CANON LAW SOCIETY OF AMERICA
The 2002 convention in Cincinnati, on October 7-10, looks like it will be one of our larger conventions with four hundred registrants already known by mid-August. Likewise the two pre-convention workshops, October 6 and 7, will be well attended. At present we have more than 47 people signed up for the marriage workshop and 18 people for the civil employment workshop. If you have not yet sent in your registration, please contact the Office of the Executive Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Cincinnati 2002 convention will have exhibitors present for the attendees to meet and consult. These exhibitors include:
The Cincinnati 2002 convention is also honored to have sponsors for various items and activities this year. Sponsorship is one way to help provide services requested by participants and stay within our budgets. We are deeply grateful to the following people for their support of the 64th annual convention of the CLSA.
Another innovation at the Cincinnati 2002 convention is to track the
possible attendees at individual sessions in order to assure sufficient room
seating as well as handouts for any particular session. The General
Convention Chair receives a weekly update on possible session attendance so
that we can accommodate participants without overcrowding.
Rev. Kevin E. McKenna, JCD
The last few months much of my time as President has been spent, like many members of the Society, in dealing with the crisis that emerged involving sexual misconduct of clergy and church personnel. More recently, the focus has been on the legal and pastoral issues that confront canonists as a result of the Charter and Essential Norms that were passed by the bishops at their June meeting in Dallas. I have spoken with a number of reporters from various media, written op-ed pieces and articles for various publications, and worked with a taskforce that is helping to plan a Presidential Hearing on this topic at our convention in Cincinnati. I have also, like many members of the Society, been involved personally with the issue in my home Diocese of Rochester which like so many dioceses has struggled about how to deal effectively and pastorally with a horrific tragedy.
The Board of Governors is working towards providing resources including manuals and workshops that can hopefully assist our canonists as they work to help their bishops in the task that lies before us as a result of the new norms for handling sexual misconduct issues. Hopefully, as a result of the convention, further tools and resources will become available to assist us in dealing with all people and components of this delicate and complicated issue.
In the midst of this crisis, I have frequently referred back to an important document produced by our Society. It gives no detailed procedures or canon references. Rather, it provides our rationale and a vision for what we do and why we do our ministry as canonists. The Code of Professional Responsibility was adopted by the Canon Law Society of America in October of 1983 at the 45th Annual General Meeting for an experimental period of three years. It was revised and later adopted at the 45th Annual General Meeting (it is printed on pp. 203-210 of the 2001 Membership Directory and can also be accessed on this website by clicking here). Included in it are the ideals for which the canonist aspires. They include growing in Christian virtue so that personal defects may not interfere with the course of justice (I, A, 1). The canonist also strives to be zealous for justice, aware that the dignity and fundamental rights of each person are to be held inviolable (I, A, 2). We are also called to integrity in the pursuit of justice and the fulfillment of whatever office in the Church we might have (I, A, 3). Likewise, we are called to temper the rigors of the law according to the demands of the Spirit of love in each situation (I, A, 4). The canonist is also challenged to be continually updated, constantly acquiring and developing professional competence (I, A, 5).
We are also responsible for making sure that all members of the Church are aware of their rights and duties, and must make every reasonable effort to correct misinformation about the substance of procedures of Church law (I, B, 1). We are also called to assist in and support the improvement and development of Church law and procedure (I, B, 2).
By way of mandate of this Code of Professional Responsibility,
members of the Society are in a unique position to be of assistance to the
Church at this critical time. Through the charism of the canonical vocation,
may our efforts in mutual collaboration with all members of the Church help
to foster and promote justice and love in the public life of the Church.
The CLSA extends warm congratulations to the Rev. Kenneth Laverone, OFM,
recipient of the 2001 Canon Law Society of America Scholarship Award.
This year's recipient is member of the Order of Friars Minor of the Province
of Santa Barbara, California. Over the last 23 years he has served in
canonical ministry for the Diocese of Monterey. Our recipient holds an M.Div.
from St. Patrick Seminary in Theology as well as an M.A. in Theology from the
Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA. Over the past twenty years he has
held a variety of ministerial positions in the Diocese of Monterey.
Proficient in Spanish as well as Italian, Father Laverone will pursue his
canonical studies at the Pontifical College of St. Thomas (Angelicum) in
A Tribunal Expert is available for work in the Southwest of the USA. Fifteen years experience with the Metropolitan Tribunal and Provincial Court of Appeals in Chicago. Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Loyola University of Chicago, with expertise in Marriage and Family Therapy. Twenty years experience with Catholic Charities of Chicago. Arizona Certified Marriage/Family Therapist. with offices in Tucson and Flagstaff, Arizona, and willing to travel. Recommendations available upon request. Contact Dr. Irene Gram, Ph.D., 425 W. Paseo Redondo, Suite 5-F, Tucson, AZ 85701-8260, USA; telephone 520-622-3034; E-mail email@example.com
In the fall of 2002, a group of six German speaking judicial vicars
scheduled a study-visit to the United States between September 28 and October
10. The group will visit Washington, DC, Chicago, IL, and Indianapolis, IN,
before attending the Canon Law Society of America Convention in Cincinnati,
OH. Led by Dr. Myriam Wijlens of the Bishop's Office in Münster, Germany, the
participating judicial vicars will be; Msgr. Martin Hulskamp of Münster; Rev.
Dr. Lorenz Wolf of Munich, Germany, Rev. Heinz Gunkel of Erfurt, Germany,
Prof. Dr. Peter Lederhilger of Linz, Austria, Msgr. Dr. Ernst Pucher of
Vienna, Austria, and Rev. Ted Hoogenboom of Utrecht, The Netherlands. The
group plans to visit a number of tribunals and consult with American
canonists in addition to programs at The Catholic University of America and
Georgetown University in Washington. We look forward to their presence among
us at the Cincinnati convention.
January 31-February 11, 2002
Thursday, January 31, 2002
We arrived in Brussels with an intermediate stop at Heathrow Airport in Great Britain at mid-morning on Thursday. We were housed at The American College of the Immaculate Conception in Leuven. Our contact was Mr. John A. Steffen, Administrative Assistant to the Rector.
Leuven is a city with a long history; it was already mentioned in 884 AD as a settlement near a castle where the Vikings were defeated in a great battle in 891 AD. In the 11th and 12th centuries, Leuven developed as an important trading center with city walls, churches, monasteries and abbeys. The "Golden Age" dawned for the city in the 15th century with the foundation of the university and the construction of its central core, St. Peter's Church and the City Hall. The American College sits in the heart of Leuven and is within easy walking distance of the Department of Canon Law at the University of Leuven.
The premises of The American College were once the townhouse of the Cistercian Abbey of Aulne in southern Belgium. In 1627, the Cistercians established a college there for their priest students at the university. The American College was founded in 1857 and rebuilt over the years primarily in neo-Gothic style.
The primary purpose of the American College is the education and formation of candidates for the priesthood and the continuing education of graduate and sabbatical students. Individual room accommodations are comfortable with large windows for natural light. Student rooms contain a single bed, desk with bookshelves, a large wardrobe and washbasin. There are no individual bathrooms or showers. Internal rooms are quiet and the College has a number of gardens and lounges where reading and reflection are possible. Food at the College follows Flemish cuisine and is quite tasty. For students, the best "deals" in basic eating are the meals served at the university restaurants called "Almas."
The faculty and staff of the American College were most warm and
hospitable. The present Rector is the Very Rev. Kevin A Codd, S.T.L., of the
Diocese of Spokane. Rev. Aurelius Boberek, O.S.B., the director of Liturgy
and Homiletics at the seminary, accorded us time and guided us on a short
tour of old Levuen. There are approximately 48 students at The American
College at this time. There is a mixture of seminary students and graduate
students, but both groups were familial and cordial.
Friday, February 1, 2002
Our morning served as personal time and a short trip along the Naamsestraat ("street that goes to Namur") with Father Aurelius. While Leuven was partially destroyed in both the First and Second World wars, there remain many fine repaired buildings. Of particular interest is the Groot Begijinhof (founded 1226) which housed the beguine movement in the Low Countries. Both the beguines and the beghards, their male counterpart were pious women (or men) who were not "religious" or "nuns" in the canonical sense. They were a lay association bound together by vows, self-governing and not directly under the control of the bishop. The beguines supported themselves by craft work, e.g. lace, cloth-making, needlework), fostering children and nursing. It was an urban movement and begijnhoven (beguine courtyards) are found in most Flemish towns. The Groot Begijinhof in Leuven is a town within a town laid out in squares and houses arranged around a grassy meadow. At the highest point of its history in the seventeenth century, the Groot Begijinhof had 300 beguines living there and most of the houses you see today date from this time. The last beguine, Sr. Julia died in 1988. Also present in Leuven is Damiaanplein and the Church of St. Anthony where in the crypt are the remains of Blessed Damian De Veuster, the famed leper priest of Molokai, Hawaii. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1995. Nearby is the home of the Leuven theologian, Cornelius Jansens, whose writings formed the basis for the theological tendency called Jansenism.
Friday afternoon was spent at the Faculty of Canon Law of the Catholic University of Louvain. Our hosts were Professor Dr. Rik Torfs and Mr. Kurt Martins, Administrative Assistant to the department. We were able to speak with Rev. Luc de Fleurquin and Professor Eulogia Broto Alonzo, of the Faculty of Law of the University of Barcelona, who is a civil lawyer engaged in part-time work at Leuven and a student of canon law. Friday was the last day of examinations, and only five students were able to join us. The came from the Peoples Republic of China (mainland China), India, Latvia, Spain, and the United States. We spent approximately two hours in a most pleasant conversation. One of the primary questions we asked was: Why did you choose to come to Leuven to study canon law? There were several reasons but one of them was shared by all five students: cost. They find the University of Leuven to be very economical. The second most popular answer was that the courses in canon law are taught in English. A third reason is that health care for university students is readily available. From the comfortableness of the students with one another, it appears that the "canonical community" at Leuven is warm and friendly.
Later we visited the Canon law library and the University library for the use of the 25,000 students enrolled at Leuven. The canon law library is housed in a modern building that is air-conditioned and climate controlled. There are computer terminals on each floor which allow students access to the card catalogue. The periodical holdings are substantial and there is ample workspace for research. Private Study carrels equipped with outlets for laptop computers are available, and these can be secured for safety. Many of the religious communities in Leuven as well as The American College have contributed their individual libraries to the University. In short, it appears that the canon law library at Leuven is substantial and contains many valuable research volumes.
Our evening in Leuven was hosted by Professor Torfs and the administrative staff. We were treated to a delicious meal at the University Club and wide ranging discussions on canonical matters affecting the Church in northern Europe and America.
Saturday and Sunday, February 2 and 3 , 2002
These days were travel days to Rome and preparation for the upcoming week of visits to the Roman Curia. Sunday evening, we met with Rev. Michael Hilbert, SJ, who will serve as our translator and liaison during our visits.
Monday, February 4, 2002
10:00 a.m. Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
His Eminence Arturo Jorge Medina Estévez is prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. His Excellency Pio Francesco Tamburrino, OSB, serves as Secretary and Msgrs. Vincenzo Ferrara and Mario Marini as Undersecretaries. Our meeting was with His Eminence. This meeting was scheduled at his office on Piazza Pio XII, 10. We submitted two possible topics for discussion:
We were received by his Eminence Cardinal Medina Estévez, who spoke in Italian with Father Michael Hilbert, SJ, serving as interpreter as needed. Our president, Rev. Kevin McKenna, began by extending the best wishes of the CLSA to his Eminence and to the members of the Congregation. Cardinal Medina Estévez thanked Father McKenna and indicated that he was prepared to answer the questions which were previously submitted. With Father McKenna's introduction of each of the following, came these responses:
Regarding the implementation of the IGMR, Cardinal Estévez indicated his opinion that there were very few significant changes in the new document. He suggested that it was most important that the canonists and liturgists of each diocese advise the bishop so as to interpret the various points in a way that collaborated and implemented the IGRM most fruitfully among the People of God. Cardinal Medina Estévez indicated that the only substantial change in the IGMR was the one with respect to reception of Holy Communion under both species, which is now permitted in virtually all circumstances. For the United States of America, however, this practice is already a common reality, a matter of particular law, and should present no difficulties in his opinion. Once again, he returned to the theme of collaboration and cooperation with the liturgists by canonists.
On the second question raised in cases of desecration, the Cardinal answered in simply: "No." He went on to say that no changes have taken place nor been considered on this matter in the last five years. With this brief comment, the Cardinal indicated that it was time to move on to another area, the problem of low gluten hosts.
On the topic of low gluten hosts and gluten-intolerance, the Cardinal indicated that this topic remains a problem in some cases, particularly for priests who celebrate Mass as the sole celebrant or for candidates for the priesthood who suffer from celiac disease. The area has been under study by the Doctrine of the Faith. In cases of concelebration, it is permitted for laity and concelebrants with this disease to receive the Eucharist only under the species of the Precious Blood. "For now," the criteria forbid a sole celebrant to receive only the Precious Blood, allowing another member of the faithful attending that Eucharist to receive the Sacred Host. Candidates for the priesthood who suffer from this particular disease should be seriously reconsidered, and likely not promoted to orders if toleration of the "smallest amount" of gluten would not be possible, for in such cases, the individual would not be able to be a sole celebrant at the Eucharist. With respect to the latest dispensations granted for Italy, the Cardinal indicated that it was possible to obtain such only for those who could tolerate a minimum amount of gluten, which does not really solve the problem.
The Cardinal introduced a fourth topic, laicization cases. In his opinion, the cases coming from the United States are well-prepared, and he thanked the members of the Society who serve their bishops and religious ordinaries in this capacity. He did wish to reiterate a number of points: (1) The notary in such cases must always be a priest. The notary cannot be a layperson nor a non-ordained member of an institute of consecrated life. The rationale behind this is that the matter pertains to the "corpus" of priests and the fact that this is primarily a juridic activity. Care should be exercised during the process to uphold the dignity of the person and the gift of the priesthood to the Church. Dissemination of problematic information, which would bring either to be viewed in a bad light, should be avoided as much as possible. (2) The scrutinies and reports of those involved in formation of a petitioner at the time of ordination to the diaconate and priesthood are most important to the acta of the case. It is not just the letter of the rector, but the larger collegial action of the seminary professors which he finds to be most valuable. (3) The Cardinal wished to stress that for individual cases, if there was a danger of death (as distinguished from imminent death), the Congregation had the special faculty to respond immediately, even by fax and even within the same day. To uses this faculty, it was required that a letter come either from the petitioner if this is possible or from the Ordinary of the place where the petitioner resides. The Cardinal also wished to comment on the latest norms from the Doctrine of the Faith regarding the handling of cases of sexual abuse of minors, and their impact on the Congregation for the Sacraments. His congregation remains competent in cases where there an administrative process has been conducted, as opposed to a judicial process. The congregation handled twenty-two (22) pedophile cases in the past year. The administrative process seems possible in two instances: (a) the person does not request a judicial process and (b) a judicial trial is not possible for some reason. In such cases, the request of the bishop along with the civil judicial sentence are sufficient to admit the matter to an administrative laicization process. The case still falls under the competence of the Congregation of the Sacraments to prepare for presentation to the Holy Father. Any expulsion in such a process is by the act of the Pope.
The Cardinal went on to point out that the letters authorizing the dispensation of priests are sent to bishops in one of two forms: a restricted dispensation and a wider one. Choice depends upon the circumstances in each case. If for example, there is notable publicity and scandal, the restricted dispensation would be sent; if there is less publicity and scandal, a wider dispensation would be sent. The difference between the two is the areas permitted for dispensation by the bishop. In the restricted grant, the only power provided the bishop is to dispense from the place of residence. In the broader rescript, the bishop would be empowered to dispense from a number of items, i.e. teaching in a Catholic school, serving as lector or extraordinary minister of holy communion at the Eucharist, and so forth. The Cardinal asked if we had copies of the two types of forms. He instructed a staff member to prepare the copies so that we could pick them up. When asked about possible publication of these documents in Roman Replies, the Cardinal indicated that there were no difficulties with this. Parts of the documents have already been published by Rev. William Woestman in his book on the sacrament of orders.
The Cardinal returned to the point of administrative procedures, noting that new norms for such declarations would be available soon in Notitiae. He pointed out that examination of the archives indicates that there were no cases for th nullity of sacred ordination submitted in the previous forty (40) years. At the present, there is one case pending. It received a negative in first instance and is now being studied in second instance. The case is before three judges or commissioners. The Cardinal advanced his personal opinion as why cases of nullity are rare. A stronger lack of freedom and/or pressure on the one being ordained is necessary to invalidate. The canonists believe that a greater pressure than that which is required for marriage is necessary. The Cardinal indicated that the administrative cases for laicization coming to the Congregation number five hundred (500) a year with the causes of leaving being "conditioned will." The Cardinal suggested that a most interesting area of study for canonists would be a canonical evaluation of the commitment to celibacy at the time of ordination to the diaconate. In his personal opinion as a theologian rather than a canonist, a determination must be made about this commitment: is it a vow to God or an act of positive law? In one of his Holy Thursday letters to Priests, Pope John Paul II used language which suggests it to be a vow. To the Cardinal, a starting point of investigation may be the topic of assumption of celibacy as it appears in the new rituals after the Council.
Our visit with Cardinal Medina Estévez concluded our visit with a photo opportunity and we departed the office after a warm visit.
11:30 a.m. Tribunal of the Roman Rota
His Excellency Msgr. Raffaello Funghini is Dean of the College of Auditors of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota. Msgr. Funghini received and met with us during out visit to the Roman Rota along with Msgr. Kenneth E. Boccafola. We offered three questions as possible points for discussion.
Msgr. Funghini began by stating that in the last ten years the number of cases submitted to the Rota has doubled. In 1991 there were 550 and in 2001 there were 1055 pending. Of these pending cases, 90% were marriage cases, while the others touched on causes for clergy or institutes of consecrated life. Such cases were often about damages or recourse for an invalid dismissal in the case of religious. The large increase is related to the fact that Eastern Europe is now submitting cases, e.g., Slovakia, Hungary, and especially Poland. Before, under Communist rule, it was largely impossible in those places to submit cases for a third hearing.
In 2001 there were 93 cases introduced from Italy and 31 from the United States among the 292 new cases introduced. Of these 241 were admitted: 89 to second instance and 140 to third instance. During this same year, 250 cases were decided; however, the majority of these were decisions to incidental cases raised by a party's Rotal Advocate. The statistics should be available in the near future in the yearbook of the Roman Rota.
Msgr. Funghini pointed out that there are two concerns about the Rota which appear in the press: cases before the Rota cost too much, and, secondly, cases take too long to process. The first complaint he considers inaccurate. 69% of cases are processed without cost to the parties. He is pleased with the arrangement with the United States' bishops whereby an ex officio Rotal Advocate is given to the parties without fee and the diocese contributes the US$800.00 to the Rota. He says that 70% of the parties do not pay a penny to the Rota. Often the Rota receives no payment at all for a particular case. For example, the Rota will only use psychiatrists (as opposed to psychologists). Each professional report done for a case at the Rota costs approximately US$750.00.
Concerning the second complaint about the Rota, the length of case, Msgr. Fungini pointed out that this was a practical and pressing problem because the judges are too few in number at the Rota. Length of time is also complicated by the nature of the work being undertaken. For example, article 126 of Pastor Bonus provides the Rota with its guiding principles. There small number of udges at the Rota must provide jurisprudence for other tribunals. Time is also affected by other factors: second and third instance cases are often more confusing to process. One party may be less than willing to participate and delay is inevitable. Secondly, Rotal judges do not travel; therefore, it is necessary to use rogatories to take depositions. The time involved to prepare questions and translate them into languages is significant. For example, there are a number of languages which cause extra time: Arabic, Polish, and Romanian. All of the above prolong a case. Today, there are 397 cases pending from America (United States, Canada, and Mexico) and 108 cases have already arrived in 2002, of which 35 of these were from the United States of America.
Msgr. Funghini turned his attention to jurisprudence, specifically, canon 1095. The period of lax application with respect to this ground is over and a solidified jurisprudence is present. Cases of discretion are now being balanced by cases of simulation and force and fear. Looking at the force, it can be either extrinsic or intrinsic. In cases where the force is intrinsic, the ground of canon 1095, 2° would be pertinent; in cases where it is extrinsic, force and fear seems the proper ground. Msgr. Funghini took a moment to digress on the bonum coniugum, asking how it differs from the other three. He pointed out the work of the retired Rotal judge Msgr. Cormac Burke that trying to identify the three together did not create a happy solution. They are not incompatible, but efforts on the bonum coniugum put items into a case which do not touch on the validity of a marriage. In a hypothetical case, someone might marry another simply to hurt someone else. This sort of example was raised, but it would seem that with the majority of cases introduced on the bonum coniugum, the case could fall under the headings of intentions against fidelity or the consortium totius vitae.
On the topic of publications, Msgr. Funghini recommended to the Society the Decisiones of the Roman Rota. In 1999, they published the decisions of 1996. The Jubilee celebrations of 2000, however, held them up two years. They expect to publish the decisions of 1997 in the near future. Our meeting ended with a photo opportunity with Msgr. Funghini and we returned to the Domus Paulus VI for Lunch.
Tuesday, February 5, 2002
9:00 a.m. Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura
His Eminence Mario Francesco Pompedda serves as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. His Excellency Most Rev. Saverio Francesco Salerno serves as Secretary. We were received and met with Cardinal Pompedda along with Msgr. Joseph R. Punderson, Defender of the Bond, and later Rev. Frans Danneels, O.Praem., Promotor of Justice, at the Palazzo della Cancelleria. In advance we had presented four possible areas for discussion.
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