Catholic Universities and Juridic Persons

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Sean Sheridan, T.O.R.


In this article, the author maintains that a Catholic university does not need to be established as a separate juridic person to be subject to rights and obligations in canon law. The Church’s law allows a group of persons or things to join together as a juridic person to be recognized by the Church and to have rights and obligations in the Church. The provisions of canon law have consistently permitted the Church’s oversight of Catholic universities through the establishment of a juridic bond with the institution or with its sponsor, or through the recognition of a special bond between the Church and Catholic universities which participate in the mission of the Church. Civil incorporation alone does not alter the university’s canonical status. The author then briefly examines the implications of this issue for a Catholic university.

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Author Biography

Sean Sheridan, T.O.R., The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC

Sean Sheridan is Assistant Professor, School of Canon Law, The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.