The Catholic University of America

Oct. 22, 2008

Professor Beal Wins Highest Canon Law Award

Rev. John P. Beal

Rev. John P. Beal, CUA professor of canon law, has received the highest honor bestowed by the Canon Law Society of America.

Given for being an "outstanding example in the furtherance of Church law as a pastoral means of serving people," the Role of Law Award honors Father Beal for his outstanding contributions in the areas of teaching, publishing scholarly articles and books, and offering consultative services to Catholic churches, bishops and priests.

Father Beal received the award on Oct. 15 at the society's annual convention in Kansas City, Mo. He gave an acceptance speech in which he emphasized the importance of accountability and transparency in the exercise of canon law - the worldwide law with which the Catholic Church governs its affairs.

"In these critical times as a result of the clergy sex-abuse scandals, particular mention must be made of the four-weekend training courses our nominee and others offered to bishops in 1995 on how to make use of the heretofore underused penal law of the Church in addressing situations of clerical misconduct and so remove those unsuitable from ministry," said the society's president, Rev. Paul D. Counce of Baton Rouge, La., while presenting Father Beal with the award. "One of the university courses taught by our recipient was entitled Special Issues in Clergy Law, and dealt with addressing and prosecuting abuse cases."

CUA's president, Very. Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M., commented that "as a canon lawyer myself, I know what this great honor means - a well-deserved recognition of Father Beal's great competence in the field of canon law both as an academic and a practitioner. CUA is fortunate to count him among the ranks of our extraordinary ecclesiastical faculties. We feel genuine pride and express heartfelt congratulations to Father Beal."

Catholic University has the only graduate school of canon law in the United States, and many of the school's professors have won this prestigious Role of Law Award in past years, including current CUA professors Monsignor Thomas J. Green and Sister Rose M. McDermott, S.S.J., interim dean of the canon law school. The following CUA recipients of the award are now retired from the university: Rev. Ladislas Örsy, S.J., Rev. John E. Lynch, C.S.P., and Rev. Robert T. Kennedy.

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