Pope Francis changes law regulating Vatican City court system


Pope Francis prays at his Wednesday audience in St. Peter’s Square on April 12, 2023. / Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

Vatican City, Apr 12, 2023 / 10:47 am (CNA).

Pope Francis revised a law regulating the Vatican’s judicial system on Wednesday, reversing some aspects of the pope’s prior reform of the Vatican City courts.

The April 12 motu proprio eliminates the previous mandate for a full-time Vatican magistrate, allowing all members of the court to be able to take on other positions.

It also stipulates that the president of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Curia’s highest canonical appeals court, will no longer be the de facto president of the Vatican court of cassation.

The new changes mark the third motu proprio Pope Francis has issued to amend the law of his 2020 reform of the Vatican City court system.

In his introduction to the document, Pope Francis wrote that “needs have emerged over the last few years in the sector of the administration of justice that require further adjustments to the penal legislation and the judicial system of the Vatican City State.”

The pope said that the changes take into account the “growing workload for the judicial bodies” and aim to simplify procedures.

In the update, Pope Francis also added a line that makes it possible to appoint a deputy to assist the president “during the judicial year in which the president is required to resign.”

The term of the current president of the Vatican Tribunal, judge Giuseppe Pignatone, will end in 2024. Pignatone has played a key role in the Vatican finance trial since its first hearing in 2021.

The new changes to Vatican City State’s penal law and judicial system take effect on April 13.

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