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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. 1. What is the purpose of the Roman Rota?

A. 1. The Roman Rota, also known as the "Tribunal Apostolicum Rotae Romanae" (which is Latin for "Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman Rota"), once known as the Apostolic Court of Audience, is the highest appellate tribunal of the Roman Catholic Church, with respect to both, the Latin Rite members and the Eastern Rite members. With respect to judicial trials conducted in the Catholic Church, it is the highest Ecclesiastical Court constituted by the Holy See. An appeal may be had to the Pope himself, who is the Supreme Ecclesiastical Judge. The Catholic Church has a complete legal system, which is the oldest still in use today. The court is named Rota (wheel) because the judges, called auditors, originally met in a round room to hear the cases. The Rota was established in the 13th century. The Pope appoints the auditors of the Rota and designates one of them the dean.

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. The auditors of the Rota are selected from among recognized ecclesiastical judges serving various Dioceses around the world.

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