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A 'Renewal of Law'
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by: Rev. Lawrence Jurcak

Almost 400 persons gathered in Buffalo, New York on October 11 – 14, 2010 for the Simultaneous Conventions of the Canon Law Society of America and our Sister Society, the Canadian Canon Law Society. It was fifteen years ago, in 1995 in Montreal, Quebec, when our Societies last gathered in that manner. Three hundred twenty-five of those present were members of our Society gathered for our 72nd annual Convention. Father Alain Guevremont, President of the Canadian Canon Law Society, and I had the honor of presiding over the Simultaneous Conventions.

Pope Benedict XVI, in speaking to the congress convened in Rome in January 2009 by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of the Latin Code, identified a threefold dynamism of the Church’s legislation: it should be current, complete and consistent. The theme of this year’s convention was "Renewal of Law.” This theme provided an occasion for reflections on the role of canon law, attitudes toward the law, and the study and operation of the law.

We were honored to have as our keynote speaker, Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta Ochoa de Chinchetru, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. We hope to have an English translation of his keynote address, delivered in French, in Proceedings, along with the texts of the major addresses given by Archbishop V. James Weisgerber, immediate Past President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Winnipeg, and Monsignor John Alesandro, Vicar General of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. As usual, the texts of all of the seminars will also be printed in Proceedings.

Yes, our annual convention is a wonderful opportunity to gather with fellow canonists. It is a time for learning, renewing friendships and networking. It certainly was an honor to have Bishop Arrieta with us for this week of study, reflection and camaraderie. On a number of occasions during the week, Bishop Arrieta commented on how good it was to be able to interact with canonists of our Society – and many of those attending the convention commented on how easy they found it to approach Bishop Arrieta and speak with him. From comments overheard throughout the week, it seems that this year’s convention was an absolute success. I think that the pages of Proceedings might become "dog-eared” a little more quickly this year as people take time to review the major addresses and to read a seminar presentation that they were not able to attend.

As usual, this year we had two Pre-Convention workshops. "Walking the Halls of Knowledge: Catholic School, Canon Law,” presented by Monsignor William J. King, Moderator of the Curia for the Diocese of Harrisburg, and "Defending the Bond Today: A Practical Workshop for Defenders of the Bond,” presented by Monsignor Joseph R. Punderson, Defender of the Bond for the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, were well attended. The 78 participants commented on the quality of the material presented and the value of the time spend in study with fellow canonists. The presence of Monsignor Punderson allowed for significant personal interaction with a member of the Signatura during the pre-convention gathering and throughout the convention itself.

Thanks to everyone who attended this year’s convention – as well as to all of our presenters and all of those who were "behind the scene” who pitched in whenever necessary during the convention and in the weeks of preparation before we arrived to Buffalo. A special "thank-you” goes to Bishop Edward U. Kmiec, Bishop of Buffalo, for his warm welcome and tremendous hospitality to us as a Society – and especially to the Board of Governors. He and all of the people on his staff outdid themselves in helping us understand why Buffalo is call the "City of Good Neighbors.” Finally, the work of Sister Sharon Euart, our Executive Coordinator, Mrs. Katie Richards, her Executive Assistant, and Father Michael Boccaccio, General Convention Chair, made this year’s gathering another memorable one. ▼
Click here to view the entire December 2010 Newsletter

Click here to view the 2010 Convention slide show (located at the bottom of the page)
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