[CUA Office of Public Affairs]           

Jan. 17, 2003


CUA President Appoints New Dean of Canon Law


The Very Reverend David M. O’Connell, C.M, president of The Catholic University of America, has announced the appointment of Monsignor Brian Ferme as dean of the university’s School of Canon Law.


An expert in the fields of medieval history and canon law, Monsignor Ferme was ordained as a priest in the Salesians of Don Bosco in 1980 and later was incardinated into the Diocese of Portsmouth.  He received a B.A. at Monash University in 1978 and, in 1979, a B. Theol. at Catholic Theological College, both in Melbourne, Australia.  He received a J.C.L. at the Universita Pontifica Salesiana in Rome in 1982, a D.Phil. in medieval history at Oxford in 1987 and a J.C.D. at the Universita Pontifica Salesiana in Rome in 1993.


Monsignor Ferme has been dean of the Faculty of Canon Law at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome since 1999.  He served on the theological faculty at Oxford (1989 - 1993), the faculty of Canon Law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (1993 - 1998) and the faculty of canon law at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome (1998 - present).  He is a consultor for the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts and has worked with the Apostolic Signatura.  Monsignor Ferme is the author of numerous articles in the disciplines of Church history and canon law.  He is a member of the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland, the Ecclesiastical Law Society, the Consortio Internationalis of the History of Medieval Canon Law Selden Society and is also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.


In announcing the appointment, Father O’Connell remarked, “Monsignor Ferme’s academic credentials and experience will bring to The Catholic University of America a depth and breadth of expertise in the field of canon law that will add greatly to historic contributions made by our excellent faculty of canon law over the years.  We are fortunate to welcome such a distinguished canonist to the university.”  University Provost John Convey noted that Monsignor Ferme’s scholarly record is “truly outstanding” and represents an “extraordinary opportunity” for those who will come to CUA for graduate study in the discipline of canon law.


Monsignor Ferme is scheduled to join the university community in mid-February.


Founded in 1887 by Pope Leo XIII and sponsored by the American bishops, The Catholic University of America is the national university of the Catholic Church in the United States.  The School of Canon Law was first established at The Catholic University of America in 1923.  Re-established as a distinct school in 2002, it remains the only degree granting program in canon law in the United States.


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Revised: Feb. 18, 2002

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