Ordinary Life Members

Ordinary Life Members

Our Distinguished Members


Father Francis Morrisey OMI

In 1982, the year marking the Silver Jubilee for the Society at the Annual Conference held in London Colney. Father Frank Morrisey was awarded Honorary Life Membership of the Society. He was presented with a souvenir crystal cup with the inscription: In servitium Populi Dei in iure Matris Ecclesiae radicatum. In service of the People of God, rootedness in the law of the Mother Church”

Father Morrisey was born in Charlottetown, PEI, Canada, on February 13, 1936. He was Ordained to the priesthood, for the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Ottawa, on 23 September 1961. He studied at the University of Ottawa and at Saint Paul University, Ottawa. Father Frank has eleven earned degrees, including a Ph.D. and a Doctorate in Canon Law.  Also, he holds a Doctorate Honoris causa from Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio, Texas. Over the years he has held various Offices at St Paul University: Registrar, Saint Paul University, 1965-1971; Dean of the Faculty of Canon Law, 1972-1984;  and titular professor of Canon Law, Saint Paul University until 2007.  Since 2008, Father Morrisey has been Professor Emeritus. He is a founding editor of Studia Canonica, 1967 to 1994 and was President of the Canadian Canon Law Society from 1973-1975. In recognition of his canonical contributions, scholarly achievements and friendship, Father Morrisey has been awarded Honorary Life Membership of:the Canadian Canon Law Society, the Canon Law Society of America, the Canon Law Society of Australia and New Zealand, the Canon Law Society of Southern Africa and, to the delight of our own membership, the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland. In addition, in 1990 he has received the ‘Role of Law’ award awarded by the Canon Law Society of America. He has been an avid contributor to the world of publication: he is author of some 400 writings in the area of Canon Law, Church Finances, Canadian Church History, Catholic Healthcare, and related subjects.

Father Morrisey was a Consultant in Canon Law to the Inter-Rite Committee, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops from 1966 to 2005, .a consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts,at the Vatican from 1986-2001, a consultor to the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Vatican City, from 1995 to 2000, and consultant for numerous Catholic healthcare systems in Canada, the USA, Ireland and Australia. He is a member of the Catholic Health Association USA Sponsorship Committee and editor of the Canon Law column in Health Progress.

In 2015 His Holiness, Pope Francis appointed Father Morrisey a member of the special Papal Commission for the simplification of procedural law for marriage nullity cases.

The Right Rev Mgr Marion J. Reinhardt

A Mass of Christian Burial for Mgr Marion J. Reinhardt, 77, former administrative Judge of the Tribunal of the Diocese of Brooklyn, was offered at St Ignatius Loyola Church, Hicksville, L.I.

Mgr Reinhardt died Wednesday 10th February at North Shore Hospital, Manhasset, after a brief illness.

Norn in Hicksville, he studied at Cathedral College, Brooklyn, at Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington, L.I., at Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. Also, at Collegio, Capranica, Roma, and at St John’s Law School. He was ordained on June 7, 1941.

Following his ordination he was assigned to St Margaret’s Church, Middle Village, (1941-43)) and Nativity of Our Blessed Lord, Brooklyn (1947).

Following his extensive education in bother the USA and Rome, he was appointed to the diocesan curial staff in June 1949. In June 1961 he was named Officialis of the tribunal, serving in that post until his retirement in June 1981. H e continued to serve as a consultant until his death.

Mgr Reinhardt was a member of the Canon Law Society of America and during the 1960s he was influential in developing provisional norm for Catholic marriage nullity cases in the United States. With the approval of Pope Pius V American diocesan tribunals adopted the norm in 1970.

When Pope John Paul II issued a revised code of Canon Law in 1983, the canons on marriage nullity cases included concepts drawn form the American provisional norms and became operative universally in the Catholic Church.

Mgr Reinhardt was also a civil lawyer and taught at St John’s University Law School from 1963-1990.   H e was a former Moderator of the Catholic Lawyers’ Guild of the Diocese of Brooklyn.

In May 1962 Mgr Reinhardt was named a Domestic Prelate by Pope Hohn XXIII

Bishop Thomas V. Daily was the principal celebrant of the Mass. Other concelebrants were: Mgrs Joseph G. Konrad, George J. Ryan, Edward A. Fus, William A. Varvaro, Henry, PJ Cosgrove and Father Louis Padovano. Mgr Gerard J. Arella preached the homily.   There were no immediate survivors.   Burial was in Holy Rood Cemetery, Westbury, L.I.

News release from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn 11 February 1993

Courtesy of Sister Bernadette, Diocese of Brooklyn, received 17 September 2015

The Right Rev Monsignor Ralph Brown

The Right Rev Monsignor Ralph Brown was the third child of John and Josephine Brown, born on 30 June 1931 in Warsenaar in The Netherlands. Schooling took place at St Aidan’s, Grahamstown in S Africa and from 1946-49 at Highgate School. In December 1949 he was called to national service and joined the Middlesex Regiment.  In 1950 he was sent to Korea, where he was wounded and hospitalised.

He entered Allen Hall, the seminary of the Diocese of Westminster in Ware, Hertfordshire, in 1953 to study for the priesthood.  His gregariousness, good humour and sheer energy became evident.  He was ordained to the priesthood on 23 May 1959 in Westminster Cathedral by Cardinal Godfrey.   After ordination he was sent to Rome to study for a doctorate in Canon Law. In 1963 he returned to the Diocese to take up his appointment as curate in Bushey.  After a relatively short period of pastoral ministry he was to spend the rest of his ministry in administration and teaching, mostly in the Westminster Metropolitan Tribunal where he began a very fruitful partnership with his great friend the late Monsignor Edward Dunderdale. From 1964-1971 Mgr Ralph served as Vice Chancellor and Vice Officialis of the Diocese of Westminster, then as Officialis 1971-77.  On his appointment as Archbishop of Westminster, Basil Hume appointed Mgr Ralph Vicar General. He served in this post until 2001, bringing his intelligence, common sense and knowledge of the Diocese to bear in its inner councils.  He continued to serve as Judicial Vicar until his retirement on 30 June 2006. 

The 1960s and 70s had seen important developments in the field of matrimonial jurisprudence which opened up the possibility of people in broken or irregular marriages bringing petitions for annulment before diocesan tribunals, thus enabling many to enter into new unions.  He found this work, ‘though of its nature legal and exacting, immensely pastoral.  He was very much at the cutting edge of these advances and the Westminster Tribunal helped to train canonists from abroad.  His book Marriage Annulments in the Catholic Church was to be an important reference work for many canonists.  He contributed to many learned journals and he served with distinction for two terms as Judicial Vicar of the Tribunal.  During this period he gave some time as lecturer in Canon Law at Allen Hall. 

As we all know, Mgr Brown was prominent in the work of this Society of Great Britain which in Monsignor’s earlier days was to play an important role in the revision of the Code of Canon Law when it advised the Bishops’ Conference, then considering their responses to the various schemata sent from Rome.  He took a major part in the translation into English of the new Code in 1983 and was pivotal in the preparation and publication by The Society of a Commentary on the Code of Canon Law.  He became Secretary then President of the Society, in which capacity he travelled the world in company with Edward Dunderdale, attending the various canon law society conferences of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States, countries where he was an honorary member of their Canon Law Societies.  Since 2006 he served as the Judicial Vicar of the Oslo Tribunal.  He served as the canonical consultant to the Polish Catholic Mission to England and Wales.  For outstanding service Mgr Ralph was awarded the honour of Commander of the Order of Merit of Poland in 2008. Until shortly before his death he was still editing the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland Newsletter.   He was appointed national coordinator for the Papal Visit of Pope John Paul II to our countries in 1982.  Mgr Ralph worked with numerous people, mainly volunteers, inspiring them with his energy, enthusiasm and attention to detail.

In 1984 Mgr Ralph celebrated the Silver Jubilee of his ordination with four generations of the Brown family, including his mother (then nearly 90), his father (88) and his brother Norman and sister Lydia (now deceased) and their children and grandchildren.  His Golden Jubilee was celebrated in 2009.

In the course of all his appointments Mgr Ralph proceeded through the three ranks of Monsignor (Chaplain to His Holiness,  Prelate of Honour,  then in 1999 Protonotary Apostolic) and he was also honoured with election to the Old Brotherhood of the Secular Clergy in 1987 and went on to become  Secretary then President.  Other honours and distinctions came his way from international and learned bodies in recognition of his work. 

Mgr Ralph was an active member of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, having joined in 1984 and becoming a Commander in 1991. He was also a member of the Friends of the Holy Father.  He generously gave of his time to individuals and organisations seeking his advice, and at heart he remained a faithful and devoted priest.  He was an indefatigable worker and he did not rest until he had accomplished work in hand.  He did not allow problems leading to, and following, major surgery to dampen his spirit, and did not want the spirits of friends affected either.  He remained cheerful and busy, especially with work for the Oslo Tribunal. 

Indeed, Monsignor brown was a man who loved people and enjoyed their company, Mgr Ralph Brown put his sharp mind and warm heart at the service of family, friends, colleagues and the Church.  He was truly ‘a son of the Church’.

Kind, generous and hospitable, his company was always enjoyable, and his infectious laugh fondly remembered.  He embraced life and gave and received much love.  His family will remember gatherings at Christmas over the years, when Ralph would bring his roulette wheel and act as banker once lunch was over and a period of rest observed. Winnings were donated at his request to the charity ‘Crisis at Christmas’.  He is also remembered for his ability to make a good cocktail, favouring Margharitas.  He was also gifted at photography, capturing people and events then carefully cataloguing pictures in albums, of which there are several.  Another interest was history, latterly focused on the Plantagenets, while maintaining an interest in all things military.

Mgr Ralph Brown died on 6 January 2014., fittingly, or planned himself, on the Feast of St Raymond De Penafort.   His Requiem Mass on Tuesday 21 January was presided over by Archbishop Vincent Nichols in the presence of other bishops and priests, religious and laity, many of whom members of the Society

Urbano Cardinal Navarrete Cortés SJ

Urbano Cardinal Navarrete Cortés SJ was made an honorary member of the Canon Law Society by Mgr David hogan, President, in 2008 when the Society gathered in Rome on the occasion of its Golden Jubilee.


His Eminence was a professor of Canon Law, a former rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University, a prolific author and a consultor of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Disciple of the Sacraments. In 2007, Pope Benedict created Father Navarrete a cardinal of the Roman Church. He was dispensed of the episcopal dignity. The Pope assigned him the Church of San Ponziano as his titular Church. Cardinal Navarrete was a Spanish Jesuit (entering in 1937), ordained priest in 1952. And since 1958 was a professor of Canon Law at the Gregorian, specialising in marriage law, where he also served as dean of the Canon Law faculty. Cardinal Navarrete SJ, died aged 90 on Monday 22 November 2010. Requiescat In Pace

At the annual conference at Harrogate on May 201,1 in the presence of members of the Society and distinguished guests, including His Eminence, Raymond Cardinal Burke, the then Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, Mgr David Hogan, President of the Society, paid special tribute to two members of the Society, Sister Ishbel MacPherson SND and Mrs Margaret Foster, on whom he conferred ‘honorary life membership’ in recognition of their valuable contribution to the Society.

Sister Ishbel MacPherson SND

Sister Ishbel MacPherson was born and brought up in Fort William, Scotland.  She entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 1950 and after almost 20 years as a teacher and deputy head teacher in Grammar Schools and a Moderator and Consultative Committee member of the Young Christian Students, she worked for 3 years with the Movement for a Better World.  She then gained a Diploma of Pastoral Theology to add to the professional qualifications of a Dip.CE, Certificat de Français Parle, The Diplôme de Langue Française and Diplôme Supérieur D'Etudes Françaises Modernes. A placement at the Westminster Tribunal introduced her to canon law and she went to study at St. Paul’s University, Ottawa, gaining a doctorate at the beginning of 1984 with her thesis on The Exercise of Authority in Apostolic Religious Institutes of Women according to the 1983 Revised Code of Canon Law.  She and the late Sister Enid Williamson were the first female Judges in Britain when they were appointed to Westminster Metropolitan Tribunal in 1984. They were also the first female members of the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland; Sister Enid joined in 1974 and Sister Ishbel in 1978, although it was 1978 before they made an appearance at the annual conference. Sister Ishbel edited the Society’s publication Abstracts for several years and was a member of the Research Sub-Committee. Over the years, she has served in Tribunals in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, in addition to training auditors, giving talks and facilitating Chapters for Religious and other meetings. In retirement, she continues to take an active part in Tribunals in England, Wales and Ireland.

Mrs Margaret Foster

Mrs Margaret Foster originates from Lancashire.  She is married and has two daughters and four grandchildren.  A former lecturer, she holds degrees in civil law and education and in 2004 obtained an MA in Canon Law from Heythrop College, University of London. She was one of the first married women to become a member of the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland when she joined in 1980.  Over the past 31 years Mrs Foster has been heavily involved in the activities of the Society.  In 1995 she was appointed a member of the Research Sub-Committee by the then President, Rev Aidan McGrath, OFM. Three years later in 1998 she took on the duties and responsibilities of secretary of the Research Sub-Committee, a post she held until 2002, when she was duly elected as General Secretary by members of the Society.  She was General Secretary until 2007. Since 1980 Mrs Foster has been a member of the Lancaster Diocesan Tribunal, with a variety of canonical offices and responsibilities. In addition to these duties, Mrs Foster has held the office of Vice-Chancellor of the Diocese of Lancaster.

At the Annual Gala Dinner during the Conference week members of the Society endorsed Mgr Hogan’s tribute with a standing ovation and singing Ad Multos Annos for the new honorary members. 

Right Rev Mgr Gordon Read MA, BD, JCL

Right Rev Mgr Gordon Read MA, BD, JCL was presented with a certificate conferring Life Membership of the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland at a meeting of the Executive Committee held at Hinsley Hall, Leeds on 27th November. 2012 This was in recognition

Monsignor Gordon was born in Westcliff-on-Sea on 8th October 1948 and brought up in Leigh-on-Sea. He attended Westleigh School and then Westcliff High School. He was baptised, received his First Communion and Confirmation in Our Lady of Lourdes Church. He studied 'Greats' at Exeter College, Oxford, 1967-1971, leading to the degrees of B.A and then M.A. While at Oxford he felt called to the priesthood, and was accepted as a student for the Diocese of Brentwood, beginning his studies at St Edmund's College, Ware, in September 1971. The majority of his academic studies took place at Heythrop College, University of London 1972-1976, where he received a Bachelor of Divinity degree. He was ordained to the diaconate at St Edmund's on 29th June 1975, and then appointed by Bishop Casey to serve his diaconal year at St Teresa's, Newbury Park, while he continued his pastoral studies at Heythrop. He was ordained to the priesthood at Our Lady of Lourdes, Leigh-on-Sea on 31st July 1976.

His first appointment as assistant priest was to Our Lady of Lourdes, Wanstead 1976-1977 & 1979-1983. In between he was sent to Rome for further studies, and obtained a Licence in Canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University. From 1976 he worked part time in the Diocesan Tribunal Office, and was appointed Chancellor of the Diocese in 1983 and Judicial Vicar in 1985. After Wanstead he served at St Augustine’s, Barkingside 1983-1988, and then as parish priest of St John & St Erconwald, Ingatestone 1988-2000. In 1998 he was appointed honorary Papal Chaplain by Pope John Paul II in recognition of his work for the diocese. Fr Gordon came to Kelvedon in October 2000. In 2005 Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Prelate of Honour.

Currently, in addition to his responsibilities as parish priest, he is rural dean of Colchester, Chancellor and Judicial Vicar of the diocese, member of the Bishop’s College of Consultors, a governor of St Teresa’s Catholic Primary School, Lexden, Vice-chair of Governors, St Benedict’s College, Colchester and Trustee of the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland. A frequent contributor of articles to canon law journals his advice on canonical matters is often sought from outside the diocese.