Role of Law Award

The Role of Law Award is the Canon Law Society’s most prestigious honor and is awarded annually at the CLSA convention. The first Role of Law Award was presented on the 18th of October 1973 in Washington, DC, by the then President of the Society, the Reverend Donald E. Heintschel, on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the CLSA. The intent of the award was, and remains to be, to choose someone in our midst who best exemplifies the ideals spelled out in the preamble of the Society’s Constitution.

“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.”

This list names all past recipients:


  • Frederick R. McManus (1973)
  • Paul M. Boyle, C.P. (1974)
  • Raymond E. Goedert (1975)
  • Lawrence G. Wrenn (1976)
  • Robert T. Kennedy (1977)
  • Stephen G. Kuttner (1978)
  • Kevin D. O’Rourke, O.P. (1979)
  • Thomas J. Lynch (1980)
  • John V. Dolciamore (1981)
  • Donald E. Heintschel (1982)
  • James Risk, S.J. (1983)
  • John E. Lynch, C.S.P. (1984)
  • Thomas J. Green (1985)
  • John A. Alesandro (1986)
  • James A. Coriden (1987)
  • Thomas Brockhaus, O.S.B. (1988)
  • Bertram Griffin (1989)
  • Francis G. Morrisey, O.M.I. (1990)
  • James H. Provost (1991)
  • Ladislas M. Örsy, S.J. (1992)
  • Dennis J. Burns (1993)
  • Victor Pospishil (1994)
  • Lucy Vazquez, O.P. (1995)
  • William A. Varvaro (1996)
  • Richard G. Cunningham (1997)
  • David E. Fellhauer (1998)
  • Sharon E. Holland, I.H.M. (1999)

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