Pope names two U.S. cardinals, Altoona bishop to Vatican supreme court

Pope Francis greets Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, N.J., during a meeting with U.S. bishops at the Vatican in this Nov. 28, 2019, file photo. The pope has named Cardinal Tobin to be among the 12 members of the Apostolic Signature, the Vatican’s highest court. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has named U.S. Cardinals Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, and James M. Harvey, archpriest of Rome’s Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, to be members of the Vatican’s supreme court.

The pope also nominated Bishop Mark L. Bartchak of Altoona-Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to be among the 12 members of the Apostolic Signature, the Vatican’s highest court.

Members of the Apostolic Signature serve as judges in the tribunal’s cases, which mainly involve appeals of lower-court decisions or of administrative decisions by other offices of the Holy See. The appeals involve everything from challenges to the decisions of marriage tribunals to recourse against the dismissal of a religious, the transfer of a parish priest, the restriction of a priest’s ministry, removal of ministerial faculties, renovation of a parish church and dismissal from a teaching position.

The other eight members, named June 21, are: Cardinal Mario Grech, secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops; Archbishop Cyril Vasil, apostolic administrator for Eastern Catholics in Košice, Slovakia; Archbishop Celso Morga Iruzubieta of Mérida-Badajoz, Spain; Auxiliary Bishop Christoph Hegge of Münster, Germany; Auxiliary Bishop Dominicus Meier of Paderborn, Germany; Bishop Andrea Migliavacca of San Miniato, Italy; Bishop Pierantonio Pavanello of Adria-Rovigo, Italy; and Bishop Egidio Miragoli of Mondovì, Italy.

Pope Francis also named seven leading professors of canon law to be consultants to the Apostolic Signature, including William Daniel, who teaches at The Catholic University of America, Washington.

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