More than 110 members of The Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland came together for their five-day annual conference at the Old Swan Hotel at Harrogate on May 16.
The society was honoured by the presence of Raymond Cardinal Burke, the prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, which is the highest judicial authority in the Church.
Cardinal Burke, who is also a member of the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland, addressed the society about the importance of vigilance in the Apostolic Signatura, as a necessity for the administration of justice in the Church.
There were five other speakers: Fr Paul Hayward of the Prelature of Holy Cross and Opus Dei spoke about personal jurisdictions and ordinariates; Mr Michael Ashe QC SC addressed the Society on the issue of human rights and the distinction between duty and right; Sister Rachel Harrington SND, sister of Notre Dame de Namur, spoke about the role of episcopal delegate for religious; Prof Luis Navarro, dean of the School of Canon Law at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, delivered his talk on clergy and new ecclesial movements and Prof Francis Morrisey OMI, professor emeritus of canon law at Saint Paul’s University, Ottawa, Canada, spoke about Canon 1099, error determining the will, asking when does error actually determine the will of a person who is entering into marriage.
At the annual gala dinner the Society’s president, Mgr David Hogan, thanked Cardinal Burke for gracing the society with his presence and acknowledged the importance of the Apostolic Signatura in the life of the Church.
Mgr Hogan also welcomed guests who included the president of the Canon Law Society of America, Fr Michael Joyce, and the president of the Canon Law Society of Australia and New Zealand, Fr Anthony Kerin.
A highlight of the week was the president’s special tribute to two members of the society, Sister Ishbel MacPherson SND and Mrs Margaret Foster, on whom he conferred honorary and life membership in recognition of their valuable contribution to the Society.
Sister Ishbel was born and brought up in Fort William, Scotland and has recently celebrated her diamond jubilee as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur. She obtained her doctorate in canon law from St Paul’s University, Ottawa, and is still Scotland’s only female Doctor of Canon Law. Sr Ishbel and the late Sr Enid Williamson were also the first female members of the society when they joined 33 years ago.