Appeals to the Rota
The Respondents' Appeal to the Vatican Rota
Before the publication of Sheila Kennedy's book, Shattered Faith,
very few Respondents were given complete information as they worked
with the U.S. Tribunals, about the Appeal process. Respondent’s were
given very little information about effectinvely fighting Catholic
SOS works to correct this glaring discrepancy on the part of the Tribunals:
The Rota is an appellate court in Rome, and an Appeal to the Rota will more often result in preserving, or 'saving', the sacrament of marriage. It has been said that 90% of Appeals are successful (i.e. the Respondent has 'saved' her/ his sacrament).
Jan's Appeal to the
Rota was successful. The Rota overturned the annulment
decision (by the Boston tribunal), and validated her marriage
As noted in Jan's bio on the 'About Us' page of this website, the Boston tribunal, NEVER told Jan she had been successful in her Appeal to the Rota. A full three years after the Roman Rota granted Jan's Appeal in her favor, she happened to phone the Boston tribunal and only then did she learn about the successful result of her Appeal. We/ SOS who work with so many other Respondents have learned that this type of attitude toward Respondents "happens" often. It is a disgrace by the U.S. tribunals which reflects on Rome.
SOS urges Respondents to take advantage of the Appeal process
Addressing the Vatican Rota via an Appeal is the most viable and worthwhile way in which Respondents may make a strong statement regarding their belief of the intrinsic value of their marriage sacrament.
Almost every Respondent who has endured the annulment process
has told SOS that they have gone through a very negative
annulment experience. After talking with one of us, they
often decide that they will protest the nullity decision via
an Appeal to the Vatican Rota.
The Appeal is an important means to confront the injustices being perpetrated on Respondents by the local tribunals in the United States. It is our experience that Rome has been far more fair and just in their attitude toward Respondents, than are the local U.S. tribunals.
Steps to Appeal to the Roman Rota
If the Tribunal of First Instance (the local tribunal) issues a "Decision of Annulment", you have the right to appeal to the Roma Rota as the Tribunal as Second Instance. The U.S. Tribunals will keep the Second Instance process within the same tribunal, unless you insist on appealing to the Roman Rota.
- The Respondent has 15 working days in which to file a Letter of Intent to Appeal. This appeal letter is to be sent to the local tribunal. The Respondent simply can state that s/he wants to appeal.
- Then there is an additional 30 days during which to submit the actual formal Appeal Letter to the Roman Rota. Here again, as with the original Response to the local tribunal, a Respondent always has the right (by Canon Law) to ask for an extension of time in which to complete the Appeal.
The address of the
Roman Rota, which will serve as the Tribunal of Second
Dean, Roman Rota, Piazza della Cancelleria 1, 00186 Rome, Italy
(We recommend that you check the Internet for the name of the current Dean.)
Educating about the Appeal process is an essential aspect of our work with SOS. We offer Respondents the Respondent’s Guide to Catholic Annulment which has detailed information about the Annulment and Appeal processes.
We also offer support, information, and encouragement to any Respondent interested in pursuing the Appeal process to the Rota.