Tribunal of the Roman Rota, Correspondence Concerning the Party Responsible for Payment of Stipend in Cases Appealed to the Roman Rota. 1998, Private.

There appears to be confusion concerning who is responsible for the stipend in privilege of the faith cases. Is it the responsibility of the party who challenges the validity of the marriage? Is it the responsibility of the party who appeals an affirmative decision in first instance? Is it the responsibility of the tribunal of first instance? A response from the Holy See, specifically, the tribunal of the Roman Rota addresses this question. Both the question and Rota’s response are in English.

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Rev. Msgr. Mario Francesco Pompedda, Dean

Tribunal of the Roman Rota

Piazza della Cancelleria 1

00168 Rome Italy

Dear Monsignor Pompedda:

Enclosed please find one authenticated copy of the above-titled cause for examination by the tribunal of the Roman Rota in second instance.

The respondent, when appraised of his options concerning an appeal of the first instance decision of this tribunal, notified the court within the time limit specified by canon 1630, §1, that he wished to make appeal to the tribunal of the Roman Rota.

I believe the revised norms of 1993 for submitting such causes from Tribunals in the United States to the Tribunal of the Roman Rota have been followed, with the exception of the stipend, about which I would be grateful for a clarification.

My question is this: Should norm 4, which states that “the parties to the cases” are to be instructed concerning the stipend, be interpreted to mean that the plaintiff and the respondent should be requested to share equally the cost of the stipend? The respondent’s advocate has argued that the stipend is to be assumed entirely “by the party challenging the validity of the marital union”, i.e., the plaintiff. I would think that the respondent in this cause should be asked to assume at least half of the stipend, if not all of it, since another avenue of appeal was open to him and he, not the plaintiff, has chosen to appeal to your tribunal.

Thanking you for your kind help in this matter, and assuring you of this tribunal’s willingness to comply with your direction in this cause, I am

Sincerely yours in the Lord,

Judicial Vicar

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Dear Father,

In reference to your recent letter which you enclosed with the acts of the above case transmitted to this tribunal, and in which you included some considerations about the sharing of expenses for the case by the parties, I, on behalf of His Excellency, the Dean, would like to respond as follows:

Number four of the agreement between the Roman Rota and the Episcopal Conference of the United States of June 22, 1993, when speaking of the parties in the case, does not determine, at least not expressly, whether only one or both of the parties must be responsible for the contribution (stipend of 750-850 U.S. dollars): and whether even such a responsibility for the contribution devolves on the appealing party.

Since it concerns the fulfillment of a bi-lateral accord and concerns the preliminary phase of a new grade of judgment that has been legitimately brought before the Roman Rota, this Apostolic Tribunal generally leaves the interpretation of the above norm to the local tribunal, allowing also for the possibility of the granting of gratuitous patronage by the Roman Rota in specific cases.

At any rate whatever interpretation is used as to the manner of determining the allocation of the expenses, such interpretation can in no way compromise the right of appeal of one of the partners to the Apostolic Tribunal. The possibility of presenting such an appeal can in no way be made dependent on the payment of the costs.

At any rate, the Roman Rota as of now declared that in the above indicated case, or in other similar cases, it is prepared to grant complete, gratuitous patronage if the payment of the contribution should in any way limit the respondent’s right of appeal directly to the Roman Rota.

Sincerely yours,


RRAO (1998): 31-32.