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New Canon Law course offers the big picture

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A class in session at CIS’s Strathfield campus. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

A sound understanding of the Code of Canon Law, which underpins the whole life of the Catholic Church, is invaluable for anyone working in parish administration or Catholic education.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP has warmly recommended a course on Canon Law to be offered by the Catholic Institute of Sydney in 2019 as professional development for parish priests and staff, those who work in Catholic education, and anyone with an interest in Canon Law and its relationship to parish life.

Beginning in March, Canon Law in Parish Life, will take a comprehensive look at Church law in respect to all aspects of parish life, from the administration of property, the role of parish priests and pastoral councils, workplace health and safety, the celebration of the sacraments,
and marriage.

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The interface between Canon Law and civil law will also be examined.

Fr Richard Waddell, a barrister before entering the priesthood, will facilitate the course consisting of four modules, taught over four Fridays from 29 March to 18 October.

“Those who attend will gain a useful understanding of how the Catholic Church governs its internal affairs,” Fr Waddell told The Catholic Weekly.

“The Code of Canon Law is the starting point at the heart of the administration of a parish—it governs not just the ministry of priests in the preaching of the Gospel, the celebration of the sacraments, teaching and pastoral care, but also the chain of command in a diocese, the nuts and bolts of the use and care of properties and parish finances, and the involvement and responsibilities of the laity in parish life.

“The relationship between canon and civil law, particularly in relation to the administration of property, is complex and needs to be clearly understood.

“It is intended that, at the end of this course, every participant will be well equipped in those areas of canon and civil law which pertain to parish administration.”

Meanwhile, a whole module will be devoted to marriage—its theology and discipline, preparation, dispensations, celebration, and issues that may arise after a marriage takes place.

Fr Waddell said the course will provide an understanding of Canon Law in respect to marriage that will be “especially important in the preparation of couples for this sacrament and the care and support of families.”

Fr Waddell practised at the Victorian Bar for 22 years in commercial law, specialising in wills and succession, trusts and the principles of equity. He obtained a Licentiate of Canon Law from the Gregorian University in Rome in 2016 and is currently Administrator of the Newtown Parish and a Defender of the Bond in the Sydney Interdiocesan Tribunal.

Canon Law in Parish Life will run from 9.30am to 3.30pm on 29 March, 31 May, 23 August and 18 October at CIS in Strathfield.

The modules are stand-alone and those wishing to attend for personal or professional interest can opt to attend one or more. More info: [email protected] or 02 9752 9500

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