Info on Canon Lawyers


#1

I'm looking for a good source on the basics for becoming a canon lawyer, to include how a person goes about becoming one, getting a job as a canon lawyer, and what a job / life as a canon lawyer is like. Does anyone have a good source on this? Thanks a lot.


#2

Here's a website you might want to take a look at:
canonlaw.cua.edu/

God Bless


#3

How do you become a canon lawyer?

  1. Have the equivalent of an STB (equivalent of USA masters in theology)
  2. go to Pontifical University (in N. America there are two: CUA and St. Paul, Ottawa)
  3. tuition + room & board each year in N. America is $15K+ (cheaper in Rome, Italy)
  4. jobs are scarce in the USA… normally for JCL you might work in Tribunal or as Chancellor/Vice Chancellor in a diocese… normal full time salary $36K + (no, not really enough to support a family and certainly not worth the $$$ spent on education for ROI
  5. some dioceses will sponsor someone for JCL but will require agreement to work for diocese after graduating, usually at least 5 years.

In short, really not a lucrative field.


#4

[quote="SerraSemper, post:3, topic:266194"]
1) Have the equivalent of an STB (equivalent of USA masters in theology)

4) jobs are scarce in the USA... normally for JCL you might work in Tribunal or as Chancellor/Vice Chancellor in a diocese... normal full time salary $36K + (no, not really enough to support a family and certainly not worth the $$$ spent on education for ROI

In short, really not a lucrative field.

[/quote]

Thanks for that info. And I must say that this is fairly disappointing to hear. I didn't think a canon lawyer could make a lot compared to some other lawyers, but I had no idea that the income was that low. It's even more disappointing considering you have to spend the money and go through the process of getting the masters in theology first. It's also disappointing that the job opportunities are so scarce.

Given this, how do churches, or the Church herself, find canon lawyers? Maybe they don't need very many canon lawyers? And who does become a canon lawyer? Are canon lawyers mostly independently wealthy people who don't need the money?


#5

[quote="steve975, post:4, topic:266194"]
Thanks for that info. And I must say that this is fairly disappointing to hear. I didn't think a canon lawyer could make a lot compared to some other lawyers, but I had no idea that the income was that low. It's even more disappointing considering you have to spend the money and go through the process of getting the masters in theology first. It's also disappointing that the job opportunities are so scarce.

Given this, how do churches, or the Church herself, find canon lawyers? Maybe they don't need very many canon lawyers? And who does become a canon lawyer? Are canon lawyers mostly independently wealthy people who don't need the money?

[/quote]

Honestly? They're mostly priests who were sent through the canon law program by their bishop. It's a very narrow specialty; you can quit being a criminal lawyer and become a contract lawyer; but that doesn't work with canon law.

Don't get me wrong; there are plenty of non-clergy canonists out there. But Serra Semper is right: the jobs are mostly with dioceses and universities (every theology department needs a canon lawyer, though not all of them recognize that).


#6

Perhaps you don’t really know what a canon lawyer does. The canon lawyers I know work in the tribunal and mostly deal with annulments. They also advise the bishop on issues with regard to the canons, especially with regard to how to run a diocese and parishes, if something is allowed or not, or how to deal with situations that may come up. Have you read canon law? It is contained in one book.

The other thing is that you have to learn Latin as the law is only valid in Latin, you have to be able to read and understand the Latin. The English translation is not valid for interpretation.

They also teach, mostly in seminaries. A person doesn’t really hire a canon lawyer. It is more of a diocesan job. I only know one lay canon lawyer in our diocese and he does it part time in addition to his other secular job.


#7

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