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Pope Francis appoints American priest to role in Apostolic Signatura, Vatican’s highest court…

The 50-year-old monsignor holds a licentiate in patristic theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University and a licentiate in canon law from the Catholic University of America in Washington.

The current prefect of the supreme tribunal is Cardinal Dominique Mamberti, who has served in the position since 2015, following Cardinal Raymond Burke, who was prefect of the court for six years. 

Other officers of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura include Secretary Bishop Andrea Ripa from Rimini, Italy; Promoter of Justice Monsignor Pawel Malecha from Poznan, Poland; and Defender of the Bond Father Nikolaus Schoch, OFM, from Innsbruck, Austria, in addition to the court’s cardinal members and bishops.

Kirby replaces German Father Matthias Ambros, 44, who had served as the substitute promoter of justice since January 2023 and was recently appointed as the undersecretary for the Vatican’s Dicastery for Culture and Education.

The announcement of Kirby’s appointment comes days after Pope Francis issued a new motu proprio, Munus Tribunalis, which amended the law of the Supreme Tribunal first promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008 to bring it in line with the language found in the constitution governing the Roman Curia, Praedicate Evangelium, published by Pope Francis in 2021.

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