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Ecclesiastical Tribunals

(3,254 words)

Author(s): Charles Lefebvre
A. Origin and History The Church has sacred authority to dispense justice, that is, the power to pass sentence according to law on the faithful who come under its jurisdiction. Conflicts arise which charity alone is unable to resolve — although the Church prefers disputes to be settled by adjustment or arbitration, provided that the public interest is not at stake. But ecclesiastical justice must always strive to reflect divine justice by taking mercy as its norm. From the beginning of the Church’s history, the power of jurisdiction was exercised at various times by the …