Canon law is not for the faint of heart
The Canon Law Conference for Canonists and Civil Attorneys, hosted by the Shrine of Our Lady Guadalupe in La Crosse, WI, is over, but the buzz from that meeting will remain in the air for some time. It was a terrific success and it needs to become, I think, an annual event at that beautiful locale during the first week of August.
The quote of the conference had to be Abp. Raymond Burke’s quip during the Monday evening dinner to a question about how canon lawyers should prepare to face the challenges of the future. “Well,” replied the world’s most influential canonist, “the first thing I would say is, canon law is not for the faint of heart!”
The honesty, clarity, and charity, of that remark, delivered with cheerful confidence in the Lord and His Church, sums up this terrific meeting.
It would have been, of course, nigh on impossible to find four better speakers for this inaugural conference: Abp. Raymond Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, Fr. James Conn, sj, editor of Periodica, Fr. John Couhglin, ofm, professor at Notre Dame Law, and Mr. Ben Nguyen, Chancellor of the Diocese of La Crosse. Each of their talks was engaging and thoughtful and deserves wide circulation.
But, if I may so, this impressive constellation of speakers was also such as to draw a dynamic audience of canonists, attorneys, pastors, religious, and numerous other interested (and interesting!) people, making the break times almost as productive as the formal sessions. I cannot begin to list all the folks at the meeting whom I’ve read for years, corresponded with, and/or generally followed in their service of the Church. It was edifying and exciting to be around them.
I look forward to the next conference just as soon as it can be arranged! + + +