Course Number: CLA 601

Course Title: Canon Law I: Introduction

                                        Semester: Fall 2017


Name: Father Anthony McLaughlin, JCD

Email: amclaughlin@holyapostles.edu

Phone: (860) 632-3001


This course presents the complexity of the Church’s Law in a summary manner, specifically in Canon Law, trying to cover the first part of the Code of Canon Law. This is a useful presentation in the instruction of our future deacons and also a great help in the practicum of their future ministries.



Week 1: The History of Canon Law (1)

Lectures: James Coriden 1-12 

A. The Apostolic and Conciliar Age

B. The First Collections of Canon Law

C. The Greek Collections

D. The Latin Church in the Ninth Century

        E. The Eleventh Century and the Reform of the Latin Church

        F. The Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries: Gratian and Bologna

        G. The Papal Decretals, the Medieval and the Early Modern Jurists

Week 2: The History of Canon Law (2)

        H. The Codification of the Canon Law

  1. The Second Vatican Council
  2. The Code of Canon Law 1983 (CIC 83)
  3. The Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches 1990 (CCEO 90)

Week 3: Structure of the New Code

Lecture: Wilson & Lafleur index

        Book I: The Norms Generals cc. 1-203

        Book II: The People of God cc. 204-746

        Book III: The Mission of Teaching of the Church cc. 747-833

        Book IV: The Mission of Sanctify of the Church cc. 834-1253

        Book V: The Temporary goods of the Church cc. 1254-1310

        Book VI: Of Sanctions in the Church cc. 1311-1399

                Book VII: The Processes cc. 1400-1752

Week 4: The General Norms (1)

Lectures: Hand Book pp. 21-173

  1. Types of Law
  1. Divine Law and Human Law
  2. General and Particular Laws
  3. Territorial Law and Personal Law
  4. Invalidating and Incapacitating Laws

Week 5: The General Norms (2)

  1. Promulgation
  2. Retroactivity
  3. Custom

Week 6: The General Norms (3)

  1. Administrative Norms
  1. General Executory Decrees
  2. Instructions
  1. Statutes and Rules of Order
  1. Statutes
  2. Rules of Order

Week 7: The General Norms (4)

  1. Singular Administrative Acts
  1. Singular Decrees
  2. Singular Precepts

Week 8: The General Norms (5)

  1. Rescripts
  1. Privilege
  2. Dispensation

Week 9: The General Norms (6)

  1. The Subjects in Canon Law
  1. The Physical Person
  2. The Juridical Person
  1. Aggregates of Persons and Foundations
  2. Public and Private Persons

Week 10: The General Norms (7)

  1. The Constitution of the Church
  1. Constitutional Principles
  2. The fundamental Rights and Duties of the Faithful

Week 11: The General Norms (8)

  1. The Social Structure of the People of God
  1. The People of God
  2. The Lay Faithful

Week 12: The General Norms (9)

  1. Personal Status of Sacred Ministers

Week 13: The General Norms (10)

  1. Associations of the Faithful

Week 14: The People of God. Its Hierarchical Structure

  1. Ecclesiastical Organization
  2. The Universal and Particular Dimensions of the Church
  3. The Supreme Power
  4. The Particular Churches

Week 15: Consecrated Life

  1. Institutes of Consecrated Life
  2. Societies of Apostolic Life


The class participation starts when the student read in advance the topic of the class and shares with all what he has learned, they put attention of the explanation of the professor and makes pertinent questions if necessary.

The papers are done in pages double space and redacted in a research style, where you refer your source in the footnotes and give the author, title and page of your source; you must give your own points of view. Will be send to my e-mail amclaughlin@holyapostles.edu in the date indicated.

The midterm exam will cover the studied topic in the first part of the course. It can be used different methods to examine the student.

The final exam as well like midterm exam will cover the rest of the classes studied.

5. REQUIRED READINGS and RESOURCES: (The student must buy this as texts of classes)


CODE OF CANONS OF THE EASTERN CHURCHES, Latin-English Edition, Canon Law Society of America, Washington, DC, 1992, ISBN: 0-943616-52-2. (=CCEO)

EXEGETICAL COMMENTARY ON THE CODE OF CANON LAW, Volume I, edited by Angel Marzoa, Jorge Miras and Rafael Rodriguez Ocaña, English Language Edition, General Editor: Ernest Caparros; Review Coordinator: Patrick Lagges, Wilson&lafleur, Montreal, Canada; Midwest Theological Forum, Chicago, Illinois, 2004. (=ECCL)

  1. CORIDEN, An Introduction to Canon Law, Paulist Press, New York-Mahwah, N.J., 1990, pp. 9-29. (=Coriden)

J.M. HUELS, The Pastoral Companion: A Canon Law Handbook for Catholic Ministry, completely Revised, Updated and Expanded, Illinois, Franciscan Press, 1995, 432 p.

___________, Liturgy and Law: Liturgical Law in the System of Roman Catholic Canon Law, Wilson & Lafleur, Montreal, Canada, Midwest Theological Forum, Chicago, Illinois, 2006, 249 p. ISBN 2-89127-773-2.


Students who have difficulty with research and composition are encouraged to pursue assistance with the Online Writing Lab (available at http://www.holyapostles.edu/owl).


A 94-100; A- 90-93; B+ 87-89; B 84-86; B- 80-83; C+ 77-79; C 74-76; C- 70-73 60-69; F 59 and below

[The grading rubric below is optional for faculty to include or modify. A rubric is a helpful tool for ensuring that students know a professor’s expectations. It’s also an easy way to score any assignment.]

Papers - CONTENT

Absence of Understanding

Analysis shows no awareness of the discipline or its methodologies as they relate to the topic.

Lack of Understanding

Analysis seems to misunderstand some basic concepts of the discipline or lacks ability to articulate them.

Inadequate understanding

Analysis is sometimes unclear in understanding or articulating concepts of the discipline.

Adequate understanding

Analysis demonstrates an understanding of basic concepts of the discipline but could express them with greater clarity.

Solid Understanding

Analysis demonstrates a clear understanding and articulation of concepts with some sense of their wider implications.

Insightful understanding

Analysis clearly demonstrates an understanding and articulation of concepts of the discipline as they relate to the topic; highlights connections to other concepts; integrates concepts into wider contexts.


Missing Research

Paper shows no evidence of research: citation of sources missing.

Inadequate research and/or documentation

Over-reliance on few sources; spotty documentation of facts in text; pattern of citation errors.

Weak research and/or documentation

Inadequate number or quality of sources; many facts not referenced; several errors in citation format.

Adequate research and documentation but needs improvement

Good choice of sources but could be improved with some additions or better selection; did not always cite sources; too many citation errors.

Solid research and documentation

A number of relevant scholarly sources revealing solid research; sources appropriately referenced in paper; only a few minor citation errors.

Excellent critical research and documentation

Critically selected and relevant scholarly sources demonstrating extensive, in-depth research; sources skillfully incorporated into paper at all necessary points; all citations follow standard bibliographic format.


Incomplete writing

Analysis is only partially written or completely misses the topic.

Writing difficult to understand, serious improvement needed

Analysis fails to address the topic; confusing organization or development; little elaboration of position; insufficient control of sentence structure and vocabulary; unacceptable number of errors in grammar, mechanics, and usage.

Episodic writing, a mix of strengths and weaknesses.

Analysis noticeably neglects or misinterprets the topic; simplistic or repetitive treatment, only partially-internalized; weak organization and development, some meandering; simple sentences, below-level diction; distracting errors in grammar, mechanics, and usage.

Acceptable writing, but could use some sharpening of skill

Analysis is an uneven response to parts of the topic; somewhat conventional treatment; satisfactory organization, but more development needed; adequate syntax and diction, but could use more vigor; overall control of grammar, mechanics, and usage, but some errors.

Solid writing, with something interesting to say.

Analysis is an adequate response to the topic; some depth and complexity in treatment; persuasive organization and development, with suitable reasons and examples; level-appropriate syntax and diction; mastery of grammar, mechanics, and usage, with hardly any error.

Command-level writing, making a clear impression

Analysis is a thorough response to the topic; thoughtful and insightful examination of issues; compelling organization and development; superior syntax and diction; error-free grammar, mechanics, and usage.

Class Participation:

  1. A Short History of Canon Law from Apostolic Times to 1917 (survey during the class) Coriden, pp. 1-12. Read before to coming to class. (August/September)
  2. James A. CORIDEN, An Introduction to Canon Law, Paulist Press, New York-Mahwah, N.J., 1990, 2004, Published by Paulist  (=Coriden) Read section commanded for each class.
  3. Apostolic Constitution Sacrae Disciplina Leges, 25 January 1983.  Apostolic Constitution Sacri Canones, October 18, 1990. Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus, June 28, 1988, 1-14. The student must make an analysis and discuss in class the importance of these documents. This will be after two weeks starting the classes.


1. Summa Theologiae, Saint Thomas Aquinas, First Part of the Second Part, QQ 90-108, [Ia IIae]. Explain, in four pages, the kinds of law and the impact in the Church’s Law by the end of September.

2. Council Vatican II: Sacrosanctum Concilium 26; Lumen Gentium 1; 7; 48; 59; Ad Gentes 1; 4; Gaudium et Spes 45. In four pages explain the understanding of the Church  as: Sacrament of Salvation; The place of the Incarnation; The meaning of the Mystical Body of Christ; and the importance of this conciliar documents in the structure of the New Code of Canon Law, by the end of November.


Students in this course seeking accommodations to disabilities must first consult with the Disabilities Resource Center in the Registrar’s Office and follow the instructions of that office for obtaining accommodations.


Students at Holy Apostles College & Seminary are expected to practice academic honesty.

Avoiding Plagiarism

In its broadest sense, plagiarism is using someone else's work or ideas, presented or claimed as your own.  At this stage in your academic career, you should be fully conscious of what it means to plagiarize. This is an inherently unethical activity because it entails the uncredited use of someone else's expression of ideas for another's personal advancement; that is, it entails the use of a person merely as a means to another person’s ends.

Students, where applicable:

Consequences of Academic Dishonesty:

Because of the nature of this class, academic dishonesty is taken very seriously.  Students participating in academic dishonesty may be removed from the course and from the program.


As part of the formation process, the intellectual dimension, every student must know the classroom is the place of learning and preparation for their future as leaders of souls, the success of every student starts from the moment of the first class till the end of the semester. The active and respectful participation is highly encouraged. The classes starts, the door it is close.


An Incomplete is a temporary grade assigned at the discretion of the faculty member. It is typically allowed in situations in which the student has satisfactorily completed major components of the course and has the ability to finish the remaining work without re-enrolling, but has encountered extenuating circumstances, such as illness, that prevent his or her doing so prior to the last day of class.

To request an incomplete, students must first download a copy of the Incomplete Request Form. This document is located within the Shared folder of the Files tab in Populi. Secondly, students must fill in any necessary information directly within the PDF document. Lastly, students must send their form to their professor via email for approval. “Approval” should be understood as the professor responding to the student’s email in favor of granting the “Incomplete” status of the student.

Students receiving an Incomplete must submit the missing course work by the end of the sixth week following the semester in which they were enrolled. An incomplete grade (I) automatically turns into the grade of “F” if the course work is not completed.

Students who have completed little or no work are ineligible for an incomplete. Students who feel they are in danger of failing the course due to an inability to complete course assignments should withdraw from the course.

A “W” (Withdrawal) will appear on the student’s permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the first week of a semester to the end of the third week. A “WF” (Withdrawal/Fail) will appear on the student’s permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the third week of a semester and on or before the Friday before the last week of the semester.


C:\Users\AMcLaughlin\Desktop\PIC 2.jpg

Name: Rev. Anthony McLaughlin was born in Belfast, N. Ireland and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, December 21, 1997.

Education: 1989-92: Bachelor’s Degree, Philosophy & Latin, Queen’s University, Belfast; 1992-1995:  Masters of Divinity, St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth; 2003: Licentiate in Canon Law, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC; 2010: Doctorate in Canon Law, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC. During the 2014-2015 academic year, Fr. McLaughlin returned to CUA as assistant professor of Canon Law and director of the Institute on Matrimonial Tribunal Practice.

Work experience: Fr. McLaughlin most recently served as Vicar General of the Diocese of Tyler and President of Bishop Gorman Catholic School. He has previously served as Rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Tyler, Judicial Vicar, judge of the diocesan tribunal and Defender of the Bond.Fr. McLaughlin has also served as Pastor of several parishes.