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Requiescat in pace

Death of Father Francis Morrisey OMI

By July 8, 2020January 15th, 2021No Comments

It is with great sadness that I announce the death of Life Member, Father Frank Morrisey, on 23 May 2020 in Ottawa.

May he rest in peace.

In 1977 the late Frank Harman [Melbourne] and Geoff Robinson attended an Inter- Episcopal Conference meeting in Dublin concerning the draft on Procedures for the revised CIC.  Frank was one of the canon lawyers present.  [See the article in The Canonist 5/1 2014, pp. 93-106 “A Quiet Word with Bishop Joe O’Connell” by Tony Kerin. Thus, Frank was invited to speak at the 1978 Conference.

Frank’s association with the Society began when he came to the Twelfth Annual Conference held in Sydney in 1978.  His presentations were: “The Theology of Law in the Discourses of Pope Paul VI”, “Immaturity and Matrimonial Consent” and “The Revision of the Code of Canon Law”.

Over the years Frank  was present at Conferences and gave presentations at several of them.  In 2013 he gave a presentation on “The Code for the Church in the Future”.   His last was Conference was in 2016.

Frank contributed articles to the CLSANZ Newsletter between 1978 and 2006.  He also contributed to The Canonist 2010-2013 and 2015.

At the 1978 Conference Frank promoted St Paul University as an option for students from Australia and New Zealand to study canon law.  His link with the Society was strengthened by the number of his former students being members.

Frank was made an Honorary Life Member of the Society in 1978.

The first Institute of Tribunal Practice was held in 1978, and Frank was one of the lecturers.

Frank’s contribution to the churches of Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific and Asia stretch further than his ministry with canon lawyers and practitioners.  Many dioceses and religious institutes are indebted to him for his work with them in relation to their internal organisation and their apostolates.

Born in Charlottetown PE [Prince Edward Island], Canada on 13 February 1936, Frank was ordained a priest in 1961 for the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.  After completing his canon law studies at the Saint Paul University he joined the faculty as a professor.  He was a founding member of the Canadian Canon Law Society.  Frank was well-known throughout the Church, being called on often to speak about Canon Law and related topics.  He also took part in the preparations for the 1983 Code of Canon Law, served as a consultor to many, and even in recent times was still taking trips to Rome for work.  He probably remembered your name no matter when or where he met you.  And he knew when and where he met you too.

Described as a faithful son of Saint Eugene De Mazenod by Msgr Renken of the University of Saint Paul and as a man of great empathy and compassion by Ken Thorson OMI, he will be missed by the members of the Canadian Canon Law Society, of  our Society and of the other Societies to which he belonged and to whom he gave great service.

Let us offer our prayers for him, for his family and friends, and for the Oblate community.


Father Ken Cafe, President, CLSANZ