We, the members of the Canon Law Society of America, ever eager to
fulfill our role in the Church through the proper use of canon law,
hereby proclaim our desire to promote the use of every method of
serving God's people that comes under the concept of law. Mindful that
church laws ought to be pastoral in character and made only to serve
the people of God, we accept our responsibility as Christians trained
in canon law to continue research and study and to assist any members
of Christ's Body singularly or collectively, laity or clergy, who will
welcome the deliberations, research and common opinion of this Society.
With these thoughts in mind and invoking the help of God, we adopt the
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Article I -- Name
The name of this association shall be THE CANON LAW SOCIETY OF AMERICA.
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Article II -- Purpose
The purpose of this Society shall be:
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- To promote the pastoral ministry of the Church.
cooperate in the continuous revision and renewal of the universal law
of the Church and with the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in
proposing new legislation, resolving current legal questions and
implementing laws and structures which pertain to the vital life of the
- To encourage and participate in canonical research and study toward a constant renewal of canon law.
respond to the practical canonical needs of all the people of God in
the respective capacities in which they serve and benefit from the
- To facilitate the interchange of canonical ideas, practices and decisions among canon lawyers, and other members of the Society.
- To cooperate with individuals and organizations doing research in other sacred sciences for the promotion of mutual interests.
- To establish a dialogue and share ideas, proposals and insights, with other canon law societies in the world.
Article III -- Membership
There are four kinds of membership in the Canon Law Society of America: Active, Associate, Student and Honorary.
Members are those who have currently paid their annual dues or are not more than two years in arrears.
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- Without prejudice to the status of persons who are
members at the time of the adoption of this article, ACTIVE membership
is open to those who have earned at least a licentiate in canon law.
membership is also open in the future to other practitioners in canon
law who demonstrate a broadly based competence in canonical issues and
who have fulfilled the stipulated requirements established by the Board
of Governors as enumerated in the By-Laws.
- ASSOCIATE members are any others who wish to associate themselves with the purpose of the Society.
membership is open to those enrolled in any school of Canon Law engaged
in studies to obtain a licentiate in canon law. Student members will
enjoy the same prerogatives as associate members of the Society.
- HONORARY members are:
- ex officio all the Most Reverend Bishops of the United States, and
person by reason of outstanding contributions in the field of canon law
or in support of the Society, are proposed for this distinction of
honorary membership by the Board of Governors and accepted by a
majority vote of the active members at a General Meeting. Such elected
honorary members shall be considered active members in good standing
but shall not be required to pay annual dues.
Article IV -- Dues
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- Any change in the amount of the annual dues of active,
associate and student members shall be proposed by the Board of
Governors but shall be determined by a majority vote of those active
members present and voting at a General Meeting at which the proposal
- The fiscal year of the Society shall begin on
the first day of July of each year and shall end on the 30th day of
June of the following year.
- Dues are payable to the Treasurer by mail, but may also be paid at the Annual General Meeting of the Society.
active, associate or student member shall forfeit membership in the
Society by failing to pay the annual dues for two consecutive years,
and shall not be included in the term "member" or "membership" as used
in the articles of this Constitution.
Article V -- Rights, Benefits, and Duties
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- Members of the Society shall be entitled to all benefits
and rights of membership as hereinafter delineated in the Constitution
- Each active member has the obligation to
support the Society in a positive manner, not merely by the payment of
annual dues but also, and importantly, by active participation in
general meetings, by presentation of papers at such meetings, by
cooperation with the other members in all the projects of the Society.
members only shall have the right to voice and vote at the Annual
General Meeting. Associate members may address the body from the floor
with the prior approval of the majority of the active members present
Article VI -- Meetings
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- The Society shall meet annually in a general meeting at a
time and place selected by the Board of Governors, after having
informed the diocesan bishop of the place chosen.
of the Annual General Meeting shall be sent to all active, associate
and student members by the Committee on Local Arrangements at least one
month in advance thereof. The program of the meetings proposed by the
Board of Governors shall be sent with the notice.
- Conduct of the business of the Society shall be done at one or more sessions of the Annual General Meeting.
special general meeting of the Society may be called by the President
with the consent of the Board of Governors. A special general meeting
of the Society must be called by the President within a reasonable time
when it is petitioned in writing by a majority of active members. In
every case the time and place of a special general meeting are
designated by the President after having informed the ordinary of the
- The Board of Governors shall meet at
least twice yearly. An Annual Plenary Meeting shall be held at least
six months prior to the Annual General Meeting of the Society. The
other meetings shall take place immediately before, and in conjunction
with, the Annual General Meeting.
- Robert's Rules of Order shall settle all questions of procedure.
Article VII -- Officers
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- The officers of this Society elected from the active
membership shall be the President, Vice-President, the Secretary, the
Treasurer, and seven Consultors.
- These officers,
constituting a Board of Governors, shall govern the Society; they shall
never act contrary to decisions voted by the active members of the
Society at a general meeting.
- The President shall preside
at all the meetings of the Board of Governors, as well as at general
meetings of the Society, and shall in general, supervise the business
and affairs of the Society, and perform all duties incident to the
office of President.
- The Vice-President is the President-elect and, at the request of the President, shall perform the duties of the President.
Secretary shall, in general, perform all the duties incident to the
office of Secretary, keep the minutes of the general meeting of the
Society and the meetings of the Board of Governors, and such other
duties as may from time to time be assigned by the President or the
Board of Governors.
- The Treasurer shall, in general,
perform all the duties incident to the office of Treasurer, and such
other duties as may from time to time be assigned by the President or
the Board of Governors.
- Of the seven Consultors, one shall ex officio
be the immediate past President, whose term of office as Consultor
shall extend for the entire time that his or her successor as President
is in office. Six Consultors shall be elected to terms of three years.
Their elections shall be so arranged that two Consultors are elected
Article VIII -- Executive Coordinator
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- The Executive Coordinator shall work under the President
and the Board of Governors and shall be responsible for the general
implementation of their policies and decisions as well as the
fulfillment of specific duties as mentioned in the By-Laws.
Executive Coordinator shall be appointed from the active membership by
the Board of Governors for a three year term of service. Such service
may be renewed by the consent of the Board of Governors.
provisions for the position of Executive Coordinator, including office
and secretarial expenses, shall be made by the Board of Governors.
Article IX -- Elections
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- The election of the Vice-President, the Secretary, the
Treasurer, and the Consultors shall take place during the Annual
- The person elected Vice-President
thereby becomes President-elect and will succeed to the office of
Presidency at the conclusion of the next Annual General Meeting.
However, if by the time of that next Annual General Meeting the elected
Vice-President is unavailable to serve in the office of Presidency, no
fewer than two nominations shall be made for the office of Presidency
by the Committee on Nominations.
- The President,
Vice-President shall hold office for one year; the Secretary, Treasurer
and the elected Consultors shall hold office for three years. Terms of
office shall end at the close of the Annual General Meeting at which
new officers are elected. The terms of the Secretary and Treasurer
shall end in different years so that both do not go out of office in
the same year.
- Insofar as it shall be possible, the Consultors shall be from different regions.
for the elective offices shall be communicated to all active members by
the Committee on Nominations not less than one month before the Annual
General Meeting. Active members present at the Annual General Meeting
have the right to nominate candidates for each office from the floor.
In every case, the nomination is subject to the consent of the nominee.
- For all offices no fewer than two nominations shall be made by the Committee on Nominations.
shall be a necessary qualification of any nominee, whether named by the
Committee on Nominations or from the floor, that the nominee be an
active member of the Society.
- The electoral body of the
Society shall be all active members who are present at the General
Meeting at which the voting takes place. Voting by proxy is prohibited.
- The election shall be by secret ballot according to the rules set down in the By-Laws.
officers shall assume their office at the close of the Annual General
Meeting at which the respective officers are elected. If an office is
actually vacated, the one newly elected shall assume that office
immediately upon election.
- If either the Treasurer or the
Secretary becomes unable to fulfill the term of office, the President,
after consultation with the Vice President and Past President, will
appoint an interim Treasurer or Secretary who will hold office until
the next Annual General Meeting, at which time there will be an
election to fill the unexpired term of office, if any.
Article X -- Committees
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- There shall be four standing committees of the Society as follows:
- Committee on Nominations;
- Committee on Resolutions;
- Committee on Resource and Asset Management;
- Committee on Professional Responsibility.
Committee on Nominations and the Committee on Resolutions shall consist
of three voting members appointed by the President. Consultative
members may be appointed at the discretion of the President.
- The term of office of committee
members shall be for three years but shall be so arranged that each
year the term of one member of each committee will expire with the
close of the Annual General Meeting; the new member of each committee
shall be appointed by the new President within thirty days after the
close of the Annual Meeting.
- The member of each committee who is senior by appointment shall act as chairperson of each respective committee.
the event of death or resignation of a committee member, the President
shall appoint a new member to complete the unexpired portion of the
term of office.
- In addition to its members, the
Committee on Nominations shall have the immediate Past President as a
non-voting member and secretary. (As amended at the 59th Annual
- The Committee on
Resource and Asset Management shall consist of the Vice President, the
Treasurer, and a senior consultor appointed by the President. The
Treasurer shall act as Chair of this committee.
- The Committee on Professional Responsibility shall consist of the three senior consultors of the Board of Governors.
- The functions of the Committee on Nominations shall be:
submit to the active members, at least one month prior to the date of
election, the names of nominees as provided for in Article IX of this
- To formulate and recommend to the Board of Governors plans for maintaining and increasing the membership of the Society.
- The functions of the Committee on Resolutions shall be:
- To solicit, develop, and draft proposed resolutions which will express the concerns of the Canon Law Society of America.
- To consult with the membership at large and, in particular, with the Board of Governors, the standing and ad hoc committees of the Society and the organizers of the convention.
- To formulate proposed resolutions on given points in response to requests of the members of the Society.
- To compose differences in the formulation of similar proposals and to revise all proposals so that the meaning of each is clear.
- To encourage resolutions which authentically express in a positive way the activities and concerns of the Society.
- The functions of the Committee on Resource and Asset Management shall be:
- To develop a comprehensive budget for all the activities of the Society and report on the funding available for projects.
- To submit the proposed budget for the coming fiscal year to the Board of Governors for approval at its spring meeting.
- To conserve, invest and disburse the monies of the Scholarship Fund in accord with the criteria established by the Society.
- To select recipients for CLSA scholarships based on criteria approved by the Board of Governors.
- To advise the Treasurer on all matters pertaining to the Society's investments.
- The functions of the Committee on Professional Responsibility shall be:
- Regarding complaints:
- To receive complaints of any party aggrieved with respect to provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility originally adopted by the CLSA in October 1983, and it's canon 9d(i);
- To make an initial finding that the complaint is not frivolous but is serious in character; and
- By majority vote to refer the matter to the hearing officers
- To issue advisory opinions on the application of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and;
- To advise on all other questions concerning the professional responsibility of canonists (canon9d(i) of the PR Code).
- Standing Committees may be assigned other duties at the discretion of the President.
President shall have discretionary power to appoint such other special
committees as the general welfare of the Society shall demand.
Article XI -- Appropriations
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- An extraordinary appropriation from the funds of the
Society's treasury to any individual, group, legal body, or cause shall
be granted only after the following procedure:
- The proposal for such appropriation or grant may be initiated either by the Board of Governors or by an active member.
initiated by the Board of Governors and approved by them, the proposed
appropriation will then be submitted to a vote of the membership at the
next Annual General Meeting; the consent of the majority of active
members present and voting shall be required for passing.
initiated by an individual active member, that member shall submit his
proposal in writing to the President. If it is approved by a majority
of the members of the Board of Governors present and voting at their
next meeting, the proposed appropriation shall be submitted to a vote
of the membership at the next Annual General Meeting; the consent of
the majority of the active members mentioned in No. 1b of this Article
shall be required for passage. However, if the Board of Governors does
not approve the proposed appropriation, this shall be reported at the
next Annual General Meeting; the Board's decision may be rejected and
the proposed appropriation approved by a two-thirds majority of the
active members present and voting at that meeting.
Article XII -- Amendments
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- This Constitution may be amended by a two-thirds majority of the active members present and voting, provided:
the proposal to amend the Constitution has been filed by an active
member with the Secretary at least three months prior to the Annual
General Meeting of the Society at which that member intends his
proposal to be submitted.
- That notice of the proposed
amendment has been sent to each active member of the Society at the
last known mailing address not less than one month in advance of that
Annual General Meeting mentioned in No. 1a of this Article.
- Amendment of this Constitution shall become effective at the close of the general meeting at which the amendment was adopted.