Recourse Against Administrative Decrees

Church law provides the opportunity for those claiming to be aggrieved by a decree to seek recourse in accord with the Code of Canon Law. It should be noted that Church Law (canon 1733) urges that parties in any dispute be encouraged to seek reconciliation even if formal recourse has been initiated.

Canons 1732 through 1739 identify the process for seeking recourse against administrative decrees and most other individual administrative acts if no solution is able to be negotiated.

In this instance, in which Most Reverend Joseph A. Galante, on February 18, 2011, in accord with canon 515 §2, DECREED, ANNOUNCED and PUBLISHED the merger of St. Augustine’s Catholic Church, 13th Street and Wesley Avenue, Ocean City, The Church of St. Frances Cabrini, 114 Atlantic Avenue, Ocean City and The Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel, 3948 Central Avenue, Ocean City; and the establishment of Saint Damien Parish, the following process for seeking reconciliation and recourse against this decision is also published:

1. Before initiating formal recourse, a written petition from a person

(canon 96) who considers himself or herself aggrieved by this decree

must be directed to:

Most Reverend Joseph A. Galante

Bishop of Camden

Camden Diocesan Center

631 Market Street

Camden, New Jersey 08102

Fax: 856-338-0376

In this letter, the person must first seek relief by requesting revocation

or amendment of this decree (canon 1734 §1). In this same letter, the

person should supply their mailing address so that the Bishop may

respond. This initial petition must be received within a time limit of

ten (10) business days of the legal notification of this decree (canon

1734 §2). Bishop Galante directs that this decree is to be published

in the diocesan newspaper the Catholic Star Herald on Friday,

February 18, 2011, and announced at all weekend Masses in the

parishes of St. Augustine’s Catholic Church, The Church of St.

Frances Cabrini and The Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel on

Saturday, February 19, 2011 and Sunday, February 20, 2011.

Therefore, the obligation to present in writing a request for revocation

or amendment of this decree must be received by Bishop Galante’s

office no later than 4:00 p.m., Monday, March 7, 2011.

2. Bishop Galante has a period of thirty days within which to respond

to this petition for revocation or amendment (canon 1735). During

his period of time, Bishop Galante may suspend the execution of this

decree, or the person who considers himself or herself aggrieved may

submit a special petition to the Congregation for the Clergy [see

address below] for suspension of the execution of this decree (canon

1736).

3. In responding to the substance of the petition it is envisioned that

Bishop Galante may take one of three courses of action (canon 1735):

a. Bishop Galante may act in a way that satisfies the

person who considers himself or herself to have

been aggrieved.

b. Bishop Galante, may, within thirty (30) days

respond to the petition by either denying the request

or issuing a new or amended decree that still leaves

the person, who considers himself or herself

aggrieved, dissatisfied.

c. Bishop Galante may choose not to respond to the

initial petition. In this instance, the time period for

the person who considers himself or herself

aggrieved to initiate formal recourse begins on the

thirtieth day after the petition for revocation or

amendment was submitted.

4. If the Bishop’s response leaves the person who considers himself

or herself aggrieved still dissatisfied, then the author of the initial

petition seeking revocation or amendment of this decree has fifteen

(15) business days to initiate formal recourse to the Congregation for

the Clergy (canon 1737 §2).

5. In this instance, the recourse is addressed to the Congregation for

the Clergy. This can be submitted directly to the following address:

Most Reverend Mauro Piacenza

Secretary

Congregation for the Clergy

Piazza Pio XII 3

00193 Rome, Italy

Or, through the office of the Apostolic Nunciature:

Most Reverend Pietro Sambi

Apostolic Nuncio to the United States

3339 Massachusetts Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20008-3610

Or, through the office of Most Reverend Joseph A. Galante:

Most Reverend Joseph A. Galante

Bishop of Camden

Camden Diocesan Center

631 Market Street

Camden, New Jersey 08102

Fax: 856-338-0376

Canon law requires that whoever receives the recourse to the

Congregation for the Clergy must transmit it immediately (canon

1737 §1). If the author of the formal recourse sends it directly to the

Congregation for the Clergy, Bishop Galante should be notified by the

person sending it to the Congregation that it has been filed.

6. The person making recourse against this decree has the right to

engage the services of a canon lawyer (canon 1738).

7. If the Congregation for the Clergy does not act within three (3)

consecutive months of receiving the recourse, canon law presumes

that the response is negative (canon 57). If there has been no

response within the three (3) months, or if the Congregation for the

Clergy has issued a decision that leaves the person who considers

himself or herself aggrieved still dissatisfied, then the person making

the recourse has the right to make further recourse against the

decision of the Congregation for the Clergy to the Apostolic Signatura

within thirty (30) calendar days of the expiration of the three (3)

month period, or thirty (30) calendar days from the receipt of the

Congregation’s decision.

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