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Church legal issues discussed


The serious issues facing the Church today were addressed at the 52nd annual conference of the Canon Law Society of Australia and New Zealand held in Adelaide in September.

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Two specialists from Rome gave scholarly presentations. Fr Robert Geisinger sj spoke on the laws and procedures for addressing grave delicts committed by Church personnel. His confrere, Fr Hans Zollner sj reflected on the words of Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI, ‘Wounds inflicted in the Body of Christ’ – How Theology, Psychology and Canon Law can deal with Sexual Abuse of Minors.

Sr Mary Wright ibvm gave a well-received lecture on the newly emerging bodies, ministerial public juridic persons, formed for the continuance of many charitable ministries in the Church – roles previously filled by members of religious congregations. Fr John Salvano raised issues concerning arranged marriages for the faithful.

The conference concluded with Bishop Greg O’Kelly, Apostolic Administrator, and the visiting clergy celebrating the Conference Mass together with participants. The grand finale was the conference dinner, a highlight of which was the Society presenting Dr Rodger Austin with the Owen Oxenham Award.

Dr Rodger Austin (middle)

Honouring a founding father and first president of the Society, the award is for an outstanding contribution to the work of the Society. Rodger, a member for 45 years is a prolific writer, a teacher of Canon Law, a canonical adviser to many and was president of the Society and a member of its executive for many years.


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