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Current Society News: Meetings/Conventions

2009 Role of Law Award

Thursday, October 29, 2009  
Posted by: Katie Richards
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Very Reverend Lawrence A. DiNardo received the 2009 Role of Law Award in Louisville, Kentucky during the 71st Annual CLSA Convention.

Click here to view Fr. DiNardo's Acceptance Address

Rev. Lawrence A. DiNardo Accepts Role of Law AwardRole of Law Introduction by Rev. Daniel A. Smilanic, President

This year’s Role of Law recipient has received many earlier recognitions. Among them is the ‘Order of the Arrow’ which he earned as an Eagle Scout. As a person with a great zest for life, his curriculum vitae provides not just professional efforts, but also more personal achievements: a football official, a gourmet cook who auctions off dinners for charitable causes, and acknowledgment as the ‘Italian of the year in religion’ from the Italian Sons & Daughters Cultural Association in his area. Indeed, one of the most charming things about our recipient is his well-developed humanness. He is a person of great energy and enthusiasm. Again, his curriculum vitae describes his work in parishes, in his diocese, in health care, with the youth, with diocesan administration and with non-denominational civic projects. When he was the President of our Society, he attended most, if not all, of the Regional Conventions; having been to a few this past year as your President, I can tell you that he established a standard in that regard not easily met.

But our Role of Law award recognizes someone who has served the People of God in canonical ministry. In numerous writings of our Society, this is specified as research, study and assistance to the community of God’s people, singularly and collectively. Our recipient has certainly provided our Society and the wider Church with research and study. From matrimonial jurisprudence to educational and formational disputes to questions of consultation, he has assisted us in the use of all seven books of the Code of Canon Law. Currently, he is the one in his diocese responsible for the Department of Canonical Services. In other words, not only unofficially but officially, he is responsible for the research and study of any and all canonical questions; most of the questions involve if not actual disputes at least disturbing confusion.

I would be remiss if I did not comment on his most current assistance to the Church as one called upon to judge penal trials of clerics. As many of you know, it is not easy for a Tribunal, mandated by Rome but sitting locally, to move to a thoughtful conclusion through all the emotion, the bureaucracy, the procedural uncertainties and the particularities of a case. Our recipient this year adjudicates these cases with canonical skill, common sense and courtesy for all.

In all of this, however, our recipient focuses on the person, the individual, not the office or the title. In doing that, he demonstrates a real grasp of law in the Church: it is part of the living reality of God’s People. Context is everything, and our recipient never takes law out of the context of the community. Indeed, it is his humanity, which I noted at the beginning, that makes his canonical ministry so effective. As your President, and as a fellow Episcopal Vicar for Canonical Concerns, it is my pleasure to present to you the recipient of the 2009 Role of Law Award from the Canon Law Society of America, the Episcopal Vicar for Canonical Concerns for the diocese of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Fr. Larry DiNardo.

View Very Rev. Lawrence A. Dinardo's Acceptance Address

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