The Role of Law Award is the Canon Law Society's most prestigious honor and is awarded annually at the CLSA convention. The first Role of Law Award was presented on the 18th of October 1973 in Washington, DC, by the then
President of the Society, the Reverend Donald E. Heintschel, on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the CLSA. The intent of the award was,
and remains to be, to choose someone in our midst who best exemplifies the
ideals spelled out in the preamble of the Society's Constitution.
"We, the members of the Canon Law
Society of America, ever
eager to fulfill our role in the Church through the proper use of canon
law, hereby proclaim our desire to promote the use of every method of
serving God's people that comes under the concept of law. Mindful that
church laws ought to be pastoral in character and made only to serve
the people of God, we accept our responsibility as Christians trained
in canon law to continue research and study and to assist any members
of Christ's Body singularly or collectively, laity or clergy, who will
welcome the deliberations, research and common opinion of this Society."