Roman Curia is the complex of dicasteries and institutes which help the Roman Pontiff in the exercise of his supreme pastoral office for the good and service of the whole Church and of the particular Churches, it thus strengthens the unity of the faith and the communion of the people of God and promotes the mission proper to the Church in the world". Pastor bonus laid out in considerable detail the organization of the Roman Curia, specifying the names and composition of each dicastery, enumerating which competencies, or responsibilities, each dicastery was charged with overseeing, it replaced the previous governing document, Regimini Ecclesiæ universæ, released by Paul VI in 1967. It delineated the roles of the Secretariat of State, Tribunals, Pontifical Councils, Administrative Services and Pontifical Commissions of the Roman Curia.
It established the norms for the ad limina visits of bishops to Rome and the relationship between the Holy See and the particular Churches and episcopal conferences. Among the changes formulated in the constitution was the re-integration of the Council for Public Affairs of the Church into the Secretariat of State as the Section for Relations with States; the Council for Public Affairs of the Church had been a section of the Secretariat of State, but was made an independent dicastery by Pope Paul VI in 1967. The constitution opened membership in dicasteries to priests, deacons and lay persons. For centuries, only cardinals were eligible for membership in the organs of the Holy See, but Pope Paul VI allowed diocesan bishops to be members following calls for collegiality at the Second Vatican Council. Pastor bonus continued the opening of the central government of the church by allowing representatives of all the faithful to have a role in the Roman Curia; as of March 2016, Pastor bonus has been amended by Quaerit semper in 2011, Ministrorum institutio and Fides per doctrinam in 2013, Confermando una tradizione in 2014.
In the Apostolic Letter Ministrorum institutio of 16 January 2013, Pope Benedict XVI transferred the governance of seminaries from the Congregation for Catholic Education to the Congregation for the Clergy. On the same day the Apostolic Letter Fides per doctrinam transferred the competence of catechesis from the Congregation for Clergy to the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization. In October 2013, Pope Francis and his Council of Cardinals were reviewing Pastor bonus for possible further revisions. On 24 February 2014, Francis issued the Apostolic Letter Fidelis dispensator et prudens establishing the Council for the Economy to oversee the administrative and financial structures and activities of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, the institutions linked to the Holy See, the Vatican City State, it established the Secretariat for the Economy as a dicastery of the Roman Curia. Original text Full text, translated to English by Francis C. C. F. Kelly, James H. Provost, Michel Thériault and revised by Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Secretariat of State, authorized by the Secretariat of State.
Wooden, Cindy. "Changing needs, changing names: Reform of Curia is Vatican tradition", Catholic New Service, 13 July 2014 at the Library of Congress Web Archives
Index Librorum Prohibitorum
The Index librorum prohibitorum was a list of publications deemed heretical, or contrary to morality by the Sacred Congregation of the Index and thus Catholics were forbidden to read them without permission. There were scattered attempts to censor individual books before the sixteenth century, notably the ninth-century Decretum Glasianum, but none of these were either official or widespread. Much a first version was promulgated by Pope Paul IV in 1559, which Paul F. Grendler believed marked "the turning-point for the freedom of enquiry in the Catholic world", which lasted less than a year, being replaced by what was called the Tridentine Index, which relaxed aspects of the Pauline Index, criticized and had prevented its acceptance; the 20th and final edition appeared in 1948, the Index was formally abolished on 14 June 1966 by Pope Paul VI. The aim of the list was to protect the faith and morals of the faithful by preventing the reading of theologically and politically disruptive books. Books thought to contain such errors included works by astronomers such as Johannes Kepler's Epitome astronomiae Copernicanae, on the Index from 1621 to 1835, by philosophers, like Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason.
The various editions of the Index contained the rules of the Church relating to the reading and pre-emptive censorship of books—editions and translations of the Bible that had not been approved by the Church could be banned. Latin Church canon law still recommends that works concerning sacred Scripture, canon law, church history, any writings which specially concern religion or morals, be submitted to the judgment of the local ordinary; the local ordinary consults someone whom he considers competent to give a judgment and, if that person gives the nihil obstat the local ordinary grants the imprimatur. Members of religious institutes require the imprimi potest of their major superior to publish books on matters of religion or morals; some of the scientific theories in works that were on early editions of the Index have long been taught at Catholic universities worldwide. The burning at the stake of Giordano Bruno, whose entire works were placed on the Index in 1603, was because of teaching the heresy of pantheism, not for heliocentrism or other scientific views.
Antonio Rosmini-Serbati, one of whose works was on the Index, was beatified in 2007. Some have argued that the developments since the abolition of the Index signify "the loss of relevance of the Index in the 21st century."A complete list of the authors and writings present in the successive editions of the Index is given in J. Martínez de Bujanda, Index Librorum Prohibitorum, 1600–1966. A list of the books that were on the Index can be found on the World Wide Web; the historical context in which the Index appeared involved the early restrictions on printing in Europe. The refinement of moveable type and the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg around 1440 changed the nature of book publishing, the mechanism by which information could be disseminated to the public. Books, once rare and kept in a small number of libraries, could be mass-produced and disseminated. In the 16th century, both the churches and governments in most European countries attempted to regulate and control printing because it allowed for rapid and widespread circulation of ideas and information.
The Protestant Reformation generated large quantities of polemical new writing by and within both the Catholic and Protestant camps, religious subject-matter was the area most subject to control. While governments and church encouraged printing in many ways, which allowed the dissemination of Bibles and government information, works of dissent and criticism could circulate rapidly; as a consequence, governments established controls over printers across Europe, requiring them to have official licenses to trade and produce books. The early versions of the Index began to appear from 1529 to 1571. In the same time frame, in 1557 the English Crown aimed to stem the flow of dissent by chartering the Stationers' Company; the right to print was restricted to two universities and to the 21 existing printers in the city of London, which had between them 53 printing presses. The French crown tightly controlled printing, the printer and writer Etienne Dolet was burned at the stake for atheism in 1546; the 1551 Edict of Châteaubriant comprehensively summarized censorship positions to date, included provisions for unpacking and inspecting all books brought into France.
The 1557 Edict of Compiègne applied the death penalty to heretics and resulted in the burning of a noblewoman at the stake. Printers were viewed as radical and rebellious, with 800 authors and book dealers being incarcerated in the Bastille. At times, the prohibitions of church and state followed each other, e.g. René Descartes was placed on the Index in the 1660s and the French government prohibited the teaching of Cartesianism in schools in the 1670s; the Copyright Act 1710 in Britain, copyright laws in France, eased this situation. However, historian Eckhard Höffner claims that copyright laws and their restrictions acted as a barrier to progress in those countries for over a century, since British publishers c
Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in Rome is the congregation of the Roman Curia responsible for missionary work and related activities. It is better known by its former title, the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, or the Propaganda Fide. In principle it is responsible for pre-diocesan missionary jurisdictions: Mission sui iuris, Apostolic prefecture Apostolic vicariate; however many former missionary jurisdictions -mainly in the Third World- remain, after promotion to diocese of Archdiocese, under the Propaganda Fide instead of the competent Congregation for the Bishops, notably in countries/regions where the Catholic church is too poor/ small to aspire self-sufficiency and/or local authorities hostile to Catholic/Christian/any faith. It was founded by Pope Gregory XV in 1622 to arrange missionary work on behalf of the various religious institutions, in 1627 Pope Urban VIII established within it a training college for missionaries, the Pontificio Collegio Urbano de Propaganda Fide.
When Pope Paul VI reorganized and adjusted the tasks of the Roman Curia with the publication of Regimini Ecclesiae Universae on August 15, 1967, the name of the congregation was changed to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. The early Congregation was established in the Palazzo Ferratini, donated by Juan Bautista Vives, to the south of the Piazza di Spagna. Two of the foremost artistic figures of Baroque Rome were involved in the development of the architectural complex; the current Prefect of the Congregation is Cardinal Fernando Filoni. The current Secretary is Archbishop Protase Rugambwa; the current Secretary is Archbishop Giampietro Del Toso The Under-Secretary is Father Ryszard Szmydki, O. M. I; the Archivist of the Archives of the Congregation is Monsignor Luis Manuel Cuña Ramos. Monsignors Lorenzo Piva and Camillus Nimalan Johnpillai assist as Office Heads of the Congregation. Founded in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV's bull Inscrutabili Divinae, the body was charged with fostering the spread of Catholicism and with the regulation of Catholic ecclesiastical affairs in non-Catholic countries.
The intrinsic importance of its duties and the extraordinary extent of its authority and of the territory under its jurisdiction caused the Cardinal Prefect of Propaganda to be known as the "red pope". At the time of its inception, the expansion of colonial administrations was coming to be in Dutch and English hands, both Protestant countries intent on spreading these religious doctrines, Rome perceived the real threat of Protestantism spreading in the wake of commercial empire. By 1648, with the end of the Thirty Years' War, the official religious balance of established Christianity in Europe was permanently stabilized, but new fields for evangelization were offered by vast regions of Asia and the Americas being explored. There had been a less formally instituted cardinal committee concerned with propaganda fide since the time of Pope Gregory XIII, which were charged with promoting the union with Rome of the long-established eastern Christian communities: Slavs, Syrians and Abyssinians; this was the traditional direction for the Catholic Church to look for evangelizing.
Catechisms were printed in many seminarians sent to places as far as Malabar. The most concrete result was the union with Rome of the Ruthenian Catholic communion, most concentrated in modern-day Ukraine and Belarus; the death of Gregory XV the following year did not interrupt the organization, because Cardinal Barberini, one of the original thirteen members of the congregation, became the next pope as Urban VIII. Under Urban VIII, a central seminary was set up for training missionaries; the Congregation operated the polyglot printing press in Rome, printing catechisms in many languages. Their procurators were active in China from 1705, moving between Macau and Canton before settling in Hong Kong in 1842. In Protestant areas, the operations of the Congregation were considered subversive: the first missionary to be killed was in Grisons, Switzerland, in April 1622, before the papal bull authorizing its creation had been disseminated. In Ireland after Catholic emancipation while the established church was still the Protestant Church of Ireland, the Irish Catholic church came under the control of the Congregation in 1833, soon reformed itself with a devotional revolution under Cardinal Cullen.
The Holy See removed the United States from the jurisdiction of Propaganda Fide as mission territory in 1908, along with England, the Netherlands and Canada. These "Cardinals in General Congregation" met weekly, keeping their records in Latin until 1657 in Italian; the minutes are available in microfilm at large libraries. In the course of their work, the Propaganda fide missionaries accumulated the objects now in the Vatican Museum's Ethnological Missionary Museum. Since 1989 the incumbent Prefect is President of the Interdicasterial Commission for Consecrated Religious. In 2014 Sr. Luzia Premoli, superior general of the Combonian Missionary Sisters, was appointed a member of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, thus becoming the first woman to be appointed
Acta Apostolicae Sedis
Acta Apostolicae Sedis cited as AAS, is the official gazette of the Holy See, appearing about twelve times a year. It was established by Pope Pius X on 29 September 1908 with the decree Promulgandi Pontificias Constitutiones, publication began in January 1909, it contains all the principal decrees, encyclical letters, decisions of Roman congregations, notices of ecclesiastical appointments. The laws contained in it are to be considered promulgated when published, effective three months from date of issue, unless a shorter or longer time is specified in the law, it replaced a similar publication that had existed since 1865, under the title of Acta Sanctae Sedis. Though not designated as the official means of promulgating laws of the Holy See, this was on 23 May 1904 declared an organ of the Holy See to the extent that all documents printed in it were considered "authentic and official"; as indicated above, the Acta Sanctae Sedis ceased publication four years later. Acta Apostolicae Sedis is published in Latin.
Since 1929, Acta Apostolicae Sedis carries a supplement in Italian, called Supplemento per le leggi e disposizioni dello Stato della Città del Vaticano, containing laws and regulations of Vatican City, the city-state founded in that year. In accordance with paragraph 2 of the Legge sulle fonti del diritto of 7 June 1929, the laws of the state are promulgated by being included in this supplement. Index of Vatican City-related articles Beal, John P. James A. Coriden, Thomas J. Green. New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law: Commissioned by the Canon Law Society of America. Acta Apostolicae Sedis
Holy See Press Office
The Holy See Press Office publishes the official news of the activities of the Pope and of the various departments of the Roman Curia. All speeches, documents, as well as the statements issued by the Director, are published in their entirety; the press office operates every day in Italian, although texts in other languages are available. Since August 1st 2016 the Director of the Holy See Press Office and Pope's Spokesman is the American journalist Greg Burke; the former head of the press office, with the title director, is Father Federico Lombardi, a Jesuit, while the director before Lombardi was the Spanish layman and medical doctor Joaquín Navarro-Valls. On Saturday, June 27, 2015, Pope Francis, through an apostolic letter done motu proprio established the Secretariat for Communications in the Roman Curia. On December 21, 2015, Pope Francis appointed Dr. Greg Burke the Communications Advisor for the Section for General Affairs of the Vatican's Secretariat of State of the Holy See, as Deputy Director of the Press Office.
Following Burke's appointment as director in 2016, Spanish journalist Paloma García Ovejero took over as vice director, making her the first woman to hold that position. It was announced that both Burke and García Ovejero, both laymen, would begin their positions on 1 August, 2016. On 31 December 2018, both García Ovejero announced their resignations. Vatican - Accreditation of journalists and Media operators Vatican - Daily Bulletin Holy See Index of Vatican City-related articles Official site
The Roman Rota, formally the Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman Rota, anciently the Apostolic Court of Audience, is the highest appellate tribunal of the Catholic Church, with respect to both Latin-rite members and the Eastern-rite members and is, with respect to judicial trials conducted in the Catholic Church, the highest ecclesiastical court constituted by the Holy See. An appeal may be had to the Pope himself, the supreme ecclesiastical judge; the Catholic Church has a complete legal system, the oldest in the West still in use. The court is named Rota because the judges, called auditors met in a round room to hear cases; the Rota was established in the 13th century. The Pope designates one of them the dean. On Saturday, September 22, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation as Dean, for reasons of age, of Bishop Antoni Stankiewicz, appointed in his place Msgr. Pio Vito Pinto, until serving as a prelate Auditor of the Court of first instance; the Rota issues its sentences in Latin. The Rota adjudicates cases in a panel 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.
The auditors of the Rota are selected from among recognized ecclesiastical judges serving various dioceses around the world. The Rota's official records begin in 1171; 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. 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. Its first usage in a papal bull is in 1418, it is possible that the term Rota comes from the porphyry wheel, centered in the marble floor of Avignon, or from the wheel-like cases in which parchment roll records were kept. The Rota's main function is that of an appellate tribunal, ordinarily reviewing decisions of lower courts if the initial court and the first appellate court do not agree on the outcome of a case.
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 certain cases such as any contentious case in which a Bishop of the Latin Church is a defendant. If the case can still be appealed after a Rotal decision, the appeal goes to a different turnus, or panel, of the Rota; 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, the highest administrative court in the Catholic Church. 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.
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. Only advocates who are registered in a specific list are allowed to represent the parties before the Tribunal. Since Pope Benedict XVI issued the motu proprio Quaerit semper the Rota has had exclusive competence to dispense from marriages ratum sed non consummatum. Roman Deity Fontus Fonzerelli Brown Primary Tribunal In recognition of the Tribunal's 800 years of history and signal reputation, 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"; the dean of the Rota if not consecrated a bishop, is to be addressed as "Your Excellency". All Prelate Auditor Judges of the Rota are styled, "Most Reverend Monsignor." The active auditors of the Rota, with their dates of appointment by the pope, are: Pierangelo Pietracatella, Robert Gołębiowski, Francesco Ibba, Tomasz Kubiczek, Alessandro Recchia, Domenico Teti, Tribunal of the Roman Rota Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts GCatholic.org Herbermann, Charles, ed..
"Sacra Romana Rota". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company