Studies & Degrees in Canon Law

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Vatican City happens to be a small yet powerful State being home to the Central Catholic Faith. The territorial area measures 44 hectares, and enclosed the landlocked City-State along with its famous landmarks such as the Apostolic Palace, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica. Although it is the smallest country by land area, it is nonetheless influential with over one billion Roman Catholic converts and over 200,000 churches worldwide. Consequently, the extensive influence brought about by Catholicism also implies the huge ambit of Canon Law.

Canon Law, also known as Ecclesiastical Law, originated in Christian Communities. Before the 20th century, members of the faith were guided by spiritual customs and traditions. The church had no written laws recorded for over five centuries. In turn, the Roman State regulated all religious activities. As a matter of fact, the Justinian’s Codex contained imperial statutes pertaining to the practice of religion. In the mid-19th century, the codification of Canon Law was proposed by the bishops in the First Vatican Council. On May 27, 1917, it was codified and enforced under the regime of Pope Benedict XV. Since then, it has been the prime source of religious rules of conduct observed by priests and laymen, alike.

Ecclesiastical Law is the body of law employed by religious people, especially the members of the Christian faith. Most likely, it consists of norms relating to the proper practice of religious beliefs among Christians from all walks of life. These include the conditions, duties, and responsibilities of bishops, clergies, and non-clergies. In the same way, the law contains the sacred Holy Scriptures, Holy Sacraments, and other legislations. In particular, it is used by three Christian congregations: the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Church.

The impact of Christian Faith on the world compelled the academe to provide degree courses relating to Cannon Law. These are offered in graduate and undergraduate schools under bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs. Students can choose from various curricula which may include Canon Law Studies, Ecclesiastical Studies, and Theological Studies. Certain requisites though are involved to be an official Canon lawyer. Apart from passing all the required courses, the student must be able to come up with a thesis for a licentiate degree. Further studies may be pursued for a doctorate degree which would require submission of an academic dissertation at the end of the program.

Career options await graduates of Canon Law and related studies. The wide ranging religious institutions such as the five million Christian churches found all over the globe comprise a great employment niche. Besides, there are many religious offices which can tender job placements to specialists. Spiritual groups are likely to consult practitioners of ecclesiastical law for divine guidance. Non-profit entities may hire Canon Law experts for research projects of religious interest. Christian schools may also offer teaching posts to professionals who can to share their expertise in the academe. Private counselling firms can also provide jobs to eligible degree holders.