According to Vatican-watcher Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa, Pope Francis reportedly intervened to head off a dispute over procedures in the Roman Rota: a dispute that might have brought the Vatican into conflict with European courts.
The dispute began when Msgr. Pio Vito Pinto, the dean of the Roman
Rota, announced that only canon lawyers who had his personal approval
could argue cases before the tribunal, which is the Church’s top appeals
That policy prompted outcries from lawyers who were not admitted
to the tribunals, and from appellants who wanted to be represented by
advocates of their own choosing.
The decision by Msgr. Pinto also created a risk that the Vatican
would be found in violation of its concordat with the Italian
government, and the European Convention on Human Rights, both of which
stipulate that parties to litigation should be free to choose their own
Tornielli reports that in February, Pope Francis intervened to
overturn Msgr. Pinto’s policy, allowing appellants to choose their own
canon lawyers to represent them before the Roman Rota.