This unit aims to provide an understanding of the basic principles for the interpretation of the Code of Canon Law relating to the responsibilities assumed by those involved in the governance of church organisations. It is especially designed for: Trustees of Juridic Persons, School Board Members, Health Care Directors, CEO consultants, Parish Pastoral Council Members and Leaders of Religious Congregations. Selected topics will concentrate on the role of law in the life of the church; governance in the Catholic Church; working relationships with bishops; juridic persons; what makes an institution Catholic; accountability and transparency; church properties and finance. Special emphasis will be placed on the relationship between canon and civil law.

Unit Code: DC9410Y

Points: 24.0

Unit Level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit Discipline: Canon Law

Delivery Mode: Face to Face

Proposing College: Yarra Theological Union

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Learning Outcomes


Explain the inter-relationship of theology and canon law;


Critique the role of law in the life of the church;


Apply the basic principles of interpretation of canon law and their application to governance in the Catholic Church;


Critically discuss those sections of the 1983 Code of Canon Law which are of special relevance to those dealing with governance in the church and juridic personality;


Demonstrate a critical understanding of the relationship between canon and civil law.

Unit sequence

This unit is especially designed to assist those in positions of governance in the Catholic Church and presumes a knowledge of the documents of the Second Vatican Council which provide the basis for current church law.


The pedagogical framework incorporates a series of lectures interblended with case studies and tutorials. Issues which are pertinent in the community will be discussed where relevant using a canonical framework.


Type Description Wordcount Weight (%)
Case Study

Case study – 1500 words

1500 20.0
Tutorial Paper

Tutorial paper on a selected topic - 1500 words

1500 20.0

Essay – 4000 words

4000 60.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 27 Sep, 2019

Unit Record last updated: 2019-10-29 14:11:15 +1100