Letters from the Apostolic Signatura Regarding the 1991 Edition of Roman Replies, 21 November 1991. Private.


In a letter of November of 1991, the Apostolic Signatura sent to the Executive Coordinator and President of the Canon Law Society of America some concerns about the 1991 edition of Roman Replies which was published for the San Antonio convention. These concerns were published in the March 1992 CLSA Newsletter.

First, there is a letter from Archbishop Grocholewski, the Secretary of the Apostolic Signatura:




My sincerest thanks to the President and members of the Canon Law Society of America for the recent gift of the latest edition of Roman Replies and CLSA Advisory Opinions, which you forwarded to me by your kind letter of October 29.

I regret that there are a number of mistranslations in the volume, together with the printing of a document which the Apostolic Signatura

pg. 232

pg. 233
had ordered not to be published. However, I trust that appropriate corrections can be made in the next edition.




The second letter is from Archbishop Grocholewski and Rev. Frans Daneels, O. Praem, the Promoter of Justice for the Apostolic Signatura:




Prot. No. 23081/91 VAR

On your behalf and that of the members of the Canon Law Society of America, a complimentary copy of the most recent Roman Replies and CLSA Advisory Opinions (1991) was presented to this Supreme Tribunal. The Apostolic Signatura thanks you for this kind attention.

At the same time, however, after study of the volume it cannot but express its surprise, not only at the publication of its documents in this volume without permission, but also and especially at the publication of a document which was explicitly not to be published and at the many errors in translation.

When tribunals ask the Apostolic Signatura for assistance, sometimes it tries – although it is not an office of consultation – to give some help by forwarding the private votum of a consultor, with the understanding that such a votum should not be published; otherwise the Apostolic Signatura would be obliged to edit every paragraph and sentence of the answer very thoroughly, which in fact would be an impossible burden.

In the 1991 Roman Replies and CLSA Advisory Opinions, the private votum of a consultor is published on pages 35-38, notwithstanding the fact that in the cover letter, with which the votum was sent to the judicial vicar in question, it was stated: “Cum agatur de voto privato, id publici iuris fieri nequit” (cf. the enclosed copy of the original letter) which means: “Because it is a private votum, it may not be published.”Roman Replies and CLSA Advisory Opinions erroneously translates the same sentence thus: “Because it is a private opinion it is not public law” (p.35).

Concerning the many mistakes in translation, it suffices to indicate only two other major ones in the same cover letter on page 35:

—“una cum Rev. mo Promotore Iustitiae huic Supremo Tribunali quaedamquaesita proposuisti” means: “together with the Very Reverend Promoter of Justice you proposed to this Supreme Tribunal certain questions,” and not: “you proposed to the Reverend Promoter of Justice of this Supreme Tribunal certain questions;"

—“non pertinet ad hanc Signaturam Apostolicam iudicialiter videre depraefata causa” means: “It does not pertain to this Apostolic Signatura to deal with the above-mentioned case in a judicial manner,” and not:

pg. 233

pg. 234
“it does not pertain to this Apostolic Tribunal to juridically oversee the previously stated case.”

The Apostolic Signatura requests that this letter be communicated – to the extent that this is possible – to those who have received this edition of Roman Replies and CLSA Advisory Opinions; it further requests that the letter be published in next year’s edition.




Apostolic Signatura, 21 November 1991, Concerning Roman Replies and CLSA Advisory Opinions 1991, RRAO (1992): 3-5.