Msgr. Thomas Green

Msgr. Thomas Green has been a professor of Canon Law at Catholic University of America since 1974. He serves as an Editor of The Jurist and Co-editor of The Code of Canon Law: a Text and Commentary (Commissioned by the Canon Law Society of America).

He came to know Catholic Leadership Institute and its ministry through a colleague at Catholic University of America. He began learning more about the mission and the impact of the ministry on the United States Church and felt compelled to support it. Msgr. Green has been a loyal donor since 2009 and remains committed to supporting Catholic Leadership Institute's ministry in the years to come. He shares some of his thoughts on leadership and ongoing formation in the following interview.

Q: What interested you in Catholic Leadership Institute's mission?
A: For most of those years I have been teaching a material in the code of canon law that deals with dioceses and parishes. So I've had a continuing interest in parish and diocesan structures and that inevitably leads to concerns about leadership in those structures--be they bishops or pastors.

Q: Why is ongoing formation important for priests?
A: The priest in the parish is such a central figure within the Catholic community. And they can make such a significant difference--for better or worse--for attracting or deterring people. Ongoing formation for priests keeps them alive. It keeps them up to date with trends that going on in the Church and the questions that are being raised by people. It broadens their horizons. No matter how good seminary formation is, you are only in a way scratching the surface. The seminary is only the beginning.

Q: What inspires you to give in support of CLI's mission?
A: I believe in the good work you are doing to support the Church and I have always felt it important to give back when I can. From my own vocation as a priest and from the stories of impact that I read in your newsletter, I see the value of the work that you do and that's why I feel called to contribute.

Q: What unique gifts and talents do you bring to your ministry as 
a professor of Canon Law?
A: Well what I try to do is just to broaden people's horizon. The danger of those in our field (canon lawyers) can be to become very narrow and legalistic and not really see the law as a tool for service of people and fostering their well being. We need to constantly help our students see the theological basis and the pastoral dimensions of doing canon
law and to try and highlight their ability to serve the faithful well.

Q: How do you define leadership?
A: It is providing a vision of what parish life entails in terms of liturgical celebrations, catechetical formation and pastoral service of a larger community. In order to motivate the people of the parish to be so engaged and interested and take their part, big or small, in sharing in that ministry and making the Church come alive.