Faculty of Canon Law

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Faculty of Canon Law  

Saint Paul University received the authority to confer ecclesiastical degrees in Leo XIII’s Apostolic Letter Cum Apostolica Sedes of February 5, 1889. In 1929, the Faculty of Canon Law was established as distinct from the Faculty of Theology, and after Pius XI’s Apostolic Constitution Deus scientiarum Dominus of May 24, 1931, the Faculty was reorganized. Following Vatican II, the program was updated to conform to the needs of today’s university teaching and the demands of modern pastoral activity.

Following the wishes of John Paul II in the Apostolic Constitution Sapientia christiana of April 15, 1979, the Faculty of Canon Law cultivates and promotes the juridical disciplines in the light of the law of the Gospel and instructs its students in these, so as to form researchers, university and seminary teachers, and others who will be trained to hold special ecclesiastical offices, such as chancery and tribunal positions, and to serve as advisors to bishops and religious superiors.

In 2002, the Holy See promulgated new norms for the teaching of canon law. These required a complete revision and expansion of our programs, effective 2004–2005. The programs and description of courses that follow reflect the application of the new norms.

The ecclesiastical degrees are granted in virtue of the 1889 pontifical charter, and the civil degrees are granted jointly by the Senate of Saint Paul University, in virtue of its 1866 civil charter, and by the Senate of the University of Ottawa, which is federated with Saint Paul University.

The international teaching personnel is actively involved in serving the Church beyond the walls of the University by their publications and expert advice to the Holy See, to bishops and religious superiors, as well as to clergy and laity alike.

Twice a year, the Faculty publishes the journal Studia canonica. This publication is the only canon law journal in Canada and it enjoys a solid international reputation.

Although the majority of its students come from Canada and the United States, many other countries and continents are represented. The student body is composed of priests, deacons, religious – women and men – and many lay persons. Although several are studying canon law after years of service in various sectors of Church and society, there is an increasing number of young students who are interested in undertaking the ministry of canon law.



Saint Paul University to offer Master’s and Licentiate in Canon Law in Australia

A world-first partnership between The Broken Bay Institute (BBI) and Saint Paul University (SPU) will allow SPU to offer its Master’s and Licentiate in Canon Law in Australia to students throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Through the partnership, SPU will deliver a combination of online courses and intensive residential courses at the BBI campus in Sydney. Thus, students from the Asia-Pacific region will no longer have to relocate to Canada to study canon law—a requirement that was a major obstacle for many students who were reluctant to leave their families and jobs behind.

The master’s and licentiate programs in canon law are relevant to members of the clergy, members of religious orders, and lay persons interested in receiving comprehensive training in canon law and learning how best to apply the rules of the Church in a pastoral manner for the common good of the faithful.

Chantal Beauvais, Rector of Saint Paul University, is delighted with this new collaboration: “This partnership highlights the dynamism and effectiveness of distance learning at SPU, and the ingenuity of the Faculty of Canon Law in reaching out to prospective students around the world.”

Bishop Brian Finnigan, Auxiliary Bishop of Brisbane, said, “As Chair of the Bishops’ Commission for Canon Law and the Australian Catholic Council for Canon Law, I heartily support this new venture. Our world and our Church are in constant evolution, and the need for educated and well-formed canonists is clear.”

BBI received a nihil obstat from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference for the establishment of this prestigious program in Australia.

BBI – The Australian Institute of Theological Education is one of the largest Catholic providers of online theological education in the Asia-Pacific region. BBI is accredited as a Higher Education Provider (HEP) by the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) – Australia’s independent national regulator of the higher education sector.

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