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Saint Paul University Alumna Appointed to Synod of Bishops by Pope Francis

Saint Paul University and the Faculty of Canon Law extend a heartfelt congratulations to alumna Dr. Myriam Wijlens on her appointment to the Synod of Bishops. Pope Francis appointed Dr. Wijlens as a consultor on June 4, 2021. This follows her 2018 appointment as a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

A native of The Netherlands, Dr. Wijlens received her J.C.D./Ph.D. from Saint Paul University/University of Ottawa in 1990, after receiving the S.T.L. from the Catholic University of Nijmegen (The Netherlands). She completed a Habilitation on “Sharing the Eucharist with other Christians” and obtained the venia legendi for canon law (Westfälische Wilhelms University in Münster, Germany, 1997).

Dr. Wijlens has distinguished herself throughout her career as someone who applies canon law in service to dioceses and religious institutes. Since 2002 she has served as investigating judge in approximately 100 preliminary penal cases. She also served as a defender of the bond and judge in marriage cases. Since 1992 she has been a consultor to the Conference of Major Superiors in The Netherlands and to many institutes of consecrated life. She is also a founding member of the “Peter and Paul Seminar” and has served as its co-moderator since 2004.

Dr. Wijlens' previous pontifical work includes representing the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity (PCPCU) in several capacities. She has been a member of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches since 2008. Since 2015, she has also been a co-moderator of its working group “Moral Discernment in the Churches.” The PCPCU also mandated Dr. Wijlens to participate in the conversation between the “Community of Protestant Churches in Europe” and the Roman Catholic Church (2013-2018). Finally, in 2019 the PCPCU appointed her as consultant to the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC).

Dr. Wijlens has also worked as a professor in post-secondary institutions in the Netherlands, the United States and Canada. Since 2005, she has been a full professor of canon law at the University of Erfurt (Germany). Since 2012 she has been an honorary professor for “Ecumenism and Canon Law” at Durham University in England where she works on receptive ecumenism. She has also authored several books and over 110 articles, mainly in the area of ecclesiology and ecumenism with a special focus on the canonical aspects.

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