Rev. Phillip J. Brown, P.S.S.


Associate Professor of Canon Law

brownpj [at]

Curriculum vitae

Fr. Phillip Brown
is an experienced seminary and educational administrator, classroom instructor, and scholar, having served as Dean of the School of Theology at St. Mary’s; Assistant Professor of Canon Law, The Catholic University of America; Rector, Theological College of the Catholic University of America; and, since 2016, President-Rector of St. Mary’s. He is also Vice Chancellor of St. Mary’s Ecclesiastical Faculty.

Fr. Brown came to academia and seminary formation after serving in parochial ministry for twelve years as pastor, as high school chaplain, and in a variety of diocesan administrative posts. He is a civil and canon lawyer with wide practice experience in both fields, and is also an accomplished musician and composer. Professionally, Fr. Brown has served as President of the Canon Law Society of America and on numerous committees of the Society, and is currently a member of its Publications Advisory Board. He is a Board member of the St. Thomas More Society of Maryland, and a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.

Fr. Brown has taken a particular interest in the human formation of seminarians as foundational for his focus on a balanced spiritual, pastoral, and academic formation program.

Selected Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Canon Law
  • Canon Law of Marriage
  • Temporal Goods of the Church
  • Ecumenism
  • Pastoral Administration
  • Latin

Service to the Church

  • Religious Assistant (Pontifical Visitor), Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity
  • Canonical Assistant, Visitation Schools consolidation (Visitation/Salesian Ministry Network)
  • Past President, Canon Law Society of America
  • Hearing Office, Ethics Committee of the Canon Law Society of America
  • Publications Advisory Board, Canon Law Society of America
  • Consultant to Catholic School Boards Division, National Catholic Education Association

Selected Publications

  • Canon 18 CIC 1983 and the Hermeneutical Principles of Bernard Lonergan (Pontifical Gregorian University, 1999)
  • “The Interpretation of Canon Law: A Concise History from Gratian to CIC 1983,” in Appollinaris (Canon Law Journal of the Lateran University, Rome), Spring 2004
  • “Interpretación Declarativa,” Interpretación Estricta,” “Interpretación Extensiva,” in Diccionario General de Derecho Canónico (Universidad de Navarra)
  • “Droit Canonique: Foi ou Raison,” Revue de Droit Canonique, Strasburg (2008).
  • “Free Exercise and the Incarnational Nature of the Catholic Faith,” Festchrift in Honor of Jack Lynch, The Jurist 68:1 (2008)
  • “Prescription & Statutes of Limitation,” CLSA Proceedings of the Seventieth Annual Convention, (Washington: CLSA, 2008), 383-451
  • “Canon 1692 (Legal Separation):  A Pastoral Option,” Studies in Church Law IV (Bangalore, India: St. Peter’s Institute, 2008), 215-52
  • “Square Pegs in Round Holes: Toward A Better Model of Parish Civil Law Structures,” The Jurist 69:1 (2009): 261-310
  • “The 1983 Code and Vatican II Ecclesiology: The Principle of Subsidiarity in Book V,” The Jurist 69:2 (2009): 583-614
  • “Societies of Apostolic Life: The Evolution of a Canonical Institute,” The Jurist: Festchrift in Honor of Sr. Rose McDermott (Catholic University of America-School of Canon Law)
  • “Lex Iurandi, Lex Credendi,” Bulletin Saint Sulpice 2012 (1)
  • “Grocholewski for the Defense,” in Quod iustum est et aequum: scritti in onore del Cardinale Zenone Grocholewski per il cinquantesimo di sacerdozio, ed. Marek Je̜draszewski, Jan Zbigniew Słowiński (Archdiocese of Poznan, 2013)
  • “Diocesan Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life: Formation of Members for Holy Orders,” The Jurist 73:2 (2013): 463-92
  • “The Right of Defense and Due Process: Fulcrum of Justice-Heart of the Law,” Studia Canonica 2019
  • “Prescription and the Usefulness of Time,” Festchrift in Honor of Msgr. Thomas Green (The Jurist)

Online Resources

Recommended Reading

  • Augustine, The Confessions of St. Augustine
  • Dante Alighieri, La Divina Commedia
  • Romano Guardini, Prayer in Practice
  • Jean-Jacques Olier, Correspondence (a new edition of Olier’s letters, ed. Gilles Chaillot, Irénée Noye and Bernard Pitaud)
  • Raymond Deville, The French School of Spirituality, An Introduction and Reader (trans. Agnes Cunningham)

A Favorite Quotation

Gloria enim Dei vivens homo, vita autem hominis visio Dei. (For the glory of God is a human being fully alive, and the life of a human being is the vision of God.) — Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses Book 4, 34.7