The Catholic University of America

Sept. 26, 2014

University Hosts International Canon Law Congress

The Catholic University of America’s School of Canon Law hosted the XV International Congress of Canon Law Sept. 17 – 21. This was the first time the congress of the Consociatio Internationalis Studio Iuris Canonici Promovendo, the international association of canon lawyers, has been held in the United States.

More than 250 canon lawyers and civil lawyers representing 24 countries were on hand to explore this year’s topic “Crime and Punishment: Nature, Problems, and Perspectives of Canonical Penal Law and Its Relation to Civil Law.” The congress, held on campus in the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center and at the Columbus School of Law, was co-sponsored by the School of Canon Law, the only ecclesiastical faculty of canon law in the United States, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The opening of the congress included remarks by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington and Chancellor of The Catholic University of America; University President John Garvey; Monsignor Patrick Valdrini, president of the Consociatio; and Rev. Robert Kaslyn, S.J., dean of the School of Canon Law.

“I believe the work of the congress will be of great value to the Church,” said Garvey in welcoming attendees to the University. “In taking up both theoretical questions concerning the penal code, and practical inquiries about the implications of amending it, the 15th International Congress can make an important contribution to the Church’s revision of Book Six of the Code of Canon Law.”

  Kurt Martens, associate professor of canon law and editor of The Jurist, organized the international congress.

The Keynote address on “Jurisdiction of Civil Courts and the Role of Canon Law” was delivered by Jeffrey Lena, counsel to the Holy See. The five-day congress also included several addresses by international leaders in canon law along with daily plenary sessions and seminars. Simultaneous translations were provided during plenary sessions in English, Italian, and Spanish. The general assembly and elections by members of the Consociatio also took place. Participants took time during the congress to attend a special celebration of Holy Mass, and to visit George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate in northern Virginia.

“It was definitely a source of pride for all of us in the School of Canon Law as well as the University to host our canon law colleagues from around the world,” said Kurt Martens, associate professor of canon law and organizer of the congress. “To have so many scholars from around the world come together to discuss how we deal with issues and problems that are unique to our various cultures and local settings, but have implications for the Church as a whole is a unique opportunity.” Martens is editor of The Jurist, the only scholarly peer-reviewed journal of canon law in the United States.

The texts of the major presentations and seminars will be published in the Acts of the Congress by The Catholic University of America Press.


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