BALTIMORE---The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has elected Bishop Robert P. Deeley, J.C.D., as the new chairman-elect of the USCCB’s Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance. The election was held as part of this year’s USCCB Fall General Assembly on Tuesday, November 15, in Baltimore, Maryland. Bishop Deeley will serve one year as chairman-elect before beginning a three-year term at the conclusion of the 2017 USCCB Fall General Assembly.
The Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance assists the bishops by interpreting particular law and providing direction in the ongoing implementation of the 1983 Code of Canon Law and the 1990 Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches. The committee also addresses issues from a canonical perspective related to the pastoral practices of the Church and provides a forum for the possible resolution of disputes that occasionally arise between or with regard to dioceses.
Bishop Deeley has a long record of dedication to the law of the Church in teaching, practice, administration, and pastoral assistance. Last month, he was named the recipient of the “Role of Law Award,” the Canon Law Society of America’s most prestigious honor. The award is given to an individual who has distinguished himself in the practice of canon law, serving God’s people through the use of this law of the Church.
Bishop Deeley earned both a Licentiate of Canon Law degree in 1983 and a Doctor of Canon Law degree (summa cum laude) in 1986 from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. In 1978, with his appointment as secretary to the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Boston, he began a ministry in the Tribunal that would last for over 20 years, including eleven years as judicial vicar (1989-1999). From 2004 to 2011, he served at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Vatican City, which promotes and safeguards the doctrine on the faith and morals within the Church throughout the world.
The bishop has also lectured on canon law and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at many schools, including the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy; the Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts. He served as well as a translation editor for The Code of Canon Law: Latin-English Edition, published in 1988.
In addition, Bishop Deeley assumed the presidency of the Canon Law Society of America from 2000-2001 and has served as the society’s treasurer and on the board of governors.