55th Annual Conference – 5th to 8th September, 2022

The Canon Law Society of Australia and New Zealand announces the 55th Annual Conference which will be held virtually – via Zoom. The presentations will be available to members and participants at the times listed below, as well as after the Conference on the CLSANZ website.

During these Covid times, as a “family” and community of Canonists, the safety and welfare of Society members and others is paramount. Therefore, the Executive Committee resolved to hold the 2022 Conference virtually – as was done in 2021. No doubt, all look forward to the possibility of travelling to Christchurch, New Zealand, for the 56th Conference in 2023. In the meantime, this year’s “full” Conference provides essential ongoing formation covering relevant canonical issues during these somewhat difficult times.

On 8 December 2021, the revised Book VI of the Code of Canon Law came into force. Currently, New Zealand is in the midst of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care in both State and Faith-Based Institutions. These two events formed a catalyst for the theme of this year’s Conference, Penal Law and Processes in the Catholic Church.

Members pay $110 and Non-Members pay $165 for access to all presentations.

The Itinerary

All times are Australian Eastern Standard Times

Monday, 5 September
13:15 – 13:30 Welcome and Opening of Conference
13:30 – 14:30 Bishop Stephen Lowe Beyond Redress – a Hikoi with Survivors
15:00 – 16:00 Dr Judith Hahn Moral Certainty in the Penal Processes
Tuesday, 6 September
09:30 – 10:30 Dr Rocio Figueroa The Victims’ Voices
11:00 – 12:00 Ms Virginia Noonan Responding – The Evolving Catholic Scene
13:00 – 14:00 Cardinal-Elect Gianfranco Ghirlanda SJ Praedicate Evangelium on the Roman Curia
Wednesday, 7 September
09:30 – 10:30 Msgr John Renken The Revised Book VI
11:00 – 12:00 Msgr Brendan Daly Best Practices in Penal Processes
13:00 – 14:00 Sr Sheila McCreanor RSJ Challenges in Revising Religious Law
Thursday, 8 September
09:30 – 10:30 Ms Adrienne Connaghan and Fr Paul Clark Role of an Auditor – Interviewing Techniques
11:00 – 12:30 Sr Elizabeth Delaney SGS Revisions of Law for Religious
Mrs Paula Kerr Gender Issues and Marriage Consent
TBA Revisions to Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela
13:30 – 14:30 Annual General Meeting

The Presenters

Bishop Stephen (Steve) Lowe Born and raised in the famous town of Hokitika, he became a priest of Christchurch Diocese in 1996, and after some years as a parish priest served as Formation Director in the NZ National Seminary in Auckland. In 2015 Bishop Steve was ordained as the local Ordinary for Hamilton Diocese. Bishop Steve holds the portfolio in the Bishops’ Conference for Safeguarding. In February of 2022 Bishop Steve was transferred by Pope Francis and installed as the 12th Bishop of Auckland. It is his time and experience walking alongside both victims and accused as Bishop of Hamilton that he shares with our Conference.

Dr Judith Hahn is a professor of canon law and judge at the Ecclesiastical Labour Court based in Germany. She is the current Chair of Canon Law at Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn and has published widely, including the recent books Church Law in Modernity and Foundations of a Sociology of Canon Law. Forthcoming are The Language of Canon Law and The Sacraments of the Law, the Law of the Sacraments . Her areas of speciality are constitutional law, the theory of canon law, and the sociology of canon law.

Dr Rocio Figueroa is a Peruvian Catholic theologian and is a systematic theology lecturer in Catholic Theological College, Auckland. She has previously lectured and worked in Peru, Italy and Mexico. She worked in the Holy See as head of the women’s section in the Pontifical Council for the Laity. Rocio’s present research focus is theological and pastoral responses for survivors of Church sexual and spiritual abuse.

Ms Virginia Noonan is the Director of the National Office for Professional Standards (NOPS). She is a former Christchurch lawyer and mother of two, and previously worked as the inaugural safeguarding co-ordinator for the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch. Virginia was appointed Director in 2018 and provided evidence to the Royal Commission outlining how NOPS operationalises the safeguarding and harm-prevention programmes and offered reflections on the survivor evidence given at the Faith-based Redress Hearing.

Cardinal-Elect Gianfranco Ghirlanda SJ was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1973. He earned a licentiate in canon law in 1975, and a doctorate in 1978. Gianfranco has taught courses in canon law in various faculties of the Gregorian since 1975. In 1986 he became a full professor and served as Dean of the Faculty of Canon Law from 1995 to 2004. He has served the Holy See as a consultor of various congregations and councils, and has been a judge of the Court of Appeal in Vatican City from 1993 to 2003. He has published books on canon law, and approximately 110 articles in various publications. He was appointed rector of the Gregorian University from 1 September 2004 to 2010.

Msgr John Renken holds degrees in philosophy, civil law, dogmatic theology and canon law. He was ordained in 1979, and has been president of the Canon Law Society of America 1999-2000. He was a visiting professor of canon law at the Catholic University of America 1989-2006. In 2007 he joined the faculty of canon law, Saint Paul University, Ottawa, where he is now Dean and editor of Studia Canonica. He has authored five books on canon law, including: The Penal Law of the Roman Catholic Church: Commentary on Canons 1311-1399 and 1717-1731 and Other Sources of Penal Law.

Msgr Brendan Daly is a priest of the Diocese of Christchurch. He studied canon law at the Saint Paul University, Ottawa, completing his doctorate in 1986. He taught at Holy Cross College from 1987 and was Rector of Holy Cross Seminary from 1995-2000. He was lecturer in canon law at Good Shepherd College – Te Hepara Pai in 2001 and appointed Principal in 2002. He is the Judicial Vicar of the Tribunal of the Catholic Church for New Zealand and is the author of Canon Law in Action published by St Pauls Publications in 2015. He publishes articles in a number of canon law journals.

Sr Sheila McCreanor RSJ is from country South Australia and joined the Sisters of Saint Joseph in 1968. Her early ministry was in education as a teacher and principal of various city and country schools. She was elected to the General Council and served as Secretary General 2002-2014. Since then she completed her licentiate in canon law by distance mode in 2019. She is a Defender of the Bond for the Interdiocesan Tribunal of Adelaide, and is currently engaged in rewriting the Constitutes for her institute.

Ms Adrienne Connaghan JCL
Judge – Sydney

Fr Paul Clark JCL
Associate Judicial Vicar – Sydney

Sr Elizabeth Delaney SGS JCD
Vicar for Religious Sydney
Defender of the Bond

Mrs Paula Kerr
Clinical Psychologist
Judge – Sydney