Major Penitentiary: Cardinal Mauro Piacenza
Regent: Bishop Krzysztof Jozef Nykiel
The competence of this Tribunal is concerned with
those matters which pertain to the internal
forum, for both the sacramental and non-sacramental internal forum. It is competent in
matters pertaining to the granting and use of indulgences.
Supreme Tribunal of
the Apostolic Signatura
Prefect: Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke
Secretary: Bishop Frans Daneels, O. Praem.
This department, in addition to the function which it
exercises as Supreme Tribunal, consults so that justice may be correctly administered in
the Church. With many functions, the Apostolic Signatura judges the matters assigned to it
in the Code of Canon Law; it extends the competence of tribunals; it extends the forum for
strangers in Rome to cases of matrimonial nullity in extraordinary circumstances and for
grave reasons; it supervises the proper administration of justice; it provides for the
establishment of regional and interregional tribunals; it enjoys the rights assigned to it
in concordats between the Holy See and the various nations. The Tribunal settles questions
about the exercise of administrative ecclesiastical power which are referred to it. It
also passes on conflicts of competence among the departments of the Holy See; it examines
administrative matters referred to it by the Congregations of the Roman Curia as well as
questions committed to it by the Holy Father.
Tribunal of the Roman Rota
Dean: Msgr. Pio Vito Pinto
This tribunal acts as a higher instance at the
Apostolic See, usually in the grade of appeal, for safeguarding rights in the Church; it
fosters the unity of jurisprudence and, through its own sentences, is a help to lower
tribunals. It is also a court of first instance for cases specified in the law and for
others committed to the Rota by the Roman Pontiff. The greater part of its decisions
concern the nullity of marriage. In such cases its competence includes marriages between
two Catholics, between a Catholic and non-Catholic, and between two non-Catholic parties
whether one or both of the baptized parties belongs to a Latin or Oriental Rite. It also examines the fact of non-consummation in a marriage and the existence of a just cause for granting a dispensation. Causes for the nullity of priestly ordination are also within its exclusive competence.