Pope Francis has appointed an LA priest and renowned legal scholar to serve as a judge on the highest appeals court in the Catholic Church. 

The Vatican announced April 25 that Msgr. Laurence “Larry” Spiteri will be a prelate auditor of the Roman Rota. The Roman Rota has a history dating back to the 12th century and today deals mostly with marriage annulment cases, but also ones related to matters like inheritances.

The 71-year-old priest told Angelus he was “shocked” by the appointment and reluctant to accept it. But after years of working in marriage tribunals (starting in Los Angeles, and later in places like Las Vegas, Rome, and Naples), he is a first-hand witness that the mission of the Roman Rota is primarily “pastoral,” and not merely juridical. And that, he says, makes all the difference. 

Msgr. Spiteri brings a seemingly endless resume to his new position. He holds four doctorates, has published 92 books and numerous articles on subjects ranging from canon and international law, Church history, theology, psychology, and even poetry. A polyglot, he was written in English, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, German, and Maltese. 

Msgr. Spiteri will be the first judge from California to serve on the Roman Rota and its only current member from the U.S. He will take his oath of office on Friday, May 6, at the Vatican. 

Full story at Angelus News.