Pope makes Pan-American Committee of Judges a private association of faithful
By Sebastián Sansón
"Echoing the request made by its Founders, I express my approval for the Pan-American Committee of Judges and Judges for Social Rights and Franciscan Doctrine [COPAJU] to become a Private Association of the Faithful of international character in conformity with canons 298-311 and 321-329, erected as a private juridical person within the canonical order, in accordance with canon 322, § 1."
This is what Pope Francis wrote in the chirograph published on Friday, 18 August.
By means of this document, the statutes and the logo of COPAJU were also approved and will come into force from 31 August 2023.
The Pope also made the following appointments for the period 2023-2028: as President of COPAJU, Judge Roberto Andrés Gallardo of the Republic of Argentina; as Vice President Judge Ana Algorta Latorre of the Federative Republic of Brazil; as Secretary, Judge Gustavo Daniel Moreno of the Republic of Argentina; and as members, Judges María Julia Figueredo Vivas of the Republic of Colombia, Tamila Ipema of the United States of America, Daniel Urrutia Laubreaux of the Republic of Chile, and Janet Tello Gilardi of the Republic of Peru.
At the same time, the Holy Father approved the creation of the "Fray Bartolomé de las Casas" Institute for Research and Promotion of Social Rights, "with academic, teaching, and training purposes on the subject of Social Rights, migration, and colonialism, which will be financially supported, directed, and administered by COPAJU and will operate within the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences".
The Pope appointed Professors Raúl Eugenio Zaffaroni, Alberto Filippi, and Marcelo Suárez Orozco as the Founding Academic Board of the Institute for the period 2023-2028.
Pope Francis clarified that "henceforth, the authorities of COPAJU must have pontifical approval, based on the proposals that the institution makes for each five-year period". "All that is established in the present Chirograph is fully valid and effective, notwithstanding any provision to the contrary," he concluded.
Promotion of social rights from the judiciary
The organization "had incipient local origins in the City of Buenos Aires and then outstanding performance in the Republic of Argentina since 2017, giving rise to the first regional meeting in June 2018 at the Faculty of Law of the University of Buenos Aires", recalls the Pope in the text.
Formally, it was created in the Vatican in June 2019 and with the participation of 120 magistrates from the three Americas, in the framework of the meeting held in the Casina Pio IV, headquarters of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
Since then, the institution "has developed a prolific task aimed at the protection and promotion of social rights from the magistracy, placing special emphasis on the discarded social sectors, affected by the different processes of neo-colonialism."
It has set up representations, called "national chapters", in different countries: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, the United States, and Paraguay, and is in permanent expansion throughout the rest of the American continent.
It has also organized numerous international events, including meetings in Rome in 2019 and 2023; in Iguazú, Argentina, in 2021; in Mexico in 2022; and in Asunción, Paraguay, in 2023.
It has also issued numerous documents providing guidance and setting out public positions on various situations that fall within its remit, and has published specialised texts (reviewed at www.copaju.org).