VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Addressing the Vatican court primarily responsible for hearing requests for marriage annulments, Pope Francis said judges on church tribunals should show “imperturbable and impartial balance” as well as the “delicacy and humanity proper to a pastor of souls.”
The pope made his remarks Jan. 24 to officials of the Roman Rota, at a meeting to inaugurate the tribunal’s judicial year.
“You are essentially pastors,” he told the officials. “As you carry out your judicial work, do not forget that you are pastors. Behind every file, every position, every case, there are persons who wait for justice.”
Pope Francis has said that church law on marriage is a topic that exemplifies a general need for mercy in the church today, and that it will be among the subjects of discussion at this October’s extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the “pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization.”
In his speech to the Rota, the pope said a judge on a church tribunal must sympathize with the “mentality and legitimate aspirations” of the community he serves, and thus render “justice that is not legalistic and abstract, but appropriate to the needs of concrete reality.”
Such a judge “will not be content with superficial knowledge of the reality of the persons who await his judgment, but will recognize the need to understand deeply the situations of the parties,” the pope said.
“The legal dimension and the pastoral dimension of ecclesial ministry are not in conflict,” Pope Francis said. “The church’s legal activity, which takes the form of service to the truth in justice, has in fact a profoundly pastoral meaning, because it is aimed at the good of the faithful and of the edification of the Christian community.”
Help keep Catholic media free, support CatholicPhilly.com
You may have noticed “pay walls” greeting you when you visit the websites of newspapers and magazines, both large and small. These mechanisms allow you to read a few articles for free before you’ve got to pay an annual fee if you want to see more.
You won’t find a pay wall on CatholicPhilly.com because we’re more than a news organization. We’re informing, inspiring and forming readers in the Catholic faith every day through the news, features and commentaries that we post on this site and share across social media.
It costs money to provide high-quality coverage of the local Catholic communities we primarily serve, while also distributing national and world news of interest to Catholics, plus the orthodox teachings of the Catholic faith.
Help us in this mission by making a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
or by credit card: