Pope Francis Appoints Bishop Mark to Vatican’s Highest Court


The Holy Father Pope Francis has appointed the Most Reverend Mark L. Bartchak, Bishop of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, to be a member of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura – or the Vatican’s highest court. The appointment is for a five year term, and Bishop Bartchak will continue to serve as Bishop of Altoona-Johnstown.

Bishop Bartchak and the other 11 members will judge cases which are typically appeals of lower court decisions. The Apostolic Signatura is the final court of appeals for cases that come from the Vatican city-state.

Along with Bishop Bartchak, Pope Francis also appointed Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, and Cardinal James Harvey, Archpriest of the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome. William Daniel, Professor of Canon Law at the Catholic University of America, was also among those appointed.

Bishop Bartchak was ordained and installed as the eighth Bishop of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown in 2011. He is a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance. He has assisted the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in various matters.