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Praedicate Evangelium:


Art. 189

1. The service provided by the Institutions of Justice is one of the essential functions in the governance of the Church. The aim of this service, pursued by each institution in the forum of its own competence, is that of the Church’s own mission: to proclaim and inaugurate the Kingdom of God and to work, through the order of justice applied with canonical equity, for the salvation of souls, which is always the supreme law in the Church.

2. The ordinary Institutions of Justice are the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura and the Tribunal of the Roman Rota. The three institutions are independent of each other.

Apostolic Penitentiary

Art. 190

1. The Apostolic Penitentiary is competent in all matters regarding the internal forum and indulgences as expressions of divine mercy.

2. It is headed by the Major Penitentiary, assisted by the Regent and by several officials.

Art. 191

For the internal forum, whether sacramental or non-sacramental, it grants absolution from censures, dispensations, commutations, validations, remissions and other favours.

Art. 192

1. The Apostolic Penitentiary sees to it that the Papal Basilicas of Rome are provided with a sufficient number of Penitentiaries supplied with appropriate faculties.

2. It oversees the proper training of the Penitentiaries appointed in the Papal Basilicas and of those appointed elsewhere.

Art. 193

The Apostolic Penitentiary is charged with the granting and use of indulgences, without prejudice to the competence of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith concerning their doctrine and of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments for ritual matters.

Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura

Art. 194

The Apostolic Signatura functions as the Church’s Supreme Tribunal and also ensures that justice in the Church is correctly administered.

Art. 195

1. The Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura is composed of Cardinals, Bishops and priests appointed by the Roman Pontiff for a term of five years. It is headed by the Cardinal Prefect.

2. In dispatching the affairs of the Tribunal, the Prefect is assisted by a Secretary.

Art. 196

The Apostolic Signatura, as a tribunal of ordinary jurisdiction, adjudicates:

1. complaints of nullity and petitions for restitutio in integrum against sentences of the Roman Rota;

2. recourses in cases involving the status of persons when the Roman Rota has denied a new examination of the case;

3. exceptions of suspicion and other proceedings against judges of the Roman Rota arising from the exercise of their functions;

4. conflicts of competence between tribunals which are not subject to the same appellate tribunal.

Art. 197

1. The Apostolic Signatura, as the administrative tribunal for the Roman Curia, adjudicates recourses against individual administrative acts, whether issued by the Dicasteries or the Secretariat of State or else approved by them, whenever it is contended that the act being impugned violated some law, either in the decision-making process or in the procedure employed.

2. In these cases, in addition to its judgement regarding the illegality of the act, the Apostolic Signatura, at the request of the plaintiff, can also judge concerning the reparation of possible damages incurred through the act in question.

3. The Apostolic Signatura also adjudicates other administrative controversies referred to it by the Roman Pontiff or by institutions of the Curia. Finally, it adjudicates conflicts of competence between Dicasteries or between Dicasteries and the Secretariat of State.

Art. 198

The Apostolic Signatura, as an administrative institution of justice in disciplinary matters, is also competent:

1. to exercise vigilance over the correct administration of justice in the different ecclesiastical tribunals and, if need be, to censure officials, advocates or procurators;

2. to adjudicate petitions presented to the Apostolic See for obtaining the referral of a case to the Roman Rota;

3. to adjudicate concerning any other request relative to the administration of justice;

4. to extend the competence of lower tribunals;

5. to grant approval of a tribunal of appeal, as well as approval, if reserved to the Holy See, of the erection of inter-diocesan/inter-eparchial/inter-ritual, regional, national and, if need be, supranational tribunals.

Art. 199

The Apostolic Signatura is governed by its proper law.

Tribunal of the Roman Rota

Art. 200

1. The Tribunal of the Roman Rota ordinarily acts as an appellate court of higher instance at the Apostolic See, with the purpose of safeguarding rights within the Church; it fosters unity of jurisprudence and, by virtue of its decisions, provides assistance to lower tribunals.

2. The Tribunal of the Roman Rota also includes the Office competent to adjudicate the fact of the non-consummation of marriage and the existence of a just cause for granting dispensations.

3. This Office is also competent to deal with cases of the nullity of sacred ordination, pursuant to the norm of universal and proper law, in accordance with the different cases.

Art. 201

1. The Tribunal has a collegiate structure and is composed of a certain number of judges of proven doctrine, competence and experience selected by the Roman Pontiff from various parts of the world.

2. The College of the Tribunal is headed by the Dean, as primus inter pares, who is appointed for a term of five years by the Roman Pontiff, who chooses him from among the judges.

3. The Office for procedures of dispensation from a marriage ratum et non consummatum and for cases of the nullity of sacred ordination is headed by the Dean, assisted by its proper officials and by designated commissioners and consultors.

Art. 202

1. The Tribunal of the Roman Rota adjudicates in second instance cases that have been decided by ordinary tribunals of first instance and referred to the Holy See by legitimate appeal.

2. It adjudicates in third or further instances cases already decided by the same Apostolic Tribunal and by any other tribunals, unless they have become res iudicata.

Art. 203

1. The Roman Rota, in addition, adjudicates in first instance:

1. Bishops in contentious matters, unless they concern the rights or temporal goods of a juridical person represented by the Bishop;

2. Abbots Primate or Abbots Superior of monastic congregations and Supreme Moderators of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life of Pontifical right;

3. Dioceses/Eparchies or other ecclesiastical persons, whether physical or juridical, which have no Superior below the Roman Pontiff;

4. cases which the Roman Pontiff entrusts to this Tribunal.

2. It adjudicates these same cases also in second and further instances, unless other provisions are made.

Art. 204

The Tribunal of the Roman Rota is governed by its proper law.