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Encyclopedia > Ecclesiastical court

An ecclesiastical court (also called "Court Christian") is any of certain courts having jurisdiction mainly in spiritual or religious matters. In the middle ages in many areas of Europe these courts had much wider powers than before the development of nation states as they were experts in interpreting canon law the basis of which was the Corpus Juris Civilis of Justinian which is considered the source of the civil law legal tradition. A court is an official, public forum which a public power establishes by lawful authority to adjudicate disputes, and to dispense civil, labour, administrative and criminal justice under the law. ... The term jurisdiction has several meanings. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... A satellite composite image of Europe Europe is geologically and geographically a peninsula, forming the westernmost part of Eurasia. ... The term nation-state, while often used interchangeably with the terms unitary state and independent state, refers properly to the parallel occurence of a state and a nation. ... In Western culture, canon law is the law of the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches. ... The Corpus Juris Civilis (Body of Civil Law) is a fundamental work in jurisprudence issued from 529 to 534 by order of Justinian I, Byzantine Emperor. ... Justinian may refer to: Justinian I, a Roman Emperor; Justinian II, a Byzantine Emperor; Justinian, a storeship sent to the convict settlement at New South Wales in 1790. ... Civil law has at least three meanings. ...

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Catholic Church

Roman Catholic courts are governed by the Code of Canon Law in the case of the Western Church (Latin or Roman Rite), and the Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches in the case of the Eastern Church (Byzantine, Ukrainian, Maronite, Melkite, etc., Rites). Both systems of canon law recently underwent massive revisions, resulting in the new code for the Latin Rite in 1983, and the compilation for the first time of the Eastern Rite Code in 1991. The Roman Catholic Church, most often spoken of simply as the Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with over one billion members. ... In Western culture, canon law is the law of the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches. ... Latin Rite, in the singular and accompanied, in English, by the definite article, refers to the sui juris particular Church of the Roman Catholic Church that developed in the area of western Europe and northern Africa where Latin was for many centuries the language of education and culture. ... The term Eastern Rites may refer to the liturgical rites used by many ancient Christian Churches of Eastern Europe and the Middle East that, while being part of the Roman Catholic Church, are distinct from the Latin Rite or Western Church. ... 1983 is a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 1991 is a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Briefly, in each diocese the bishop (or "eparch" in the Eastern Rites) is the legislator, administrator and judge: he makes the laws (in accord with the Code for his rite), administers them, and acts as the judge for his diocese. This last function is normally executed through a priest delegated for this job, whose title is either judicial vicar or officialis ("officialis" is the older title; "judicial vicar" emphasizes that he is the delegate, or vicar, of the bishop for judicial matters). Pope Pius XI blesses Bishop Stephen Alencastre as fifth Apostolic Vicar of the Hawaiian Islands in a Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace window. ... A bishop is an ordained member of the Christian clergy who, in certain Christian churches, holds a position of authority. ... In the Roman Empire, an eparchy was one of the political subdivisions of the Empire. ... A judge or justice is an appointed or elected official who presides over a court. ... Roman Catholic priest LCDR Allen R. Kuss (USN) aboard USS Enterprise A priest or priestess is a holy man or woman who takes an officiating role in worship of any religion, with the distinguishing characteristic of offering sacrifices. ...


The diocesan court usually consists of the judicial vicar and two judges who act as a panel. All are normally priests with doctorates, or at least licentiates (master's degrees), in Canon Law. (In large dioceses, there may be a number of vice-officiales who preside over several panels of judges; in smaller dioceses, a single judge with two lay "assessors" may try cases.) An academic degree called a licentiate or one of its cognates exists in various European countries, representing different educational levels. ... A masters degree is an academic degree usually awarded for completion of a postgraduate or graduate course of one to three years in duration. ... In Western culture, canon law is the law of the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches. ...


They are assisted by the promoter of justice, who is a priest and canon lawyer whose job is to safeguard the "public good" (acting as something of a watchdog) and to do the equivalent of prosecuting those accused of crimes, and the defender of the bond, whose job is to find reasons why a marriage is valid in cases of alleged nullity (annulment cases are the most common), and why an ordination is valid in the rare cases of alleged nullity of Holy Orders. Also present are the advocates of the parties and notaries. Marriage is a relationship and bond between individuals that plays a key role in the definition of many families. ... Annulment is a legal procedure for declaring a marriage null and void. ... This article is about the sacrament. ... Holy Orders in the modern Roman Catholic Church and in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglican, Assyrian, Old Catholic, and Independent Catholic Churches, includes three degrees: bishop, priest, and deacon. ...


The case does not follow the adversarial system. Based on the same Roman civil law that is behind much European law (rather than the English Common Law), the procedure of a canonical court is more akin to an inquest, with the judges leading the investigation. There is no presumption of guilt or innocence, for instance, but there are presumptions of the validity of an act unless proven otherwise. This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ...


The court of the diocese, for the original trial of the case, is called the "court of first instance." "Second instance" is the appeal, which is automatic for some kinds of cases (for instance, when a marriage is found to be null), and is normally taken to the tribunal of the metropolitan -- that is, the archbishop of the nearby archdiocese that has seniority over the region, or "province," which is a cluster of smaller dioceses. Courts of first instance within an archdiocese itself appeal their cases to the metropolitan tribunal of some other archdiocese with which the original archbishop has made an arrangement (so appeals of trials originating in an archdiocese are not heard in that same archdiocese). This article is about the legal term. ... In hierarchical Christian churches, the rank of metropolitan bishop, whose incumbent is usually called simply a metropolitan, appertains to the bishop of a metropolis; that is, the chief city of an old Roman province, ecclesiastical province, or regional capital. ... In Christianity, an archbishop is an elevated bishop heading a diocese of particular importance due to either its size, history, or both, called an archdiocese. ... In some Christian churches, the diocese is an administrative territorial unit governed by a bishop, sometimes also referred to as a bishopric or episcopal see, though more often the term episcopal see means the office held by the bishop. ... An ecclesiastical province is a unit of religious government existing in certain Christian churches. ...


Cases are ultimately appealed to Rome, normally to the Rota, a court of 15 judges, called auditors, who take cases in panels of three and serve as the final arbiters of most cases. Certain specialized cases can go automatically to one of the congregations of the Vatican -- the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for the Clergy, etc., which are "cabinet-level departments" under the Pope. City motto: Senatus Populusque Romanus – SPQR (The Senate and the People of Rome) Founded 21 April 753 BC mythical, 1st millennium BC Region Latium Mayor Walter Veltroni (Democratici di Sinistra) Area  - City Proper  1290 km² Population  - City (2004)  - Metropolitan  - Density (city proper) 2,546,807 almost 4,000,000 1... Rota was a Valkyrie in Norse mythology, who chose those who were about to die on the battle-field. ... A congregation is a type of dicastery of the Roman Curia, the Roman Catholic Church government. ... The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) (Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei) is the oldest of the nine congregations of the Roman Curia. ... The Congregation for the Clergy (Congregatio pro Clericis) is the congregation of the Roman Curia responsibile for overseeing matters regarding priests and deacons, and overseeing the religious education of all Roman Catholics. ... The Pope is the Catholic Bishop and patriarch of Rome, and head of the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches. ...


The highest court, the Apostolic Signatura, is a panel of five cardinals who serve as the judges. It is a lawyer's court: it resolves disputes between congregations over jurisdiction, handles complaints of corruption against judges of the Rota, and certain other highly specialized matters, and so rarely has contact with typical ecclesiastical cases (like marriage annulments). A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official in the Roman Catholic Church, ranking just below the Pope and appointed by him as a member of the College of Cardinals, during a consistory. ...


All of the above applies to the "external forum" -- that is, matters which are provable in some public way (as in a marriage). Matters which take place only within the context of confidentiality (as in the Sacrament of Penance, also called the Sacrament of Confession, or in spiritual direction and counseling) are said to be of the "internal forum." These matters follow what is technically a judicial path, though it would be unrecognizable to most people familiar with standard legal systems. Such a matter arising during confession, for instance, would be handled directly by the priest hearing the confession or, if he lacks authority (for instance, to lift an excommunication), he would create an anonymous petition (using pseudonyms) to obtain permission from the Apostolic Penitentiary, a cardinal specially delegated by the Pope to handle such matters. In criminal proceedings, a confession is a document in which a suspect admits having committed a crime. ... Excommunication is a religious censure which is used to deprive or suspend membership in a religious community. ... The Apostolic Penitentiary, formally known as the Tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary, is one of three judiciary bodies in the Roman Curia, which together make up the judicial branch of the government of the Holy See. ...


Church of England

In the Church of England, the Ecclesiastical Courts are a system of courts, held by authority of the Crown, whose holder is the Supreme Governor of the Church. The courts have jurisdiction over matters dealing with the rights and obligations of church members, now limited to controversies in areas of church property and ecclesiastical disciplinary proceedings. In England these courts, unlike common law courts, are based upon and operate along civil law procedures and canon law-based jurisprudence. The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and acts as the mother and senior branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion as well as a founding member of the Porvoo Communion. ... The Crown is a term which is used to separate the government authority and property of the state in a kingdom from any personal influence and private assets held by the current Monarch. ... Civil law has at least three meanings. ... In Western culture, canon law is the law of the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches. ...


Offences against ecclesiastical laws are dealt with differently based on whether the laws in question involve church doctrine. For non-doctrinal cases, the lowest level of the court is the Archdeaconry Court, which is presided over by the local Archdeacon. The next court in the hierarchy is the Bishop's Court, which is in the archdiocese of Canterbury called the Commissiary Court and in other dioceses the Consistory Court. The Commissiary Court is presided over by a commissiary-general; a Consistory Court is presided over by a chancellor. The chancellor or commissiary-general must be thirty years old and either have been legally qualified for seven years or have held high judicial office. The consistory is a type of Ecclesiastical court. ...


The next court is the Archbishop's Court, which is in Canterbury called the Arches Court, and in York the Chancery Court. Each court includes five judges; one judge is common to both courts. The common judge is called the Dean of Arches in Canterbury and the Auditor in York; he is appointed jointly by both Archbishops with the approval of the Crown, and must either have been legally qualified for seven years or have held high judicial office. Two members of each court must be clergymen appointed by the Prolocutor of the Lower House of the provincial Convocation.[1] Two further members of each court are appointed by the Chairman of the House of Laity of the General Synod;[2] these must possess such legal qualifications as the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain requires. The Arches Court, presided over by the Dean of Arches is an ecclesiastical court of the Church of England covering the Province of Canterbury. ... The Dean of the Arches is the judge who sits at the Ecclesiastical court of the Archbishop of Canterbury in England. ... The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor and in former times Chancellor of England, is one of the most senior and important functionaries in the government of the United Kingdom. ...


In cases involving church doctrine, ceremony or ritual, the aforementioned courts have no jurisdiction. Instead, the Court of Ecclesiastical Causes Reserved hears the case. The Court is composed of three diocesan bishops and two appellate judges; it has jurisdiction over both of the provinces of Canterbury and York. The Court, however, meets very rarely. An appellate court of the Church of England. ...


Appeal from the Arches Court and Chancery Court (in non-doctrinal cases) lies to the Queen-in-Council. In practice, the case is heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which includes present and former Lord Chancellors, a number of Lords of Appeal and other high judicial officers. The Queen-in-Council does not have jurisdiction over doctrinal cases from the Court of Ecclesiastical Causes Reserved, which instead go to an ad hoc Commission of Review, composed of two diocesan Bishops and three Lords of Appeal (who are also members of the Judicial Committee). The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is one of the highest courts in the United Kingdom. ... The House of Lords, in addition to having a legislative function, has a judicial function as a court of last resort within the United Kingdom. ...


Episcopal Church (in the United States)

Ecclesiastical courts in the American Episcopal Church have jurisdiction only over disciplinary cases involving clergy, and are divided into two separate systems, one for trials of bishops, the other for trials of priests and deacons. (At least one diocese, however (Minnesota), has provided in its canons (i.e., church law) for a court with broader jurisdiction over a wide range of canonical issues, although such a court has not yet been implemented.) In each disciplinary case, two courts are provided, one for trials and one for appeals. When a charge is first made, it is brought before an initial review committee (similar to a grand jury in secular criminal law) whose job is to determine when a case should be brought, and to supervise the Church Attorney who acts as a sort of "Prosecutor." The Episcopal Church may refer to several members of the Anglican Communion, including: Episcopal Church in the United States of America Scottish Episcopal Church Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East Episcopal Church of Cuba idk of the Sudan Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church ...


Courts and procedure for trials of bishops are provided for by the Canons of the General Convention (the triennial legislative body of the national church). There is one Court for the Trial of a Bishop, composed of nine bishops (though there have been proposals to include lay persons and lower clergy in this court). Appeals are heard by the Court of Review for the Trial of a Bishop, also composed of nine bishops. The Constitution of the national Episcopal Church provides that this court must be composed only of bishops.


For priests and deacons, initial trial is held by an ecclesiastical court established by the diocese in which the cleric is canonically resident, and appeals are taken to the Court of Review for the Trial of a Priest or Deacon, one of which is established in each of the nine provinces of the church (a province is a geographic combination of dioceses). Dioceses have some discretion about the procedure and membership for the ecclesiastical court, but most rules and procedure is established church-wide by the national canons. Trial courts are made up of lay persons and of priests or deacons, with the latter to have a majority by one. The various Courts of Review are composed each of one bishop, three priests or deacons, and three lay persons.


Since the 18th century the Constitution of the national Episcopal Church has permitted the creation of a Court of Appeal, which would be "solely for the review of the determination of any Court of Review on questions of Doctrine, Faith, or Worship," but no such court has ever been created, though proposals have occasionally been made to establish the House of Bishops itself as such a court.


See also

Schematic of court system for England and Wales The United Kingdom does not have a single unified judicial system - England and Wales have one system, Scotland another, and Northern Ireland a third. ...

External links

Notes

  1. Canterbury and York each have a bicameral Convocation, made up of the Upper House (composed of bishops) and the Lower House (composed of representatives of the clergy).
  2. The General Synod, a tricameral body, is the highest governing body of the Church. The House of Bishops is composed of the Upper Houses of the two Convocations; the House of Clergy is composed of the Lower Houses of the two Convocations; the House of Laity includes representatives of lay members of the Church.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Ecclesiastical court - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1501 words)
Roman Catholic courts are governed by the Code of Canon Law in the case of the Western Church (Latin or Roman Rite), and the Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches in the case of the Eastern Church (Byzantine, Ukrainian, Maronite, Melkite, etc., Rites).
In the Church of England, the Ecclesiastical Courts are a system of courts, held by authority of the Crown, whose holder is the Supreme Governor of the Church.
Ecclesiastical courts in the American Episcopal Church have jurisdiction only over disciplinary cases involving clergy, and are divided into two separate systems, one for trials of bishops, the other for trials of priests and deacons.
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