The International Union of Catholic Jurists, created in December of 1986, aims to promote, throughout the world, the spiritual and temporal unity of action of catholic jurists and their associations.
After fifteen years of active involvement and collaboration, the Holy See granted canon recognition to the International Union by decree issued by the Pontifical Council fot the Laity, on October 17th, 2000, which recognised as a private international association of Christian faithful, under pontifical law, endowed with a legal personality. The Union seat is fixed at the Chancery Palace in Rome.
By the pontifical approval of the Union’s statutes, the Holy See confirmed its ecclesiastical Adviser.
The International Union is particularly attached to the following principles :
- To promote an interest in the general and local problems of the contemporary world and in solutions faithful to the Gospel and the Tradition of the Church, in the light of the teachings of the genuine Magisterium ;
- Recognition and Respect of natural and Christian law, in Justice and Charity ;
- Defence and protection of human life, from conception to natural death ;
- Affirmation of the dignity of the human person and a constant affirmation of the fundamental duties and rights that are attached thereto ;
- Defence and promotion of Christian teachings of the family ;
- Promotion of the social doctrine and teachings of the Church, in particular in the juridical field, and research to develop means to garantee its application.
The Union’s aims at contributing to maintain or to reintroduce Christian principles in the philosophy and science of the law, in legislative, judicial and administrative activities, in professional as well as in public life.
The International Union is formed by catholic associations of national importance (or regional for those States where there no national association exists). The Union can also admit individuals coming from countries where no association of this type exists.
To this day, the Union is composed of associations from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Spain, France, Italy, Luxemburg, Malaysia, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland and Ungary.
The oldest are those of Argentina (1935), Australia (1945), Italy (1948) and Luxemburg (1950) ; the French Confederation founded in 1978 succeeded to the “jurisconsultes catholiques” which were active during the late 19th century but disappeared after World War I.
Now, the whole Union represents over 5000 lawyers.
The first World Congress of the International Union was held in Rome in January 1991, drawing an important number of participants representing over seventeen countries and three different continents. The theme discussed was : “Natural Law and Human Rigts at the Dawn of the 21rst Century”. The participants had a special audience with the Pope. The second International Congress took place in Switzerland (Lugano) in 1994. The theme discussed was “The Family at the Threshold of the IIIrd Millenium”. The 2000 Jubilee drew as many as 600 jurists from all over Europe, Americas and Asia to Rome, gathered in an extraordinary assembly.
During a special audience given November 24th 2000, Pope John Paul II vividly encouraged them to pursue their specific mission declaring : “I am glad that the International Union of Catholic Jurists brings together Catholic jurists from around the world who are associated with very diverse political, traditional and historical realities ; thus it responds to its profound vocation and reflects the universal character of law (…) Its Catholic character, however, is not a sign of separation and closure, but far more a sign of openess and an expression of the service that jurists wish to offer the whole human community.”
An european congress has been hold in Principalty of Monaco on novembre 2003 on « The Religious of Law in Europe ».
An association of pontifical law
The International Union of Catholic Jurists (“U.I.J.C.” in its French abbreviation) was recently granted recognition by the Holy See as a “private international association of Christian faithful, under pontifical law”, endowed with a legal personality in conformity with the canons 298-311 and 321-329 of the Code of canon law. The Union seat is fixed at the Chancery Palace, in Rome, in the extraterritorial zone, where the Supreme Tribunals of the Church are located.
The decree of canon recognition , signed by Cardinal James Francis Stafford, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, gave the “U.I.J.C.” legal personality and confirmed the nomination of a Cardinal, as its ecclesiastic Adviser.
The ceremony awarding the pontifical decree took place at the Vatican and was attended numerous cardinals and prelates from the Roman Curia, as well as several ambassadors accredited to the Holy See.
Founded in 1986 in Paris, the International Union aims to promote, throughout the world, the spiritual and temporal unity of action of the catholic jurists and their associations in order to contribute to maintain or to reintroduce Christian principles and natural law in the philosophy and science of the law, in legislative, judicial and administrative activities, in education and research, in professional as well as in public life.
U.I.J.C. comprises presently catholic associations from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Canada, Spain, France, Italy, Luxemburg, Malaysia, Philippines, Poland, Switzerland, Ungary and regroups over 5000 members.