Institute of Catholic Studies Seal

RL 480.51 CS
last update 15 July 2008

DATES Summer Session III
Meets in AD225
One Week Only: 7/21–7/25/2008
Monday–Friday 8:30–4:30
Tel: 216-397-3087
Office: AD B250e (second floor near O'Malley)
Office Hours: by appointment only
DESCRIPTION An introduction to the 1983 Codex Juris Canonici in its historical context, with a view to its pastoral application. Special attention is given to the canons on the sacraments of baptism, eucharist, and marriage. Because of its focus on Roman Catholic Canon Law, this course fulfills part of the requirements for the Catholic Studies Concentration.
ASSUMPTIONS Students should have a basic understanding of the sacraments and structures of the Roman Catholic Church. It also is very helpful to have at least cursory knowledge of the documents of the Second Vatican Council, and the recent General Instruction on the Roman Missal.
OBJECTIVES Through the successful completion of this course, a student will become able to:
  • Find the pertinent sections in the Codex to evaluate a difficult pastoral situation
  • Describe the roles of the basic divisions of the institutional Church
  • Make fruitful use of the basic research tools for analysis of canonical questions
  • Demonstrate understanding of the theological foundations for and context of the canonical provisions pertaining to the Sacraments
  1. Beal, John P., James A. Coriden, and Thomas J. Green, eds. New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law. Study Edition. New York/Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist, 2002. ISBN 0809140667.
  2. Coriden, James A. An Introduction to Canon Law. New York/Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist, 1991, 2004. ISBN 0809142562.
RECOMMENDED TEXTS (some of these are out-of-print, but still worth reading if you can find them)
  1. Huels, The Pastoral Companion. Franciscan, 2003. ISBN 0819909688.
  2. McKenna, Kevin E. A Concise Guide to Canon Law. Notre Dame, Ind.: Ave Maria Press, 2000. ISBN 0877939349.
  3. Hite, Jordan, and Daniel J. Ward. Readings, Cases, Materials in Canon Law: A Textbook for Ministerial Students, Revised Edition. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1992.  ISBN 0814610811.
  4. Örsy, Ladislas. Theology and Canon Law: New Horizons for Legislation and Interpretation. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1992.  ISBN 0814650112.
Also, students with limited background in Roman Catholic Church history and theology (especially as mentioned in "Assumptions," above) are encouraged to consult the following:
  1. The Documents of Vatican II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents, New Revised Edition. Two volumes. Ed. by Austin Flannery. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1975, 1984. Repr. Costello, 1996. ISBN 0918344379 & 0918344166. See especially the constitutions on the Church and on the Liturgy.
  2. Catechism of the Catholic Church. 2d edition. U.S. Catholic Conference. ISBN 1574551094. See especially Part 1, Art. 9–10; Part 2 (entire); Part 3, chpt. 3, Art. 3; Part 4.2, Art. 1.
CLASS FORMAT Seminar, with a strong focus on case studies. Brief lectures and student presentations will supplement active and critical analyses of the cases.
CONSULTATION I welcome the opportunity to talk with you about your academic and research interests before or after class, or at other times by appointment.
ACADEMIC INTEGRITY I hope it goes without saying that academic honesty is expected of all students. This includes submitting your own original work as well as properly citing sources for the ideas you borrow or on which you build—including Scriptural and Canonical references, web pages, handouts, class notes, and ideas from other students. I am sure that you intend to do this. Be sure you understand what academic integrity comprises so you can live up to it. Remember, "ignorance is no defense under the law"; you are required to know. See the appropriate section of the JCU Community Standards Manual or follow this link for further information. If you are uncertain of when or how to make citations, Kate Turabian's Manual may be quite helpful.
      Any student who violates academic integrity will earn an "F" for the course.
REQUIREMENTS & GRADING Undergraduates: Graduate Students:
25% Class Participation 20% Class Participation
75% Three Case Analyses (2–4 pages each) & Class Presentations 80% Four Case Analyses (2–4 pages each) & Class Presentations
Students will select three case studies from among those provided by the Instructor. In addition to analyzing three of the case studies provided by the Instructor, each student will analyze a fourth case study which she/he will create based upon her/his experiences in pastoral ministry and/or reading with respect to contemporary pastoral issues.
CLASS PARTICIPATION Participation is evaluated on the basis of the quality and quantity of a student's contributions, especially in discussions and case presentations. It likewise includes attentiveness, receptivity, and courteous engagement of the ideas of others in the seminar. This presumes keeping pace with the readings assigned for each session.
A WORD TO THE WISE Since the class meets in such a compressed time-frame, it is wise to do as much of the reading as possible before the class meetings actually begin. This allows you to keep pace with the class assignments without giving up eating and sleeping for the week!
CASE STUDIES THE CASE ANALYSES include such features as:
  • a summary of the key facts of the case
  • an outline of the pastoral issues involved
  • a list of the canons you see as pertinent to the case
  • a discussion of your assumptions regarding the literary, rhetorical & historical aspects of these canons
  • a statement of how you would resolve the case, including the grounds for your decision
  • a brief analysis of the ethical, pastoral, and theological implications of your decision

Session 1, M 7/21 What is Canon Law & what is it not? Brief Survey of Roman Catholic Theology since Vatican II; Historical and Cultural Contexts of the 1983 Codex; Pastoral Purpose of the Code
  • Before this first class, read Part One of the Codex (in the English, Latin, or Parallel version) and also James Coriden's Introduction, 1–54, 191–204.
  • Skim Beal, xix–xx, 1–238.
  • Recommended readings are Hite & Ward, 1–166; Huels (entire); McKenna 13–24, 109–25; Örsy (entire).
  • In class, we will review the Syllabus and sign-up for cases.
Session 2, T 7/22 The Church as the People of God
  • Read Codex II (Eng; Lat; Par); Coriden, Intro 55–102.
  • Skim Beal, 239–908.
  • Rec: Hite & Ward, 168–335; McKenna 25–47.
Session 3, W 7/23 The Church as Teacher
  • Read Codex III (Eng; Lat; Par); Coriden, Intro, 103–15.
  • Skim Beal, 909–93.
  • Rec: Hite & Ward, 337–68.
Session 4, R 7/24 The Church as Instrument of God's Sanctifying Grace
  • Read Codex IV (Eng; Lat; Par); Coriden, Intro, 116–48.
  • Skim Beal, 995–1448.
  • Rec: Hite & Ward, 370–406; McKenna 49–79, 97–102.
Session 5, F 7/25 The Church as Institution
  • Read Codex V–VII (Eng; Lat; Par); Coriden, Intro, 149–90
  • Skim Beal 1449–1854
  • Rec: Hite & Ward, 408–67; McKenna 81–96, 103–107.
SERVICES FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES Students with documented disabilities are entitled to necessary and reasonable accommodations. If you believe you need accommodations, consult JCU's Coordinator for Students with Disabilities as soon as possible so that timely arrangements can be made. Accommodations cannot be granted retroactively.


Universities always have maintained confidentiality of students’ transcripts and other records. In an attempt to establish more uniformity in this regard, the U.S. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) established clear guidelines concerning which records can be available to whom and by what means. Students should be aware of the following policies that conform to FERPA.

  • Students always have a right to see their own grades and discuss them with the Instructor.
  • Students do not have a right to see or discuss anyone else’s grades.
  • Thus, without a written release from the other student, it is forbidden to “do a friend a favor” by retrieving her/his graded assignment.
  • The Instructor cannot discuss a student’s grades with parents, fraternity or sorority officers, or other non-academic personnel without a written release from the student.
  • The Instructor will not discuss grades via email or other insecure media. Questions about grades must be discussed in person or via telephone, preferably a land-based line. Any student who uses a mobile phone to contact the instructor about grades is presumed to understand that those communications are liable to interception by third parties.
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