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2014 Role of Law Award Citation
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2014 Role of Law Award Citation

Very Rev. Phillip J. Brown, pss

This year’s Role of Law Award recipient was born in 1939 in a rural diocese far from the ecclesiastical and governmental centers of power, but he eventually spent most of his ecclesiastical career in the nation’s capital. He was ordained a priest in 1964 for his home diocese and proceeded immediately to earn his JCL at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He earned a JCD from Saint Paul University in Ottawa in 1968.

Back in his diocese, in addition to serving as a diocesan priest in parochial assignments, this man was responsible for the permanent diaconate formation program and also served as Promoter of Justice and Defender of the Bond. He served as Spiritual Director at the diocesan seminary for a time, where he also taught courses in catechesis.

This individual served for a time as Dean of a canon law faculty – not at the Catholic University of America, but in the nation’s capital where he has spent most of his career – Ottawa, Canada. Here, at Saint Paul University, he became adjunct professor of canon law in 1977, Associate Professor in 1983, and Ordinary Professor of Canon Law in 1987, accepting the role of Dean of the Faculty of Canon Law from 1996 to 2003. He has been a member of the Faculty of études supérieurs and postdoctoral studies at the University of Ottawa from 1985 to the present, and he has served the Saint Paul Faculty as Emeritus Professor since 2005 and assistant professor since 2007. He continues to teach regularly in the summer program of the School of Canon Law at the Catholic University of America in our nation’s capital, and he has also taught in the Faculty of Canon Law at Leuven, Belgium where he held the W. Onclin Chair in 2001 and 2007.

This canonist was a member of the Institut des communications sociales of the University of St. Paul from 1983-1985, a member of the delegation of the Holy See to the meeting of the International Commission of Telecommunications under the Organization of American States in 1990, and a member of the Administrative Council of the University of St. Paul University from 1994-1996. He served as President of the Canadian Canon Law Society from 2004-2006, and Judicial Vicar of the Ottawa Regional Tribunal from 2005-2007. He was a member of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Canada for the revision of the Protocol “De la souffrance à l’espérance” (“From Suffering to Hope”) regarding the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy in 2001, and a member of the Ad Hoc Committee for the revision of Book VI of the Code of Canon Law regarding penal law from 2011-2012.

Currently, this canonist is the Judicial Vicar of the Appeal Tribunal of Canada. He has written five books, over thirty-five articles on canon law, and has contributed to fourteen volumes of articles by various authors. He has had – and continues to have – a truly distinguished career as a canonist, a professor of canon law and scholar, and as an educational administrator. He received the Mention de Mérite Jean Thorn from the Canadian Canon Law Society in 1997 and was made Prelate of Honor by His Holiness St. Pope John Paul II in 1999. He has been a member of the Canon Law Society of America since 1980, modeling joint membership in our two Societies.  That close, collaborative relationship has done so much to enhance the professionalism and competence in the field of canon law in the United States and Canada.

Tonight’s award recipient is much beloved by his former and current students and his colleagues in the ministry of canon law, and truly needs no introduction; but even this brief résumé of his many ministerial and professional accomplishments is an indication of how much he merits to be recognized and honored by the Canon Law Society of America with its Role of Law Award. I could not be more pleased, more delighted, to announce the recipient of the 2014 Canon Law Society of America Role of Law Award, my friend and colleague, the good friend of so many of us, and our shared friend with Canada and the canon law community throughout the world, our highly respected and beloved colleague Msgr. Roch Pagé.  Roch, would you please join me on the stage to receive your award and grace us with a few remarks upon your receipt of this distinguished honor.

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