Newsletter n.150 June 2007


1. The Suspension of Bishop Fernando Lugo [Mgr Gordon Read]
2. Question Regarding the Use of the Expert in Marriage Nullity Cases [Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura] (16th June, 1998)
3. Commentary [Rev Augustine Mendonça]
4. Explanatory Comments During Mass [Mgr Gordon Read]
5. Mass Obligation and the Support of One's Own Parish [Mgr Gordon Read]
6. Book Reviews:
"Catholic Marriage Nullity Process: The Introduction of the Case" by Linus Neli MHR JCD [Mgr Gordon Read];
"Liturgy and Law: Liturgical Law in the System of Roman Catholic Law" by John M Huels [Mgr James Joyce];
"Canonical and Pastoral Guide for Parishes" commissioned by the Assembly of Quebec Catholic Bishops with the cooperation of the Canadian Canon Law Society [Rev Peter Kitchen].
7. The 6th Lyndwood Lecture: "Mission, Ministry and Masonry: The Challenge of Heritage Buildings for Christian Witness" [Bishop Graeme Knowles] (15th November, 2006)
8. Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest: Guidelines for the Dioceses of Australia (November 2002)
9. Mrs Clare Pearce [Mgr Gordon Read]
10. Honorary Life Membership of the Canon Law Society of Australia & New Zealand
11. Apostolic Blessing on the CLSGBI Conference in May 2007

  • Canon Law Society Conference 2007

The CLS Conference for 2007 was held at the Swallow Hotel, Gateshead, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne. This Conference marked the beginning of the year’s celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the Canon Law Society. It was held between 7-11 May 2007. A hundred and twenty one persons attended the Conference. There were two Presidents of other Societies (Canada and Australia and New Zealand); there were six speakers; and members from outside these islands numbered fifteen; with a happy mix of males and females.

A few of us were reminiscing about the first presence of ladies at the CLS Conferences. In the late fifties and early sixties meetings lasted one and a a half days, and were held at Southwell House in Hampstead. No ladies attended those meetings. In fact, there were no trained lady Canon Lawyers. However, when the CLS had its first Conference at Woodhall in the Diocese of Leeds, there were no less than three ladies present although their role was with reception work and the general ordering of the Conference. However, at the 2007 Conference there were some seventeen ladies present; and to judge from the attendance over the last few years at CLS Jurisprudential courses, there will be even more ladies attending Conferences in the future. 

A speaker at the 2007 Conference, Doctor Evelyn Mann, spoke on “Gender Dysphoria – Hidden Agendas”. Other speakers were Father Anthony Randazzo from the CDF talking about the “Formation of a Healthy Priesthood”; and “Norms for Priestly Formation” was a paper presented by Father James Conn, Professor of Canon Law at the Gregorian University in Rome. Father Frank Morrisey spoke on Rights in the Church. A fascinating talk was given by Mr Mark Chopko, who belonged to the US Conference of Bishops Executive. His topic was “Intersection of Civil and Canon Law – the experience of the USA with regard to the Abuse of Children by Clergy”. 

However, the paper which provoked an avalanche of questions and comments was presented by Father Brendan Killeen, Judicial Vicar of Northampton on “The Role of Love within Marriage”. It is true to say that his paper had more members jumping up and down and trying to seize the microphone than any other during the week. There were also two sessions of “Questions and Answers” dealt with by specially selected experts on the two panels.

The AGM took place on Thursday, 10 May; at which a new President had to be elected. The current President, Father John Conneely, having fulfilled two terms had to stand down. In his place was elected Monsignor David Hogan of Middlesbrough. The Treasurer, Father Brian McLean, was re-elected. The Secretary, Mrs Margaret Foster did not stand for re-election; and in her place was elected Father James O’Kane. Father Patrick Connolly did not stand for re-election. In his place was elected Professor Luc de Fleurquin.

Some minor modifications were made to the CLS Constitution; such as the full title now being Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Various technical changes were made in connection with the Charities Act; as well as arrangements for library membership. A copy of the revised Constitution will be sent to all the members. The accounts of the Society to 31 December were presented and explained by Father Brian McLean; and approved by the members. These accounts have previously been approved by the Appointed Independent Examiner, Thomson Cooper.

The opening liturgy was celebrated by Bishop Kevin Dunn of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle. The Mass on Wednesday 9 May, was celebrated by Bishop John Cunningham with the homily being given by Father Atli Jonsson; the Golden Jubilee Mass was celebrated by the outgoing President, Father John Conneely, together with previous Presidents who were at the Conference, namely Monsignor Ralph Brown, Monsignor David Cousins and Father Aidan McGrath; as well as the new President. For the Wednesday afternoon break, Father Paul Zielinski, the Judicial Vicar of Hexham and Newcastle had prepared a fascinating tour of Northumbria, taking in St Bede’s home at Jarrow.

For the last evening the outgoing Committee had prepared a reception and Gala Dinner, also attended by Bishop Dunn. A speech was made by Bishop Cunningham witty enough to rock the seating plan; and finally Monsignor David Hogan spoke as the new President and paid tribute to his predecessor for all the work he had done in his two terms of office. The Holy See sent an Apostolic Blessing upon the proceedings of the Conference (see Document No XI).

  • Suspension a divinis of Bishop Fernando Lugo Mendez

Bishop Fernando Lugo, the retired Bishop of San Pedro in Paraguay, was suspended a divinis by the Holy See on 1 February 2007. Apparently the Bishop had applied to the Holy See requesting his return to the lay state; at the same time the Bishop had declared himself to be a candidate in the forthcoming presidential elections. He was threatened with suspension a divinis if he did not withdraw his candidacy (for the 2008 Presidential Election). The Bishop did not do so and in consequence he was suspended. The Bishop was born on 30 May 1949 in Paraguay; ordained priest on 15 August 1977; and appointed Bishop of San Pedro on 5 March 1994, and consecrated on 17 April 1994. An analysis of the situation by Monsignor Gordon Read is at Document No. I. 

  • Use of Experts in Nullity Cases

All Tribunals, when using Canon 1095 no. 3 as a ground, are challenged by the need (or possible need) for an expert opinion (or Peritia). There are a variety of problems which come into play here. First of all does a Tribunal have access to an expert who can give an opinion (either by way of interview with the party or from the Acta)? Secondly, if there is such a psychiatric opinion given by an expert, must both the parties be able to examine it? Sometimes an expert does not wish the report to be seen by one of the persons in question; what then? Do all cases involving Canon 1095 no.3 require expert opinions? Do not some cases under Canon 1095, no.2 also require expert opinions? A reply to some of these points was produced by the Signatura Apostolica in 1998 (see Document No.II). A very helpful article was written on the subject by Father Augustine Mendonça in Studia Canonica (Vol.35/1, 2001; pp.33-58). That article is reproduced at Document No.III) by permission of Studia Canonica and Professor Mendonça.

  • Explanatory Comments

In 1960 when the Editor was in Rome, everybody was on the qui vive about people’s understanding of the Mass. Everybody had been through the preparatory stages of books on the Mass by Father Pius Parsch. Going into Roman Churches at that time, it was not unusual to find a Mass being celebrated with quite a large congregation of people; and a second priest trailing a microphone (no clip-on microphones then) walking backwards and forwards in the sanctuary explaining the words and the actions of the Mass, before a fairly mesmerised congregation. Going to such Masses must have been quite an ordeal for the faithful. The situation is now, of course, very different. There can now be the situation of the celebrant who comments on his own Mass “for the benefit of the people”. This whole matter has been raised on Zenit with some notes by Father Edward McNamara. Monsignor Read has written a piece about this (see Document No IV).

  • The Duty to Support One's Parish

Any new document takes with it a raft of misunderstandings.One of the misunderstandings about the 1983 Code is that it apparently changed the discipline for the fulfilment of a person’s Mass obligation. However, by reference to the 1917 Code, the law did not enforce fulfilment of the Mass obligation in a person’s parish church; it merely encouraged such attendance, but it was left to the person to decide. There is a further element in all this – namely the fulfilment of the obligation on a Saturday night; and also the duty of parishioners to support (materially) their parishes. A study was made in the Zenit liturgy section by Father McNarama (Professor of Liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum University); but this has been modestly corrected by Monsignor Read in Document No.V).

  • Book Reviews:

Catholic Marriage Nullity Procedure: Fr Linus Nelli

Father Nelli, who studied in Rome and also took part in one of the CLS Jurisprudential Courses, is back home. He is the visiting Professor of the Oriens Theological College, Shillong; as well as teaching at the Institute of Oriental Canon Law at Dharmram Vidya Kshetram in Bangalore. He is also a Diocesan Judge. His book deals with the nullity process and will be easy to use and followed by those involved in Tribunal work in his country. Monsignor Joyce has reviewed the book at Document No.VI.

Liturgy and Law: Liturgical Law in the System of Roman Catholic Canon Law: Fr John Huels. 

Father Huels needs no introduction following the collection of books that he has authored whilst being Professor of Canon Law at St Paul, University, Ottawa. The CLSN has reproduced some of his articles which appeared in Studia Canonica. His present book deals with Liturgy. Monsignor James Joyce, who reviews the book at Document No.VI, finds it easy to read, in no way legalistic, and breathes the best spirit of Canon Law.

Canonical and Pastoral Guide For Parishes [Wilson & Lafleur].

This very useful reference book was commissioned by the Assembly of the Quebec Catholic Bishops, with the cooperation of the Canadian Canon Law Society. Although the book is very much geared to the Canadian pastoral scene, it is certainly a useful pastoral book with many canonical references. In spite of its Canadian target, Father Peter Kitchen (who reviews the book at Document No.VI) finds it very practical and accessible; and he recommends any interested priest to have it on his book shelf “not to collect dust but to be used (even in these countries) for a variety of questions arising from practical pastoral ministry”.

Gratianus Series

In 1990 Wilson & Lafleur publishing house took up the challenge to promote Canon Law publications both in French and English.

The Code de Droit Canonique bilingue et annoté was the first book to be published. Professors Ernest Caparros, Michel Thériault and Jean Thorn took care of editing this work. Then they completed the Code of Canon Law Annotated in 1993. These two books achieved great success with numerous reprints and new editions. That convinced the management of Wilson & Lafleur that Canon Law was a field with a promising future.

The choice of a bilingual name: Gratianus rapidly won unanimous support. This was a modest way to pay homage to the great medieval Canonist.

The first books published in the Gratianus Series were part of the Annotated Legislative Texts. But as new authors joined the collection, other sub-series were created, such as the Handbooks, Research Tools and Proceedings; others such as the Notebooks, will no doubt be added.

Some of the Gratianus series:-
• Code of Canon Law Annotated (Second Edition). $115 (Can).
• Canonical and Pastoral Guide for Parishes (see Review). $29.95 (Can).
• Advocacy Vademecum (Ed. Patricia Dugan). $34.95 (Can).

Add $5.00 (Can) for handling. When ordering please supply credit card details to Wilson & Lafleur, 40 Notre-Dame Street E, Montreal, Quebec H2Y 1B9, Canada.

  • Sixth Lyndwood Lecture: 15 November 2006

Bishop Graeme Knowles, the Bishop of Sodor and Man, gave the Sixth Lyndwood Lecture in the Crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral on Wednesday 15 November. The lecture was entitled: "Mission, Ministry and Masonry: the Challenge of Heritage Buildings for Christian Witness". The Bishop is the Chairman of the Anglican Council of the Chair of Churches.

While it might be said that the present state of repair of the majority of the Churches in use in England is better than it has ever been before, the congregations of England, whether they be Anglican, Roman Catholic, Methodist or Baptist, face the day by day challenge of maintaining a substantial section of the nation’s building heritage. Bishop Knowles examines possible avenues for the funding of this work, looking at the models of state funding and that offered by other European countries. He also considers the tension that exists between the legal imperative to view our Churches not only as historic monuments but also as local centres of mission and worship. He also examines the problems faced by all denominations in disposing of buildings no longer required for divine worship. He questions why the Church should continue to pay for the upkeep of buildings it no longer needs and concludes, in the words of T.S. Eliot, that “the Church must be forever building”. (See Document No.VII).

  • Guidelines for Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest: Australia

The Canon Law Society of Australia and New Zealand’s Newsletter No.2, 2006 has reproduced “Guidelines for Sunday Celebrations without Priests” in Australia. Similarly as in these Islands there is a shrinkage of priests available for Sunday celebrations, hence the Australian Bishops have issued some interesting guidelines. These date to November 2002 (see Document No.VIII).

  • Information about Canon Law Society of America

The new administrative address for the Canon Law Society of America is:-

Suite 111
Hecker Centre for Ministry
3025 Fourth Street NE
Washington DC 20017-1102, USA

Tel: (202) 832 2350
Fax: (202) 832 2331

The name (Hecker) is that of Father Isaac Hecker, founder of the Paulist Fathers.

  • Mrs Clare Pearce: CLS Administrative Secretary

Mrs Clare Pearce stepped down from her role as Administrative Secretary of the CLS in December 2006. In the March number of the CLSN there was a minor tribute to Clare; but it seemed only appropriate that a more informed tribute should be published, written by her original “boss”, Monsignor Gordon Read. This piece about Clare appears at Document No.IX.

  • Canon Law Society of Australia and New Zealand

One of the first acts of the new President of the Canon Law Society of Australia and New Zealand, 
Father Ian Waters, was to award honorary life membership to the surviving Foundation Members of CLSANZ. It will also be noted that the first three honorary life members were members of the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland (see Document No.X).

  • Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts

The following announcement was made in L’Osservatore Romano on 21 February 2007:
“The Holy Father accepted the resignation of Cardinal Julián Herranz, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. It was presented in accord with Canon 354 of the Code of Canon Law. The Holy Father also appointed Bishop Francesco Coccopalmerio, titular Bishop of Coeliana and Auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Milan, Italy, as President of the same Pontifical Council, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of Archbishop, maintaining the same titular see (15 Feb). The Holy Father appointed Rev. Mons. Juan Ignacio Arrieta Ochoa de Chinchetru of the Prelature of Opus Dei as Secretary of the same Pontifical Council (15 Feb)”.



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