Margaret Taylor-Ulizio on Being a Canon Lawyer
Date: August 6th, 2017

If the Catholic Church maintains a Code of Canon Law, one would assume that there are canon lawyers to mediate disputes that fall within the realm of that form of religious jurisprudence.  It just so happens that canon lawyers do exist and we were to track down and invite Dr. Margaret Taylor-Ulizio – founder/principal of the Canon Law Advocacy and Mediation Services and part-time instructor at Georgian Court University – to discuss her career path and what canon lawyers do.  After a quick introduction about what canon law is, we trace Dr. Taylor-Ulizio’s career path from an undergraduate student interested in theology at Duquesne University to her successful pursuit of a doctorate in systematic theology and ecclesiology at Marquette University.  Following this, we learn that Catholic University of America is the only school in the U.S. that trains canon lawyers for the Catholic Church.  Following a rigorous program of courses on canon law, along with some training in secular law, Margaret was able to take her exams and enter into the world of canon lawyering.  She gives an overview of the profession and outlines what falls within the scope of canon law.  We also cover how changes to the Code of Canon Law have been made over time, including recent revisions that were a response to the increasing involvement of the laity following Vatican Council II.  Dr. Taylor-Ulizio then notes that most of her cases have involved marriage nullity.  We spend time discussing what an annulment entails and some of the trickier aspects of these cases, including the differences between defect in consent and defect in exchange.    We finish off with her reflection upon her theological and legal training and how she views the world differently today.  Recorded: July 27, 2017.


Dr. Margaret Taylor-Ulizio’s bio on the Canon Law Advocacy and Mediation Services (CLAMS) site.

Canon Law Society for America.

Code of Canon Law.

Inside Katy Perry’s Real-Estate Soap Opera: Why Nuns and the Catholic Church Are Battling Over Her Dream L.A. Property,” in Billboard magazine.


Jonathan Rose on Medieval Law and the Clergy.

Matthew Franck on Hosanna-Tabor and Ministerial Exemptions.

Matthew Franck on Hobby Lobby and Religious Freedom Jurisprudence.

Michael McConnell on Church Property Disputes.

Jordan Lorence on Religious Property Cases.

Frances Beckwith on Taking Rites Seriously.

One Response to “Margaret Taylor-Ulizio on Being a Canon Lawyer”

  1. Mike M. says:

    Thanks Margaret and Tony. Super interesting.

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