COURT OF ROTA, one of the departments of the medieval papal organization, existing alongside the Dataria, the Poenitentiaria, the two Signaturas (S. Gratiae and S. Justitiae), and other bureaus. The Rota was the supreme court of Christendom. It consisted of twelve members, three from Rome, two from Spain, one each from Bologna, Ferrara, Venice, Milan, Germany, France, and (alternately) Tuscany or Perugia. It declined in importance when the Signitura Justitiae was set above it as the court of appeal for Italy, and more so as the geographical jurisdiction of the pope was gradually lessened. After the Council of Trent the old arrangements were replaced by the Congregations, permanent committees of cardinals which deal with definite branches of business. The Rota, however, was restored to its functions as supreme court of appeal by Pope Pius X. in 1908 (see Curia Romana).
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