Pope appoints Canon Law expert to Council for Economy

St. Peter's Basilica. Credit: Marianne Medlin/ CNA.

Today Pope Francis nominated an expert in the Church’s legal system as the new Prelate Secretary for the recently-created Council for the Economy.

A press release on March 22 from the Holy See’s press office stated, “the Holy Father has nominated Msgr. Brian Ferme as Prelate Secretary of the Council for the Economy.”

The British Monsignor has served as the Dean of the Faculty of Canon Law at Rome’s Pontifical Lateran University and the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., as well as the Head of the St. Pius X Faculty of Canon Law in Venice.

Msgr. Ferme is not new to the Roman Curia. He acts as a consultor to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts. He has also worked with Apostolic Signatura.

He is the author of numerous scholarly publications and articles on canon law, and is a member of several academic and legal organizations, including the Canon Law Societies of Great Britain and Ireland, the Canon Law Society of America, and the Ecclesiastical Law Society. The priest from Portsmouth, England is also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Member of the Consociatio Internationalis of the History of Medieval Canon Law and the Selden Society.

Mrsg Ferme is an Academic Associate Member at the Center for Law and Religion at Cardiff University in Wales and a member of the editorial committee for the scholarly publication, “The Jurist.”

Prior to serving in these capacities, Msgr. Ferme had studied theology, philosophy, and canon law in Melbourne, Oxford and Rome.

As Prelate Secretary for the Council for the Economy, Msgr. Ferme will assist “the Cardinal Coordinator in the fulfilment of the functions of the Council for the Economy, whose competences are associated with the guidance and supervision of the administrative and financial activities of the economic entities of the Holy See,” noted today’s press release.

The Council for the Economy was created by Pope Francis last month following his motu proprio “Fidelis dispensator et prudens.” It is a 15-member organization, comprised of eight Cardinals and Bishops and seven lay experts, responsible for oversight of the administrative and financial structures of the Holy See and the Vatican City State. 

The Council, headed by its Cardinal Coordinator, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Germany, works closely with the new dicastery of the Roman Curia, the Secretariat for the Economy, headed by Cardinal George Pell of Sydney.


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We move quickly from our major religious holidays each year. It’s not intentional. Life hurries along and as soon as the sun sets on one holiday the next is being touted by merchants looking to sell us whatever the next big day brings. To remain in the spirit of the religious holiday — in this case Easter — takes deliberate intention.

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