In accordance with the rumours heard recently, the faithful and orthodox Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke of St. Louis, a great supporter of tradition and the traditional Mass, was appointed Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura replacing Agostino Cardinal Vallini who in turn succeeded the great Camillo Cardinal Ruini as vicar general of His Holiness for the diocese of Rome, and archpriest of the papal basilica of St. John Lateran.
The Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura is the administrative appellate tribunal of the Holy See and, consequently, the highest judicial authority of the Catholic Church besides the Pope himself. The Prefect is therefore, a kind of Chief Justice of the Catholic Church.
Whereas a Rotal decision could, if not res judicata, be appealed to another turnus of the Rota, there is no right of appeal from the decision of the Signatura (can. 1629 §1 CIC).
This position usually comes with a red hat and the appointment demonstrates the high regard and esteem the Holy Father holds Archbishop Burke and his juridical acumen in Canon Law. This great loss to the people of St. Louis is a great gain for the Universal Church.
Archbishop Burke is a great and visionary prelate who draws numerous vocations to his seminary, established the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem and is a patron of the arts in supporting projects like the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Congrats, Archbishop Burke!