Advertisements ad

Priest’s new book on law of sacraments is for parishes

By Michelle Martin


Does someone want to know how to get a new godparent? Or why there are so many more annulments than in the past?

Those are among the questions that the Office for Canonical Services fields from parish priests, deacons and lay workers, said Oblate Father William Woestman, associate vicar for canonical services.

The answers, plus many more, can be found in Woestman’s new book, “Canon of the Sacraments for Parish Ministry.”

“I wrote it because there was a need for it,” Woestman said.

“We get these questions all the time in the office, and if they had this book, they could find the answer.”

Much of the book is derived from commentaries Woestman has written for students who are candidates for the sacred licentiate in canon law. It was published by the University of St. Paul in Ottawa, Canada.

Those commentaries, written over several years, are far more detailed and lengthy, he said.

“Canon Law of the Sacraments for Parish Ministry” comes in at a relatively slim 406 pages and has an index that covers everything from “polygamy” to “godfather” and “godmother.”

As for designating a new godparent, Woestman said the issue often arises if there has been a falling out, or if a godparent has died. In those cases, parents can designate a supplemental godparent, without abrogating the relationship with the first godparent.

As for the number of declarations of nullity, Woestman said, it’s a matter of more knowledge of the psychiatric and psychological impediments that may keep people from entering into a valid marriage.

There also have been societal changes that encourage the perception that marriage is not necessarily permanent. “We used to think people were much freer than we are,” Woestman said. “And it is these psychiatric and psychological issues that keep us from being free.”

On the other hand, some people now enter marriage without the intention to stay married forever, or without the intention to be faithful, or to be open to having children — all of which keep a marriage from being valid.

To order a copy of the book, email [email protected]. Cost is $52 plus shipping.