(Extracts of the book Administrative Justice in the Catholic church, by Yves Alain Ducass, Paris 2018, 374 p).
In order to maintain ecclesial communion, the leaders of the Church normally ensure the agreement of affected parties before adopting acts of governance. This is why, in some cases, prior consultation is one of the conditions for the validity of an act. But in practice, leaders do not always take sufficient time for consultation in advance, mostly because it is not always easy to reconcile all points of view, including when a decision involves several actors.
This is the reason why it is inevitable that tensions occur at the promulgation of certain administrative acts. The normal route for the resolution of these tensions is again one of dialogue, when the act is enacted and one of the parties concerned declares that there are difficulties in its application. This may be done in an informal manner, or in application of canon 1734, during the ex gratia recourse which aims for direct conciliation between the two parties concerned, rather than making hierarchical or contentious-administrative recourse.
Authors such as Jean Schlick argue in favor of a greater involvement of the Church during the ex gratia recourse relating to administrative acts:
Can we imagine in the Church an interpretation of the confirmation of an administrative act, which does not incorporate all the conciliation efforts independently of their origin and their insistent repetition, especially when they take the traditional form of an ex gratia recourse? 
Yet, when for one reason or another, the two parties fail to reconcile their points of view, canon 1733 then invites the parties to use « the mediation and effort of wise persons » to find an equitable solution.
Having recalled the importance of prior consultation and direct conciliation a posteriori, we will concentrate, in this chapter, on the practice of mediation to resolve the tensions resulting from administrative acts, and avoid disputes or, at least, allow the parties to reconcile before the decision of the Supreme Tribunal.
First let us observe that the doctrine according to which Christians have a duty to avoid litigation is not new (cf. Mt18, 15-16), and it is not limited to contentious-administrative recourse, since it is mentioned in the section of the code pertaining to general procedures, in canons 1446, and 1713-1715:
Paul Vincent Kasongo analyzed in detail the methods of resolving ecclesial conflicts in the primitive Church (Mt 18, 15-17 and Co 6, 1-8), the resolution of the dispute by transaction or conciliation according to the canonical tradition, the process of finding a compromise between the two parties to the conflict through an equitable solution governed by canon 1446 of the 1983 Code, and finally, the application of the principle of avoiding disputes in marriage trials and in the context of administrative recourse.
In fact, no canon addresses mediation in Part IV on the criminal trial, because canon 1715 excludes mediation when the public good is in question. We find, however, a canon on mediation in Part V of Book VII of the code, devoted to the « procedure in administrative recourse and in the removal or transfer of pastors.” It is canon 1733, which invites the faithful to seek a fair solution using “the mediation and efforts of wise persons. »
One might think that the Supreme Tribunal received a mission to promote the resolution of conflicts through mediation, but it did not. Articles 121 to 125 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus entrust to the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura the responsibility to ensure the proper application of all procedures that contribute to the proper administration of justice in the Church, but they do not refer to mediation:
This Dicastery exercises the function of Supreme Tribunal and ensures the proper administration of justice in the Church.
The same Tribunal, it also obliged: 1° to exercise vigilance over the correct administration of justice…/….
To perform its mission, the Tribunal conducts an annual survey of the courts of the Church, but this investigation does not address in any way administrative justice, in which hierarchical recourses are instructed by the bishops and not by diocesan or interdiocesan Tribunals.
Article 78 of the proper law of the Supreme Tribunal provides for the possible end of a dispute in the course of the trial by a peaceful arrangement between the parties, and it requires the approval of the Congress. It does not specify the role of the Tribunal as a mediator to facilitate the search for solutions.
Nonetheless, the 1986 activity report of the Holy See lists mediation as one of the three major activities of the second section of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura:
In terms of contentious-administrative recourse, the Apostolic Signatura, from the beginning, has been in favor of intense activity of peaceful discussion between the parties so as to avoid disputes. Canon 1446 § 1 of the CIC provides that « all the Christian faithful, and especially bishops, are to strive diligently to avoid litigation among the people of God as much as possible, without prejudice to justice, and to resolve litigation peacefully as soon as possible. » The intervention of the Signatura in this area has allowed for the peaceful resolution of old quarrels; and more particularly the complex controversies that occurred during the Holy Year, in the spirit of reconciliation desired by the Holy Father, and as the Code of Canon Law says in canon 1733, §1. » 
It is surprising that there is little mention of any activity of mediation in the activity reports for following years. A few cases, however, should be noted:
Here is an example of this activity of mediation:
The archivist of the Diocese of Naiera, Spain, filed a recourse concerning ecclesiastical real estate, claimed by both the diocese and a religious congregation. His recourse was rejected, but the Ordinary of the diocese intervened and requested a final decision by the Supreme Tribunal. It invited the parties to seek an agreement at the local level. Discovering that this attempt was not successful, the Tribunal decided to admit to discussion the recourse lodged by the Ordinary.
In the absence of rules laid down by the proper law, we can regret however that sometimes, the Tribunal does not listen to the appeals for mediation which are addressed to it.
The superior of a Carmel phoned a neighboring house, and asked the lady of the house to prevent her husband from going to the daily Mass at Carmel, and his family and friends. They filed an ex gratia recourse, asking for the reasons for his exclusion; but neither the superior of the Carmel nor the Bishop on which it depends would respond. They then filed a hierarchical recourse, and then a contentious-administrative recourse against the unwritten administrative act of the superior and, during the contentious-administrative recourse procedure, they asked the Supreme Tribunal to intervene directly or indirectly (through a Carmelite volunteer) to restore dialogue broken by the willingness of the hierarchy. The Tribunal, however took no account of this request, and made a decision of non-admission of the recourse to the discussion, for obvious lack of foundation.
One can partly explain the refusal of the Supreme Tribunal to be involved in mediation procedures, because mediation should normally take place at the diocesan or national level, to take account of the local culture and particular law.
If we take the example of Senegal, where the procedures of the administrative law of the Church are virtually ignored by the faithful, one finds that the use of mediation, which is part of the African culture, is often spontaneously employed to resolve controversies arising from the exercise of the executive power of the Church:
In canon law, canon 1733 §2 provides for the creation of structures of mediation at the local level:
Can. 1733 § 2. The conference of bishops can determine that each diocese establish in a stable manner an office or council whose function is to seek and suggest equitable solutions according to the norms determined by the conference. If the conference has not ordered this, however, the bishop can establish a council or office of this kind.
Three major types of situations are encountered, according to the Conference of Bishops, which:
Let us see how the situation plays out in reality.
To begin we will make some observations regarding the three main forms of resolving conflicts, alternatives to litigation: arbitration, conciliation and mediation:
Here is an example that shows what it is in practice:
A member of Canonists without Borders was called as a mediator between two parishioners whose feud was “poisoning the parish. » The first meeting was held in the office of the parish priest who acted as a conciliator. Despite being interested in the solution that he proposed, the parties did not accept it. A new meeting was held in the presence of the mediator, and without the conciliator. At its conclusion, one of the parties proposed a constructive solution, but the other party was not yet ready to accept, and so they requested a new mediation session. From these two attempts, it is apparent that one of the interests of mediation as opposed to conciliation is the respect for a period of personal maturity of the parties.
Among others, Jean Donguy concentrated on the application in France of canons 1733 and 1734 relating to mediation boards. Here is an excerpt from his research:
Nothing was put in place [in France] before 1991-1992. In fact it was only at this time that the importance of the number of lay people in the service of the Church led to reflection, which has led to the development of a statute addressing the problems of the rights and duties of employees, with recourse procedures to protect these rights. From the start, some dioceses formed their own councils of mediation based on […] canon 1713, […] The canonical Committee of the Conference of Bishops had to make some clarifications. The Conference of Bishops then announced the establishment in each diocese of councils of mediation, and has established standards to this end.
To explain the origin of the mediation boards in France, Jean Donguy connects it to the labor contracts between the diocesan associations of France and the laity, whom they employ in increasing numbers, in particular to compensate for the shortage of priests.
In the early 1990’s, many diocesan managers were trying to create an ecclesial status for the pastoral leaders whom they were putting in place. In the chapter about withdrawal of the letter of mission, there was the thorny question of how to avoid conflicts, while resolving them in a fair manner in some suitable way. Some had put in place a group of reflection at the service of the pastoral leaders, and provided for mediators who can be chosen from among the members of this group. In order to avoid that decisions of the civil law from being imposed on them, they have sought for solutions within the Church.
In 1993, the General Secretariat of the Episcopate published a booklet on this theme, entitled « Laity Entrusted with a Mission in the Church.” The document proposed that diocesan volunteers put in place a council of mediation, and as a result, 27 dioceses experimented with pilot-projects in 1994 and 1995. They highlight two practical questions not decided by the Episcopal Conference, namely:
On the basis of these experiences, the Conference of the Bishops of France decided, by a vote of the Plenary Assembly on 6 November 1996, that in each diocese a council is to be constituted, to seek equitable solutions, according to the standards established by the Conference. They are « the diocesan councils of mediation » or, as they were sometimes called at that time, mediation groups.
Several dioceses have effectively instituted such mediation councils or groups, integrating or not the preliminary remarks that accompany the decree of the canonical committee of the Conference of Bishops. The first two waves of fifteen dioceses put such a council in place right away, or shortly thereafter. Other waves follow before and after the 24 August 1998, date of the promulgation of the decree of the Conference of Bishops which received the approval of the Roman Curia.
In August 2000, Jean Donguy specified that there still remained three dioceses whose mediation councils were under study, while 21 dioceses had not planned to create one, and 40 decrees of creation of councils « ad experimentum » would expire in six months. The body of designated mediators was composed of 170 persons, including 35% priests, 3 % deacons, 5 % religious, 36% laymen and 21% lay women.
In general, the mediators work voluntarily, while their travel and/or training expenses are borne by the diocese.
In taking stock of the results, Jean Donguy noted:
The use of mediation seems to have been […] little used above all because « it was limited to mediation of labor conflicts. »Leaving aside the other sectors where mediation could be sought, for example associations of chaplains under the French law of 1901, or parish associations, those responsible can be held to be aggrieved by a (written) decision from the diocese or of the parish priest.
Among the positive points in favor of mediation, note the intimate knowledge of the problems in the field, which may allow a return of useful experience to ensure that situations of conflict do not recur for reasons attributable to the ecclesiastical hierarchy.
On November 3, 1998, Olivier Delgrange, secretary of the mediation group of the dioceses of Evry, Nanterre, Pontoise and Versailles, wrote to the four bishops of guardianship to attract their attention to the methods of issuing letters of mission which, « in view of the resulting conflicts, lack the necessary rigor. » 
To find out what has happened to these councils of diocesan mediation, we conducted a quick search, referring to the literature and internet sites of the dioceses.
In 2015 some dioceses, such as Nancy and Toul, announced on their websites an interdiocesan council of mediation and provided a means to contact it. Others, such as the diocese of Saint-Denis, announced the existence of such a council, referring to its object but without specifying whom to contact.
The Church, in the relations between its members and in the decisions of its leaders, must give witness to justice, fairness and the rights of everyone. It has therefore provided that when a person feels aggrieved by a decision made by one in authority, this person – physical or legal – can file a recourse before the competent authority. The council of mediation may be a first step in the search for an equitable solution.
The diocese of Charters limits mediation to the « laity in mission, » writing what to do in case of conflict, but staying at the theoretical level.
If a layman in ecclesial mission is aggrieved – challenging for example the reasons for the withdrawal of his letter of mission – recourse should first of all be made to the closest leaders (pastoral authority, Vicar General, etc.) to achieve, if possible, a conciliation. In case the conciliation fails, one or the other of the parties concerned or even the diocesan authority can resort to the Diocesan Council of Mediation (order of 14 May 1999). The role of this board is to avoid disputes or to avoid them by searching for « a common agreement, a fair solution » according to the provisions of article 1733 §1 of the Code of Canon Law.
As for other dioceses, they publish more or less precise references to mediation boards, or do not publish anything. This evidence, or the absence thereof, does not mean the council does not exist or is inactive. Similarly, the Diocese of Poitiers announced the existence of a provincial council of mediation, while the diocese of Lyon did not reference the council of mediation as one of the councils of the bishop, yet witnesses such as Anne-Bénédicte Hoffner believe that the actual situation is otherwise:
In the dioceses that have them, recourse to the diocesan council of mediation is possible for the employee. Two persons have done this in Lyon, since its creation in 1994. With respect to that of the Ecclesiastical Province of Poitiers, created the same year, it has never been mobilized. Be that as it may, the risk that a dispute be brought someday before a civil council, or even before the criminal court judge (for discrimination, for example) is real.
For more information, it is important to refer to the work of the university institute of training in mediation and negotiation (Ifomene) in Paris, and in particular those of:
In addition to the types of conflicts that he illustrated by numerous examples, Etienne Rozé recalled that the organization of structured mediation is in progress within both the Church and society in general. He considered that one of the main contributions of the mediator is his belief that a solution is possible, and that mediation within the Church is similar to the current type of mediation between businesses, in which it is appropriate to integrate ethics and applicable rules, in this case theology and canon law. He suggested that at the diocesan, interdiocesan and national levels, the experience with the type of mediation put in place for religious (SAM) should be explored. The press presented an example without giving the results:
In the diocese of Le Puy en Velay, the magazine Riposte catholique wrote that many priests and religious communities leave the diocese, and that even in circles very close to the bishop, the suffering is real and the anger contained… but barely. Some diocesan faithful wrote to the author: « I do not know what to think of this article, it looks like a war between old and modern… it is sad. » To restore dialogue between the bishop and his clergy, the former rector of the cathedral of Le Puy, consecrated auxiliary bishop of Lyon, would have been called to the rescue to serve as mediator.
With regard to Catholic education, its 2013 statutes contain Article 83, devoted to mediation for the resolution of problems, while this article was not in the modified statutes of 1992.
In case of disagreement, even crisis, people can be accompanied in the form of mediation. It is a voluntary and confidential process guided by an independent and impartial third party; the decisions and agreements involved pertain only to the persons involved in the mediation.
It must be said that, in the meantime, many conflicts have seen the light of day, forcing the Conference of the Bishops of France to intervene on 30 September 1999 in these terms:
In June 1998, at the request of the Permanent Council, the Secretary General of Catholic Education sent to the bishops a sheet on the withdrawal of a letter of mission of a head of the establishment. New reflections, continued in the course of this year with the Roman offices, allow us to address to you today a final note … to the extent that that is possible. It indicates with great precision the procedure to follow. I would like to insist: this is a process of ecclesial law, not of civil law. There are disputes between authorities of diocesan catholic education and the heads….of institutions that make reference to civil legislation that we bishops should arbitrate, turning incorrectly to canonical procedure. We must be watchful, when our collaborators would be tempted to use the ecclesial forum as an « ultimate weapon » to defend their cause. It is a matter of justice and also of good sense. With my fraternal respect.
The attached note of the General Secretariat of Catholic education included a paragraph on mediation, written in these terms:
Outside of canonical procedure, there are diocesan mediation councils: Some dioceses have implemented a diocesan mediation council. It has to be emphasized that it is not a judicial institution, but only has the mission to find, outside of any contentious procedure, a consensus that could resolve the conflict. The referral to a council of mediation does not interrupt the time for recourse, which is still running, and thus could be exhausted.
Currently, these guidelines give rise to an exemplary achievement:
Based on an experiement initiated in 2004, the General Secretariat of the Catholic Education put in place a group of institutional mediation involving professional mediators, in particular to intervene when tensions arise between a diocesan director of education and the head of an institution, or between the head of an institution and its employees, or regarding a challenge to the relocation of a school, or a contested election of a board of directors of the College. The day of mediation is priced at $530.
With respect to mediation for consecrated persons, we have referred in Chapter 6 to the « Welcome Mediation Service for Religious Life and Community » (SAM), created in 2001 by the Conference of Bishops of France.
Outside of France, Kurt Martens made a very detailed study in the late 1990’s about legal protection in the Church, with many developments regarding mediation practices. He distinguished four situations:
Sometimes, the obligation is reduced to a recommendation;
Martens also provided concrete details on the situation in several countries, and we will summarize his remarks.
In 1989, the Episcopal Conference of the Netherlands adopted a decree on the creation of diocesan councils for conflicts resulting from administrative decisions. […] In December 1989, shortly after the promulgation of this decree, the Conference decided to revoke it, apparently because of two factors: first, it was believed that ad hoc solutions were satisfactory in some cases, and secondly, it was of the opinion that no episcopal conference had introduced such councils.
Despite this change, Kurt Martens reports that only four of the seven dioceses of the Netherlands put in place such a council, but apparently they were successful, since for 1999-2000 approximately half of the thirty cases studied had a positive result.
On 19 November 1975 in Germany, a synod of the dioceses approved a decree on mediation, arbitration and the solution of administrative conflicts.
In 1994 in Belgium, the interdiocesan pastoral council IPB requested the creation of mediation councils. Since the bishops agreed on their usefulness, standards were published and their creation was announced in 1996 for the Flemish dioceses and for the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels. In practice, only the Diocese of Bruges and the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels had put in place these Councils by 1997.
In 1969 in the United States, the story began with a double desire to increase the credibility of the Church in matters of law, and to « better protect the faithful against ecclesiastical authorities.” In this regard, the annual congress of the Canon Law Society of America (CSLA) adopted in October 1969 a report on fair procedures (due process) based on canons 1925 et 1929 of the 1917 Code. It was presented to the Episcopal Conference, which would then submit it to the Holy See. Finally, Blessed Pope Paul VI approved it with a few amendments, and so the report was published in 1971.
After the promulgation of the 1983 Code, the CSLA reviewed procedures of « due process” during its annual convention, based on the experience gained during twelve years of practice. It showed that « due process » was introduced gradually in half of the dioceses and a few religious institutes, with a majority of cases resolved out of a thousand cases addressed. The 1968 report was then revised in 1991, in order to describe three procedures for the resolution of conflicts: conciliation, arbitration and the Administrative Tribunal. Experimentation took place 1993-1995 in the Dioceses of Dallas and Portland for conciliation and arbitration. On the basis of a dozen cases treated, the evaluation highlighted a triple need:
Another experiment was conducted during the same period regarding the exercise of an Administrative Tribunal. The Diocese of Milwaukee examined four cases, and resolved two of them. The diocese of Saint-Paul-Minneapolis judged only one case, and the Archbishop annulled the decision. Informed of these results, the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura was in favor of the American initiative, but pointed out the need for approval by the Apostolic See to create an Administrative Tribunal of first instance in a country or a diocese. It followed that the procedure of American Administrative Tribunals was transformed into a « Court of Equity, » by limiting it to a sophisticated form of hierarchical recourse.
In Great Britain and Wales, in 1973 the Assembly of Bishops approved a report of the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland. This report, inspired by that of the United States, provided for a mediation procedure, in order to resolve potential conflicts between the members of the Church, indicating in the preamble that these conflicts mainly occurred between the faithful, rather than between the faithful and the authorities. The procedure, which was friendly and informal, was to appoint in each diocese at least two conciliators, in reality mediators, whose job it would be to reconcile the parties in question.
In addition to the work of Kurt Martens, we found other experiences of mediation or arbitration through our reading and meetings.
Similarly in the Netherlands,
Six bishops who enacted the status of pastoral care workers installed an arbitration committee. It includes ten members: four appointed by the Bishops, and four appointed by the organizations representing the pastoral workers. The members designated shall also appoint a chairman and a vice-president outside their group.
In Canada, the bishops sought to change the tendency among the faithful to make recourse to the civil courts, without attempting to obtain justice within the Church. Here is what the Canadian Canon Law Society had to say:
Through the years, the question of the protection of the rights of the faithful has been found to be at the forefront of [Canadian] canonical thought. The possibility of tackling this problem, either by the establishment of an administrative tribunal or by other means, was studied on several occasions. […] The Society has agreed not to require the establishment of an administrative tribunal, but rather to put in place an office for mediation, conciliation and arbitration. If the project is approved, it will still take a lot of work to establish protocols for the task, for the recruitment of staff and for the successful functioning of this office.
As an example, the Diocese of Montreal created a diocesan tribunal ad experimentum, but finally abandoned it for the following reasons:
Instead, the diocese put in place an ombudsman, with a procedure for dealing with cases, so as to reduce the caseload of the Curia and the bishop.
Since we have no extensive study, we will do well to draw other conclusions, finding that the mediation procedure generally works when it is put in place correctly, but it is a complex procedure that is not a priority.
Since ecclesiastical mediation is not operational in many dioceses, and yet is useful to prevent conflicts, let us see whether it is possible to draw useful lessons from the experiences of others.
According to mediation professionals, mediation develops because:
Most of the systems of conflict resolution are based on authority […] but authority has limits in contemporary society. The mediator, therefore, is not an authority: he resolves nothing, does not impose anything, prohibits little, and always ensures the freedom of the parties.
Concretely, mediation may take very different forms allowing parties in conflict to overcome the past, by qualifying it with shared words, and to reconstruct the future by finding an acceptable solution or at least, by restoring relationships that will enable them to advance in a constructive manner.
However, the role of mediator cannot be improvised. He has to learn the advantages and the limits as well as the proven principles, the necessary steps, the concrete techniques, nuanced practices and pitfalls.
The methods of mediation are varied, but they require a common will of the parties to find a solution with the help of a mediator. Additionally, they meet a few basic principles that the parties first have to accept:
For a successful mediation it is necessary not to burn bridges, taking care that:
Many countries and organizations recommend mediation as a means for the resolution of conflicts.
With regard to Europe, a directive of 21 May 2008 focused “on certain aspects of mediation in civil and commercial matters,” while a code of good conduct of the mediator was published on 4 July 2014 by the European Commission. Here are a few excerpts from the preamble to the Directive:
In May 2000, the Council adopted conclusions on alternative methods of settling disputes under civil and commercial law, and stated that the establishment of basic principles in this area constituted an essential step […] Mediation can provide a solution to controversies that is economical, extrajudicial, and fast […] Member states should be able to refuse to make a binding agreement only if the content of the agreement is contrary to the law […]
In 2009, the European Grouping of the Magistrates for the Mediation (GEMME) organized its first international foundations of judicial mediation, where it appeared that:
in the history of humanity, most of the countries of the world inserted mediation into their judicial system. […] At the outcome of this historic event, the participants wished to remain in contact, and created the International Conference of Mediation for Justice.
In France, mediation is a practice used in education, trade, administration, banks, insurance companies, social organizations, etc. It is included in the judicial system in civil, criminal, and administrative matters, and envisaged for criminal cases. In order to facilitate a relationship, to transmit information, to ameliorate suffering, or to put an end to a dispute, mediation has become, at the end of the 20th century, a point of reference.
For example, the French Code of Civil Procedures includes an entire title devoted to mediation. In administrative law, the Council of State organized a symposium on 17 June 2015, called « Mediation and Conciliation before Administrative Jurisdiction » in partnership with the Order of Lawyers of Paris and the European Grouping of the Magistrates for the Mediation (GEMME – France), whose report begins with this statement:
Even if they respond to increasing and unknown needs, mutual-agreement procedures have been insufficiently developed in administrative matters.
With regard to practical implementation, the Direction of Legal and Administrative Information (DILA) published a series of information sheets about alternative methods for the settlement of conflicts (MARC) by specifying that they « are intended to respond to these malfunctions of justice. »
Obstruction, slowness, cost, complexity, distance are some of the criticisms made regularly by litigants against a judicial order which no longer has the necessary material means to cope with the increase in litigation. […] At the opposite of the court trial, the MARC’s allow for a mastery of the handling of conflicts, and express the desire to reach an amicable solution to the dispute.
A study conducted in 2003 told us that at this time, nine-tenths of the references to mediators came directly from the parties, and 58 % of the cases assigned to justice conciliators in 2003 led to conciliation. Consultations with a view toward conciliation have increased by 8 % per year on average since 1993, and in 2003 they represented 118,700 businesses. Compared to the number of cases dealt with by the courts (489,000 cases completed in 2003), the activity of justice conciliators is far from negligible, even if we think that all the cases in which they are directly involved would likely not have been presented in court or before local judges. The study also told us that:
The justice conciliators are most often men (86 % of conciliators), and they are relatively old, since 80 % of them are over the age of 60, and 35% are over 70. […] 86% of the conciliators are currently retired […] a little more than half of the conciliators working in 2003 had occupied these roles for less than five years, 30% for 5-10 years, and nearly 20% for over ten years.
While conventional mediation presents encouraging results, it is not the same for mediation in criminal cases. In effect,
The French Directorate of Criminal Affairs and Pardons notes that « criminal mediation remains stable (34,865 in 2004 as opposed to 34,077 in 2003). Often used in litigation related to « personal conflicts,” mediation in criminal cases, in the face of the increasing diversity of the so-called third way measures, is considered more expensive, even less successful in its results, and is marked by a failure-rate that is not negligible and by delays in execution that are more consistent. […] In fact, the 16 March 2004 pamphlet reserved its use for offenses committed in close relationships.
Finally, family mediation is the subject of specific provisions in the French Civil Code (exercise of parental authority, divorce), but it remains little used. In effect, a study of the Department of Justice shows that in 2003, family court judges had recourse to family mediation measure in 0.7 % of family affairs with minor children that they have had to deal with.
Consequently, French professionals gathered in the Professional Chamber of Mediation and Negotiation published a manifesto for the right to professional mediation, of which this is an extract:
The object of this Manifesto is to adopt professional mediation as a prerequisite to judicial action in civil, commercial, and labor matters as a fundamental right. This new law, resulting from the evolution of personal development, allows for the exercise of free decision. It is associated with a duty to respond favorably to a request for mediation before any judicial procedure. This determination is the outcome of the observation that there is an alternative to « conflict management » which maintains adversity. This alternative is the resolution-track through the promotion of others.
Additionally, they considered that the conditions necessary for the implementation of the right to mediation are: a professionalism based on appropriate training, a code of ethics, and a system of mediators who are independent of the authorities involved.
On 11 September 2014, the French Minister of Justice presented the main themes of the judicial reform »J21 – Justice of the 21st Century » to the heads of court gathered at the Court of Recourse in Paris, and then to the trade-union organizations welcomed at the Chancery. This project is structured around three axes aimed at constructing a justice that is closer to citizens, and more effective and more protective of them. Mediation is classified in the second category of promoting alternative modes of dispute resolution, as indicated by the Minister of Justice:
Justice has for its first mission the appeasement of social relations. Conciliation and mediation are by nature designed to contribute, but the structures which propose them are disparate and poorly coordinated. In order to identify and then to simplify the existing system, to define the status and role of mediators and conciliators, and determine the method of funding settlements of conflicts, an Interministerial Mission for the evaluation of offers of mediation and conciliation will soon be put in place. […] This assessment will help to initiate a national public policy which is currently non-existent, which can be animated by a National Council of Conciliation and Mediation. It should better integrate justice conciliators with courts.
As to whether mediation is applicable to administrative law, the President of the Bar of Paris, Ms. Christiane Féral-Schuhl, responded positively in her budget for 2013:
Again, mediation has its place before the Administrative Court, in a relationship of constant force between those administered to, and the Administration.
In conclusion, we hold that the practice of mediation is useful for the resolution of conflicts in civil society, and it allows for the relief of congestion in courts other than criminal ones.
In other Christian denominations that do not have canon law and a structured judicial system like that of the Catholic Church, the methods of amicable resolution of conflicts, such as mediation, are often more developed. Here is an example taken from a symposium which was attended by the Church of the Awakening of Villeurbanne, where Pastor Angelo Pace has launched training on Relational Health.
The only place where there is no conflict is in the cemetery. What is specific to the Christian approach is not the absence of conflict, but rather the way to resolve it. […] Talking to each other is often sufficient to resolve problems. It must be encouraged. […] If dialogue is not enough, and the positions become irreconcilable, mediation becomes a solution.
Jean-Luc Leibe a member of the Prevention and Management of Conflicts Service within the Baptist Federation, asserted:
Mediation has always existed in all times and in all environments and societies. Traditional societies have maintained a centuries-old tradition of mediation. The Church finds traces of its practice since its origins. […] It has always been that the Bishops confided traditionally to priests a mission of mediation between their parishioners. […] It is in the USA and Canada that mediation emerged in the 1970’s, firstly in the consumer sector, and then in judicial and family disputes… These included, the example, the mediation program in Ontario (Canada), conducted by the Mennonite churches, called the “Victim Offender Program” in the area of criminal justice. Thanks to this program, victims and aggressors are trying to speak to each other. But it is in the USA (Atlanta), where we find the first practices of mediation (1974) in the formal framework of judicial mediation-conciliation. Mediation took root in Europe in the 1980’s. All fields, including religious, are aware of the expansion of this phenomenon. Thus, the Code of Canon Law, promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1983, suggests that every diocese put in place an institution of conflict resolution (canon 1733). This achievement, reflecting the Church’s theology of conflicts after Vatican II, finds its application in the 24 August 1998 decree of the Conference of the Bishops of France, defining « diocesan mediation councils.” It is in this period that the news highlighted some mediators. An example was the pastor Jacques Steward, President of the FPS, in 1988, who was one of the mediators in the conflict in New Caledonia. On the island of Ouvéa, we find Michel Rocard, Prime Minister at the time, who had the mission of restoring confidence between the belligerents.
This testimony reveals another aspect of mediation as contained in the Social Doctrine of the Church. It invites civil society to prevent and resolve conflicts. The Catholic Church is not alone in this area; it would be enough to cite only the mediation of Pope Leo XIII between the Armenians and the Ottoman Empire, or, more recently, that of Pope Francis between Israelis and Palestinians. In addition to the Holy See, Joseph Ndi-Okalla mentions the role of the San Egidio Community in the field of mediation. It has largely contributed to the resolution of internal conflict in Mozambique, by promoting the signing of a peace agreement between the warring parties on 14 October 1992 on the premises of the Community, after 10 years of civil war. In Algeria, the Community created a political platform in 1994, bringing political leaders together.
In addition, mediation or conciliation are familiar to Protestants, as can be seen in the Reformed Evangelical Church of the canton of Vaud, in Switzerland:
Active since 2010 within our church, the mediation committee is composed of three members trained in mediation, who are appointed for five years. The Commission is at the disposal of lay members and church ministers in the event of conflicts, tensions, issues of communication within a parish, a parish council, a regional council, or another body in link with the Reformed Evangelical Church in Vaud. Mediation is a voluntary process by which the mediators accompany the people toward a solution developed in the presence of the parties. This service of the Church is free and we will come to your villages, to your parishes. For an initial meeting, you can contact us by phone or by e-mail to simply be listened to, or ask for an individual or group session. After this meeting, the Commission will be in contact for a second time with the party or parties in conflict.
But let us return to the heart of our subject, focusing on the prevention and resolution of conflicts internal to the Catholic Church. In his 2002 article on legal protection in the Church, Kurt Martens drew these conclusions:
In some countries, it was understood that the absence of administrative tribunals in the Church must be corrected. That is why we can see that projects are being implemented everywhere. But as permission must be obtained from the Holy See, and more particularly from the Apostolic Signatura, to install a new system of courts, we look for alternatives. In practice, this means that it is limited to projects encouraging conciliation or mediation, based on the free will of the parties concerned. Not only is there risk of getting bogged down in lengthy procedures, but also that of standing beside a tribunal having the jurisdiction to require religious authority to respect the law. And is it not after all an application of the principle patere legem quam ipse fecisti? 
After having rejected the practice of arbitration by a third party who may not dictate to the bishops, we have found that mediation was a track allowing effectively « to avoid as much as possible disputes within the People of God, and to resolve them as soon as possible in a peaceful manner, » is as recommended by canon 1446. So that this develops harmoniously in the Church, Etienne Rozé recommended:
 Canon law is filled with procedures requiring prior consultation of the presbyteral council, the finance council, of pastoral council, etc.
 This is the case, for example, during the reorganization of parishes within the diocese, while the total number of priests decreases.
 Schlick (Jean), « Des limites de la justice administrative dans l’Église catholique » Praxis juridique et religion, 3, 1986, p. 127-135.
 One can think of the lack of time on the part of the one responsible, the lack of consideration or of mutual trust and confidence, the existence of higher interests which impose a secret detrimental to a good agreement, ignorance of the law, the intransigence of one of the parties, etc.
 Can. 1733 §1. Whenever a person considers himself or herself aggrieved by a decree, it is particularly desirable that the person and the author of the decree avoid any contention and take care to seek an equitable solution by common counsel, possibly using the mediation and effort of wise persons to avoid or settle the controversy in a suitable way.
§2. The conference of bishops can determine that each diocese establish in a stable manner an office or council whose function is to seek and suggest equitable solutions according to the norms determined by the conference. If the conference has not ordered this, however, the bishop can establish a council or office of this kind.
 Can. 1446 §1. All the Christian faithful, and especially bishops, are to strive diligently to avoid litigation among the people of God as much as possible, without prejudice to justice, and to resolve litigation peacefully as soon as possible.
 In secular law, Charles Jarosson defines it as: a variety of conciliations, which consists also in a process of resolution of disputes based on the search for an accord between the parties, but that requires the participation of a third party, the mediator..
 Cf. Can. 1659 §1. If the attempt at reconciliation according to the norm of can. 1446, §2 proved useless and the judge thinks that the libellus has some foundation, the judge is to order within three days by a decre appended to the bottom of the libellus that a copy of the petition be communicated to the respondent, giving to the latter the opportunity to send a written response to the tribunal chancery within fifteen days.
 Can. 1713 In order to avoid judicial contentions an agreement or reconciliation is employed usefully, or the controversy can be committed to the judgment of one or more arbitrators
 Greater consistency would be welcome between the terms used in canons 1446 and 1713, since, in my opinion, reconciliation or conciliation is the objective, while mediation or arbitration is the means to achieve it.
 In arbitration, the parties are bound by the decision of the arbitrator, in contrast to mediation.
 In secular law, Charles Jarosson defines it as: a process for the resolution of disputes based on the search for an agreement between the parties… In the glossary of IFOMENE, 25 March 2008. According to the new Code of Civil Procedure, Art 127: « The parties can reconcile by themselves or on the initiative of a judge, throughout the proceedings. » We reject the term “conciliator,” cited by Jarosson to avoid confusion with that of mediator. Jean-Pierre Bonafé-Schmitt in La médiation, une autre justice, ed. Syros-Alternatives, Coll Alternatives sociales, 1992, defines it as « more often a formal process by which a neutral third party attempts, by organizing an exchange between the parties, to enable them to compare their points of view and to search, with his help, for a solution to the conflict. »
 Can. 1714 For an agreement, a compromise, and an arbitrated judgment, the norms selected by the parties or, if the parties have selected none, the law laid down by the conference of bishops, if there is such a law, or the civil law in force in the place where the agreement is entered into is to be observed.
 Kasongo (Paul Vincent), “Normes canoniques sur les moyens d’éviter les litiges et leur application dans le contexte culturel du Congo Kinshasa,|” thesis defended on 26 January 2016 at Louvain. Summary in Studia canonica, 51/1, 2017, p. 284-285.
 Cf. supra.
 Pastor bonus, No 121.
 Pastor bonus, No 124, 1°.
 Mamberti (Cardinal Dominique), Circular Letter on court activity, Rome, 30 July 2016. The initial questionnaire of 1971 (AAS 63  480-486) was revised in 2016.
 ASS (1985), p. 1272, translated from Italian.
 ASS (1976), p. 543, translated from Italian.
 ASS (1978) p. 625 translated from Italian.
 Cf. Prot 12230/80 CA, Ministerium Justitiae, op. cit. p. 197.
 Testimonies collected at Dakar by the author.
 The definitions can vary from one author to another.
 Donguy (Jean), Application en France des canons 1733 et 1734 relatifs aux Conseils de médiation, canon law license thesis defended on June 2, 2000 at the Faculty of Canon Law at the Catholic Institute of Paris, 150 p.
 Donguy (Jean), op. cit. p. 8.
 Donguy (Jean), op. cit. p. 27.
 Laity entrusted with a mission in the Church, French document issued by the Secretariat of the National Conference of the Bishops of France, 1993 edition, pp. 15-17.
 Five dioceses of the Poitou-Charentes-Limousin administrative regions; as well as 22 dioceses of the Central East and Midi apostolic regions
 Chalons en Champagne, Langres, Reims and Troyes for the Northern Apostolic Region; Carcassonne, Albi, Auch, Cahors, Montauban, Pamiers, Perpignan, Rodez, Saint-Flour, Tarbes and Toulouse for the Apostolic Region of Midi; Poitiers, Angoulême, La Rochelle, Limoges and Tulle for the Apostolic Region of the Southwest.
 Amiens, Arras, Beauvais, Cambrai, Evreux, Le Havre, Lille, Rouen and Soisson for the Apostolic Region of the North; Agen, Aire et Dax, Bayonne-Lescar and Olon, Bordeaux, Perigueux for the Apostolic Region of the Southwest, Coutances-Avranches for the Apostolic Region of the West.
 Cf. Pastor Bonus, Art 82: The Congregation [for Bishops] …receives the acts of [episcopal conferences] and, in consultation with the dicasteries concerned, it examines the decrees which require the recognitio of the Apostolic See.
 Angers, Luçon, Nantes
 Ajaccio, Aix, Bayeux, Créteil, Digne, Fréjus-Toulon, Gap, Marseille, Meaux, Nice, Saint-Denis, Strasbourg, Vannes, as well as the Apostolic Centre Diodece, ie. Blois, Bourges, Chartres, Moulins, Nevers, Orléans, Sens and Tours.
 Donguy (Jean), op. cit. p. 114.
 Donguy (Jean), op. cit. Annexe II.
http://saint-denis.catholique.fr/monseigneur-pascal-delannoy/nominations/le-conseil-de-mediation consulted on 11 February 2015.
 Pansard (Michel), Les laïcs en mission ecclésiale dans le diocèse de Chartes, www.diocese-chartres.com/fichiers/officiel/STATUTS-LME_01-2011.pdf Consulted on 8 October 2010.
 During a search carried out in 2015, it is clear that some sites, like that of the Diocese of Digne, published the decree for the establishment of the mediation council, without comment. Others indicate whom to contact, such as Pamiers, Couserans and Mirepoix, or Angers which cites six parish-priest mediators. Others, such as La Rochelle and Saintes, Coutances and Avranches confine themselves to citing the existence of such a council before the bishop, without giving information or specific contacts. Still others, such as Poitiers, mention this provincial council in the directory of the diocese, but not on its website.
 The site of the diocese of Lyon makes reference to Council of the Laity in Mission, whose functions do not mention mediation, by publishing the March 1, 2007 decree ad experimentum of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, http://lyon.catholique.fr/?Le-Conseil-des-laics-en-mission
 Hoffner (Anne-Bénédicte), L’Église et le gouvernement cherchent un statut pour les laïcs, La Croix, 28 mai 2008.
 His work is discussed in Chapter 6 relating to justice for consecrated persons.
 Rozé (Etienne) Structures diocésaines, paroisses et médiations – réflexions à partir de la situation du diocèse catholique de Nancy et Toul, thesis for the university degree of mediator, Catholic Institute of Paris, IFOMENE, promotion 2014-15.
 Salon Beige 9 juillet 2017 ; Riposte catholique, 10 July 2017.
 Statutes on Catholic education in France, promulgated by the Conference of the Bishops of France, 14 May 1992, supplemented, as amended, and promulgated by the Permanent Council of the Episcopal Conference on 11 March 1996 as amended by the CNEC on 23 October 1999, and approved by the Bishops of France, then Statutes of Catholic education in France of 1 June 1993.
 Coloni (Michel), Bishop of Dijon, President of the Bishops’ Commission on Education, Life and Faith of the Youth, Chairman of the Bishops’ Committee of Academia and University, letter to the Bishops of France, Dijon, 10 June 1999.
 General Secretariat of Catholic Education, withdrawal of the mission of the head of an establishment, note SG/99.1223, Paris, August 1999.
 Martens (Kurt), la protection juridique dans l’Église : les tribunaux administratifs, la conciliation et du due Process, in Studia canonica, 36 (2002), p. 225-252.
 Martens (Kurt) cite les trois pays du Salvador, des Philippines et du Paraguay.
 Martens (Kurt) cite l’Argentine, le Nigéria, le Panama et les Pays-Bas
 This is the case in Bolivia, Ecuador, Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guatemala, India, Italy, Malta, Mexico, Peru, Sri Lanka and Venezuela.
This is the case in particular in Melbourne in Australia; Kildare and Leighlin, Ferns and Clogher in Ireland; and Aachen, Erfurt, Passau and Würzburg in Germany.
 Martens (Kurt), op. cit. p. 241.
 Martens (Kurt), Administrative Procedures in the Roman Catholic Church, Difficulties and Challenges in Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanesienes, 76 (2000), p. 354-380.
 Cf. Matthews (Kevin), « The Development and Future of the Administrative Tribunal », Studia Canonica, XVIII, (1984), p. 86. Cf. Fora abitrii Conciliationis
 Martens (Kurt), op. cit. p. 243-249.
 Martens (Kurt), La protection juridique dans l’Église : les tribunaux administratifs, la conciliation et le due process, in Studia canonica, 36/1 2002, p. 243.
 Can. 1925 § 1 As it is very desirable that the faithful avoid conflicts among themselves, the judge must urge them, when a contentious issue regarding a private interest is submitted to be decided by way of judgment, to finish the conflict by a transaction, if some hope of agreement remains.
§ 2 The judge can meet this duty before the parties are called to justice, or as soon as they have appeared, or at any other time when it will seem more appropriate to do so more effectively. An attempted transaction.
 Can. 1929: To avoid judicial cases, the parties may also conclude a convention, by which the conflict is handed over to the judgment of one or several people, or settle the question according to the rules of the law, that they treat according to equity; the first are called ‘Arbiters’, the latter ‘Arbitrators’.
 Nihil obstat for the due process, in The Jurist, 32, (1972), p. 291-292.
 Episcopal Conference of England and Wales, Conciliation procedure, April 1975, Canon Law Digest, 8, 1020-1030.
 Van der Helm (Ad), « Un clergé parallèle ? », Strasbourg, Cerdic, 1993, p.187-188/403.
 Interview conducted on 16 January 2015, at the day of study of the Institute of Canon Law of Strasbourg on the associative life in the Church. www.droitcanon.com/Colloque_Associations_%20janvier%202015.pdf
 We do not fail to notice the analogy with the numerous recourses against the decisions of non-admission to the discussion made by the Secretary or the Congress of the Supreme Tribunal.
 Pekar Lempereur (Alain), Saler (Jacques), Colson (Aurélien), Les méthodes de la médiation, Paris, Dunod 2008, 272 p..
 Directive 2008/52/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, the Official Journal of the European Union of 24 May 2008, p. 136/3 to 136/8.
 Title VI: Conciliation and Mediation, Art. 127 to 131-15.
 Poutet (Christiane), « L’activité des conciliateurs de justice en 2003 », Infostat Justice No78, Paris November 2004.
 www.mediateurs.pro/ accessed 16 February 2015.
 Viart (Jean-Paul), Médiation et Justice : bilan d’une année prolifique www.affiches-parisiennes.com/mediation-et-justice-bilan-d-une-annee-prolifique-3627.html#ixzz3T24tWDJ9
 Ott (Hervé), Schweitzer (Luis), Rognon (Frédéric), reported by Bénévent Tosseri, in “Les protestants mettent les conflits sur la table,” in La Croix, n° 40962, 28 November 2017.
 Leibe (Jean-Luc), pastor of the Baptist Evangelical Church (FEEBF) in Grenoble, and holder of a DESS in mediation (Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne).
 Leibe (Jean-Luc), « Le temps de la médiation, un espoir de réparation ? » Les cahiers de l’école pastorale, n° 79 – 1st Quarter 2011.
 Ruyssen (Georges-Henri), La Santa Sede e i massacri degli Armeni 1894-1896, Edizione Orientalia Cristiana, Pontificio Istituto Orientale, Roma 2012, 274 p.
 Following the failure of mediation by the US Secretary of State John Kerry, who did not spare his efforts over nine months (August 2013-April 2014) to obtain a peace agreement between the two parties, Pope Francis has invited Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas to come to pray with him at the Vatican, 8 June 2014.
 Ndi-Okalla (Joseph), Le deuxième synode africain face aux défis socio-économiques et éthiques du continent, Karthala Editions, 2009, p. 189.
 Ott (Hervé) deplores the fact that one generally sees conciliation rather than mediation.
 Cf Martens (Kurt), « Protection of Rights: Experiences with hierarchical recourse and possibilities for the Future », The Jurist, 69 (2009) p. 646-702.
 The phrase comes from Roman law, and can be translated as « You suffer the consequences of your own law. »
 Toxé (Philippe), « Quel principe de légalité en droit canonique », L’année canonique LVI, 2014-2015, p.234.