I am 26 years old, hold a Bachelor of Arts (History, Classics), and have been teaching English in Rome and Seoul for the past three years. Since my confirmation, I have felt a distinct call to service in the church, considered the priesthood to be a very likely path for me, and have had positive correspondence with several orders, including the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.
My life has, however, taken a different turn since meeting my fiance one year ago. I now strongly feel that I am called to the sacrament of marriage, and to raise a family. I don't however, feel that this precludes a role for me in the building up of the church. After much prayer and thought, I concluded that the church was most in need of competent people who can disseminate, interpret, and apply the venerable body of tradition that makes up the church's internal law. Temporal authority within the church is a subject about which I am passionately interested, but I have doubts about the usefulness of a lay person in such a position.
My question is fairly straightforward. Do you feel that lay people have any business practicing canon law? With the general shortage of priests, it seems natural that lay people ought to help shoulder the burden by assuming more administrative duties that do not require ordination. However, I am very wary of the effect that increased laicization might have on the church. Is there a place for lay canon lawyers in the church that does not encroach upon the traditional role of ordained clergy?