DAILY CATHOLIC    THURSDAY     November 18, 1999     vol. 10, no. 219

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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Italian Archbishop to head Vatican Supreme Court with Polish prelate new head of Education

        VATICAN CITY, NOV 16 (ZENIT).- John Paul II named Italian Archbishop Mario Francesco Pompedda prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature. The Archbishop comes to the post, after being Dean of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.

        Archbishop Pompedda, who is 70 years old, was born in Sardinia. Since 1993 he has been Dean of the Roman Rota, the court of appeal whose name derives from the circular room in which auditors met to judge cases. Archbishop Pompedda is also president of the Annulment Court of the Vatican City State.

        The Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature, whose origins dates back to the 13th century, is called by this name because of the signature that seals documents relating to certain petitions, causes of justice or petitions of grace, at pontifical request. In virtue of its present competence, established in the 1988 apostolic constitution "Pastor Bonus," the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature has judicial power over cases of nullity and appeals regarding conflicts over competence. In addition, as an administrative Tribunal, the Apostolic Signature settles disputes stemming from actions of ecclesiastical administrative power and insures the correct administration of justice.

        Archbishop Pompedda is replacing Polish Archbishop Zenon Grocholewski, whom the Holy Father yesterday named prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education, accepting the resignation of Cardinal Pio Laghi, for reasons of age.

        Born 60 years ago in the Polish archdiocese of Poznan, the new prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education Archbishop Grocholewski was consecrated bishop in 1982. He was appointed to the summit of the Apostolic Signature, the Vatican's highest tribunal, in 1991.

        Outgoing prefect, Italian Cardinal Pio Laghi, 77, has served the Vatican as pontifical representative in extremely sensitive situations throughout the world. In 1969 he was named Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine. In 1974 he was transferred to Argentina as Apostolic Nuncio, where he remained until 1980, living through the most difficult time of the dictatorship. Recently he was accused by some groups of not denouncing the "disappearance" of persons at the time by order of the military. But the Cardinal responded and demonstrated that he did not have the necessary materials to be well informed on these violations, as he had no access to the internal life of the army, the last ones to be interested in having their activities known by the Pope's representative in Buenos Aires. Cardinal Laghi's next assignment was as Apostolic Delegate in Washington. He was one of the principal figures in making the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Vatican possible in 1984. In 1990 he was named prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education. John Paul II made him a Cardinal the following year.

        The Congregation for Catholic Education has authority in three different sectors: over all seminaries (except those falling within the jurisdiction of the Congregations for the Evangelization of Peoples and for Oriental Churches) and houses of formation of religious and secular institutes; over all universities, faculties, institutes and higher schools of study, either ecclesial or civil dependent on ecclesial persons; over all schools and educational institutes depending on ecclesiastical authorities.

        Activity within the Office for Seminaries includes apostolic visits to Catholic institutions, preparation to receive bishops during their "ad limina" visits, nomination of rectors and the erection of seminaries. It has produced the "Directives on the Preparation of Educators in Seminaries" and constituted the Commission for a More Just Distribution of Priests in the World. It also publishes a magazine entitled "Seminarium."

        The Congregation's second section, the Office for Universities, is responsible for, among other activities, approving new statutes for new or existing educational centers, nominating or confirming rectors and deans and approving the conferment of "honoris causa" doctoral degrees. It has published norms -- due to an increased request -- for those institutes or universities wishing to merge.

        The Office for Catholic Schools collaborates with other offices of the Roman Curia on questions of mutual interest, has contacts with bishops and with pontifical representatives abroad to remain abreast of the educational systems throughout the world and maintains relations with national and international Catholic organizations on matters concerning Catholic education.

        Some of the issues treated by this office regard the teaching of sex education in Catholic schools, problems related to the teaching of moral or religious matters in public schools, the closing of Catholic schools in some countries or, in others, the juridical recognition of Catholic schools and ecclesial goods and properties. ZE99111509 and ZE99111602

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

November 18, 1999       volume 10, no. 219


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