The Catholic University of America

Artds and Sciences

School of Canon Law
– Since 1885

125 emblem

Historical Highlights

  Caldwell Hall
  The School of Canon Law is located in Catholic University's original building, Caldwell Hall.

Graduate study in canon law was planned for the Catholic University of America since its inception.

From January 25 to 27, 1885, the founding committee or board of trustees held its first meeting at the residence of the Archbishop of New York.

The founding committee proposed to set up eight chairs, including one in canon law. The endowment necessary to produce an annual salary of $2,500 was estimated to be $50,000. Faculty seats in canon law were filled on and off until 1923 inside the School of Theology and Religious Students.

At the suggestion of Pope Pius XI, the course work expanded to a full school. Its faculty consisted of five professors, three of canon law, one of Roman law, and one of international law.

In 1973, the School of Canon Law was subsumed into the School of Religious Studies, with faculty fearing that this would jeopardize their unique pontifical status.

As of December 13, 2001, the Board of Trustees approved the re-establishment of the School of Canon Law as a separate ecclesiastical school of the University. It remains the only school for higher education in canon law in the country.  

Anniversary Events

The School of Canon Law celebrated the 125th anniversary of the University as part of the fifth annual Frederick R. McManus Memorial Lecture Series on Nov. 3, 2011. The Right Reverend Archimandrite Robert F. Taft, S.J., F.B.A., professor emeritus of the Pontificio Istituto Orientale delivered the historically themed lecture, “In Dialogue with Fred McManus: Catholic Liturgy and the Christian East at Vatican II – Nostalgia for Orthodoxy?”