I’m Exploring Being A Canonical Lawyer


I have some interest in spending the back half of my life in this vocation.

I am a faithful Catholic who happens to be a successful and prosperous attorney approaching the age of 50. I don’t serve money traders and I would like to retire soon, being financially stable as-is.

Knowing further education and discernment is a must, what advice do Canon lawyers have for me? Is this realistic and useful? I have already spent 12 years in university, so degrees and schooling aren’t a central concern.




Also this:



Is priesthood an option? You might talk to the Diocesan Vocation office about being a canon lawyer.


This is the only school in the US that offers a degree authorized by the Vatican. There is another in Canada but I’m not sure where, maybe Toronto? While you are very well educated I do believe it does take more education for canon law specifically.


It does. It also typically requires an MA in Theology before you can begin. A regular JD won’t suffice, you need a JCB, JCL, and/or JCD. The JCL is the closest to a JD, and the JCD is vaguely similar to an LLD. I stress vaguely.

You can say a lot of things about cannon lawyers, but you can’t say they are poorly educated!


Thanks. The additional education part is a given. I’m ok with that.

I’m curious a little bit more about how traditional lawyers make the leap. Recall I’m already Catholic and not poor. I’d do this as a calling.


Dr. Edward Peters also had a JD before getting a JCD. You still need to do some graduate coursework in theology and philosophy, but your JD stuff should help you tackle those courses. Plus, as canon law is a type of law, your legal experience will help you understand some of the terminology and jurisprudence behind canon law.


I have a couple of cannon lawyer friends. I’ll ask around for you.


No advice here, but a short comment. We need more lay canon lawyers in the Church. Priests fear their bishops and will not take up many causes. But what can a bishop do to a layman? Not much.


They better not be! Errors in cannon law can be problematic! :wink:


Ha! And that’s why I shouldn’t post at night!


Give it a try. That would be my advice. St. Paul’s University in Ottawa is your other, North American, English language option. I’m not a civil lawyer so I don’t have anything to say about that.



Well, if the layman is working for a diocese (which is how the vast majority of lay canonists make a living), then his bishop could rather easily “change directions”, as they say, in his tribunal/chancery staff.



That is true. I’d like to see more canon lawyers that are not attached to a diocese. I think the Church is in desperate need of that.


Ha ha - Cannon Lawyers :bomb::fire::bomb:


nnor at nnight . . .




I am a Procurator-Advocate appointed to the court by my bishop. The work is quite fulfilling as I am able to help many through my efforts. Approach your Judicial Vicar. He’ll give you the best advice on how to begin. Many blessings!



M.V. Williamson


It’s only now that I observe that a “canonical lawyer” would mean the base lawyer from which others were constructed . . . :scream::roll_eyes::thinking:

but in all seriousness, my best and prayers for you endeavor. I’m about the same age, and if I could retire now, I’d be considering he same thing, but I’m still a few years from being able to do so.

hawk, jd, phd, esq, etc

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