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2013 Role of Law Citation
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Role of Law Citation

Rev. John Vaughan, President


Each year the Canon Law Society of America presents its distinguished Role of Law Award to an individual considered to be outstanding in the field of canonical science. The By-Laws of the Society directs the Board of Governors to select a person who demonstrates in his or her life and legal practice the following characteristics:

Embodiment of pastoral attitude, commitment to research and study, participation in the development of law, response to needs or practical assistance, facilitation of dialogue and the interchange of ideas within the Society and with other groups.

These qualifications are a concise re-statement of the constitutionally-expressed purposes of the Society.

The person to whom this award is given is viewed by us as one who embodies all that we, as members of the Society hold dear, as one to whom we can look for guidance and inspiration. Such an official statement alone is perhaps the greatest honor that can be bestowed on anyone – to be selected by one’s friends and peers as outstanding among them.

The canonist we honor today has been a good and faithful servant of the Church and of the Law for many years. Born and educated in the Empire State, our recipient was ordained to the priesthood in 1963.

Having received his doctorate in Canon Law from the Gregorian University in 1975 – his thesis was "The Requirement of Perpetuity for the Impediment of Impotence". He has been an active member of our Society since 1976.

Although many know of our recipient’s canonical expertise, few here are aware of his affection for golf. One of his friends relates the story of playing one day and his bragging to the opponent how well he was playing. The opponent told our friend "not to count his money before the match was over.” Our awardee announced, "I am not counting my money, I’m counting yours!”

After a variety of pastoral assignments in his diocese, our recipient was named by Blessed John Paul II as a Judge of the Roman Rota on April 3, 1986 where he served for twenty-six years, becoming a Prelate Emeritus on October 9, 2012.

Through the years our distinguished colleague has authored numerous articles such as The Special Penal Norms of the United States and Their Application,; Deceit and Induced Error about a Personal Quality; Invalid Convalidation: A Legitimate Autonomous Ground of Marriage Nullity?

While serving in the Rota, he also worked with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on the Commission for Ratum et Non Consummatum cases, and on the Commission for dispensations from the obligations of the priesthood. He is a Consultor of the Congregation of the Clergy, and was a member of the Disciplinary Commission of the Roman Curia until he became a Judge of the Court of Appeal of Vatican City State in 2004. During his time in Rome, he was an invited Professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University and at the University of the Santa Croce.

By now I am certain that everyone here knows the identity of our honored recipient and undoubtedly many are familiar with his many sentences coram Boccafola. Please join me in thanking this eminent canonist for the work he has done for our Society and for the universal Church. As president of the Canon Law Society of America, it is my honor to present the 2013 Role of Law Award, on this our 75th anniversary, to Monsignor Kenneth Everett Boccafola.

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