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Advocate Page


The Role of the Advocate

Advocate: A person appointed by a party to defend his or her point of view before the court. Thus, both Petitioner and Respondent may have an advocate. Ordinarily, if both’ parties agree on the petition, it is sufficient that there be only one advocate to represent both. Each party before the court, whether as Petitioner or Respondent, has a right to an advocate. Ordinarily the advocate will argue for the position of the “client.” However, in ecclesiastical procedure, the advocate is an officer of the court and his or her obligation is the service of truth. Thus, the direction given by Pius XII to defenders is applicable also to advocates, that is, they are not obliged, nor should they advance spurious arguments in favor of their client’s position but, rather, strive to insure that the court arrives at the truth.

Requirements for Becoming a Certified Advocate in the AOD

St. Raymond Peñafort – Patron Saint of Canonists

Raymond of Peñafort is known as the patron of lawyers, particularly canon lawyers. His feast day is January 7.  He was born in Spain in a small town near Barcelona around the year 1175. From his early years, he had special love and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He attended the University of Bologna, where he received doctorates in both civil and canon law. Raymond entered the Dominican order and took his vows at the age of 47.

Raymond was a great promoter of the Sacrament of Confession. He wrote a book called “Summa de Casibus Poenitentiae”. The Pope also asked Raymond to put his canon law background to good use by publishing the “Decretals”, which was a rearrangement and codification of canon law at the time, which was not found in one particular document, but rather in a piecemeal fashion in numerous documents. This massive work stood as the definitive source for canon law for nearly 700 years. He used his research from the Decretals to write a book on penitential discipline relating to marriage, known as his “Summa on Marriage”. St. Raymond was known for his humility, kindness, and sanctity. He incorporated a great deal of penance into his daily life.