Our Purpose and Procedure

Priests and deacons who fear they cannot be adequately represented by diocesan canon lawyers can now turn to a canon lawyer referral program called Justice for Priests and Deacons.

Msgr. Michael Higgins, a Canon Lawyer from San Diego, said “most diocesan canon lawyers work in marriage tribunals of local dioceses and are employees of the diocese themselves. Therefore, they are often reluctant to take on cases which will put them at odds with their employer.”

Justice for Priests and Deacons was founded to create a referral program to advise priests and deacons about their rights under Canon Law and to process appeal cases. Currently approximately 90 canon lawyers are available in the United States, Ireland, England, Australia and a few other countries..

Many priests and deacons are unaware of their rights under Canon Law. Justice for Priests and Deacons seeks to serve the needs of clergy and its canonists are available for consultation and representation.

Justice for Priests and Deacons is an independent canon law group and we are not affiliated with the Canon Law Society of America. However, all our canonists are active members of the Canon Law Society and some serve on different committees of the society.

We now have non-profit status and a board of trustees of canonists, civil attorneys and lay people.

The Procedure

All requests come through the main office and are confidential. After we gather information on each case, a canonist is assigned. The canonist works to defend the rights of and give canonical counsel to the priest or deacon. Assigned canonists come from another diocese or a different religious community than the client priest or deacon.

Mission Statement

Justice for Priests and Deacons is a nonprofit organization composed of priests, religious, deacons, and laity dedicated to a three-fold purpose:

  1.  To educate Roman Catholic clergy and laity regarding their canonical rights especially with regards to due process for the proper support and protection of priests, religious, deacons, and laity.
  2. To give direct guidance to any priest, deacon, religious, or laity regarding their rights in canon law and the church; to help ensure due process procedures are followed; to obtain the services of competent canon lawyers to represent them to ecclesial authority; to recommend competent civil attorneys when necessary.
  3. To maintain regular communication with priests, deacons, religious, and laity imprisoned or recently released from prison; to provide canonical advice, spiritual and emotional support; to provide nominal financial assistance when appropriate as directed by the Business Board and administered by the Executive Director of Justice for Priests and Deacons.

Approved by the Business Board on August 14, 2010

Countless served

Our organization has served countless, but the battle against injustice and systemic denial of canonical rights is never-ending. We could not continue this fight without our generous supporters. Please consider making a contribution.