The Catholic University of America

Mission Statement

The School of Canon Law is an ecclesiastical faculty preparing students for licentiate and doctorate degrees authorized by the Apostolic See. The School is a community of students, faculty, and staff working together for the purpose of the study of canon law in service to the Catholic Church, with particular attention to the needs and opportunities of the Church in the United States. As of December 13, 2001, the Board of Trustees approved the re-establishment of the School of Canon Law as a separate ecclesiastical school of the University.

The purpose of instruction in this school is to familiarize students with the body of law of the Catholic Church, its development, interpretation, and application. The courses are planned to prepare for the professional practice of canon law in diocesan and religious administration, in ecclesiastical tribunals, and in the teaching of canon law, and for scientific canonical research. In accord with this purpose, the canonical degrees, Licentiate in Canon Law (J.C.L.) and Doctor of Canon Law (J.C.D.), are awarded.

The primary focus of courses offered in the school is the Code of Canon Law for the Latin Church, promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1983. Attention is also given, as appropriate, to the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1990. A proper understanding and implementation of the provisions of the current law of the Church require not only acquired skill in the technicalities of legal interpretation but also a broad grasp of the historical, theological, and sociological factors which have contributed to its development and a sensitivity to the law's pastoral application. Proper service to the Church as a canonist also requires skill in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the law in order to contribute to its ongoing development.

In keeping with the Declaration on Christian Education (n. 11) of the Second Vatican Council, the curriculum affords clergy, religious, and lay persons a thorough, contemporary, scholarly, and pastoral preparation for service to the Church in positions of canonical responsibility.

The personal guidance of the faculty is directed at every level of instruction and inquiry to the practical needs of canonists at the present time, as well as to thesis and dissertation work which will acquaint and equip students with the applied methods of canonical research and writing needed by both practitioners and scholars.