Quick Links

Workshop: Legal Boundaries and Illegal Practices Spiritual Abuse in Canon Law

February 16, 2024

9 am to 3.30 pm EST (UTC-5)

The seminar is offered Online and in English only.

What can canon law do in the case of spiritual abuse? To find an adequate answer, we need to understand how canon law "thinks" about the human person. Systematic and historical aspects will shed new light on the fundamental rights and protection concepts of the CIC/1983. Constitutional and procedural aspects will help to clarify open questions of hierarchy and the distribution of power and competence.Dr. Stephan Hecht will lead us in this question.

Dr. Katja Zimmermann will take over at this point and discuss with us the question of whether and how spiritual abuse can be combated by secular law. There are some limits. This raises the question of the extent to which we need canon law (and not secular law) to limit spiritual abuse and effectively counter its consequences. This will be discussed in the context of the sacrament of reconciliation to see what remedies and challenges canonical criminal law offers.

Dr. Stephan Hecht completed his doctorate in Philosophy at the University of Regensburg in 2019, followed by a licentiate in Canon Law at the Klaus-Mörsdorf-Institute (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität) in Munich. He is currently Tutor at the Montag Center for Overseas Studies (Stanford University) and teaches Theology for Fordham University in London. Focusing on the origins of Christian subjectivity and the Theology of Law in the work of Francisco Suárez SJ (1548-1617), he is particularly interested in questions on the interlink between Canon Law and Theology, publishing on topics such as Power and Participation, the Anthropological Fundaments of the ecclesiastical legislation and Spiritual Abuse.

Dr. Katja Zimmermann is an assistant professor in private law at the University of Groningen. As a recipient of the Niels Stensen Fellowship, she is currently conducting interdisciplinary research on outer space property at the Centre for Catholic Social Thought of KU Leuven. Zimmermann holds an LL.B., two LL.M. degrees, a PhD from Maastricht University and a bachelor’s degree in (Catholic) theology. She follows a master’s program at the Special Faculty of Canon Law at KU Leuven, and the postgraduate program in criminal (procedural) law.

Her research focuses primarily on sustainable property law through the lens of Catholic social teaching and the European Succession Regulation. In addition, she is interested in canon legal processes dealing with the abuse of power in the Catholic church. 


To contact us: CPCS@ustpaul.ca

Saint Paul University

223 rue Main Street Ottawa,
Ontario Canada K1S 1C4
+1 613 236-1393

Bookmark and Share

Other Links