Towards the end of the 17th century, when new buildings had been constructed and able men with Doctorate in Canon Law had come to join the professorial staff, the University obtained the Brief “Inscrutabili” from Innocent XI, dated August 7, 1681 whereby this Faculty, together with those of Civil Law and Medicine were erected. On January 17, 1682, the Faculty to teach the canons was granted to the Dominicans by the Master of the Order. King Charles II of Spain also recommended on November 22, 1682, the erection of the Faculty. However, because of the political unrest then reigning in the Islands, the plan was not carried out, even if Archbishop Pardo, then Rector of the University, had already granted in 1689 the necessary financial aid for its maintenance. Early in the 18th century, in 1702 and again in 1715, the government maintained the establishment of a legal course, but which was however, suppressed in 1726.

Finally, on the 11th of November 1732 the School of Sacred Canons, with an enrollment of 41 students, was solemnly inaugurated. The school was subsequently confirmed both by the King of Spain on October 23, 1733, and by Pope Clement XI with his Brief “Dudum emanarunt” of September 2, 1734.


The Ecclesiastical Faculty of Canon Law, together with the Ecclesiastical Faculty of Sacred Theology and the Ecclesiastical Faculty of Philosophy, is classified under the name “Ecclesiastical Faculties.” It is an integral part of the University of Santo Tomas.


General Purpose

  1. To deepen the knowledge of Christian revelation and of matters connected with it: to enunciate systematically the truth contained therein; to consider in the light of revelation, the problems of the times, presenting them in a manner adapted to the local culture. The Faculty of Canon Law shall cultivate and promote its own disciplines through scientific research, by establishing or availing itself of specialized research centers, by publishing scientific journals and collections, and by organizing and/or participating in scientific workshops or conferences.
  2. The Faculty of Canon Law is entrusted by the Church with the task of preparing with special care students for the priestly ministry, for teaching the sacred sciences, and for the more arduous task of the apostolate (cf. Sapientia Christiana, Foreword, III). Furthermore, it is enjoined by the Church “to promote the continuing permanent education of the ministers of the Church” (cf. Ibid., art 3, #2)
  3. The Faculty of Canon Law is closely connected with the mission of evangelization of the Church; hence, it has to collaborate effectively in the work of evangelization, in close communion with the Hierarchy of the universal as well as of the local Church, in its pastoral, doctrinal, ecumenical and missionary undertakings. The work of evangelization is primarily directed to the understanding, defense and diffusion of faith within the whole context of culture and human society (cf. Sapientia Christiana, Norms of Application, art.3).
  4. As a primary component of the University of Santo Tomas, the Catholic University of the Philippines, the Faculty of Canon Law shares in the University’s responsibility to be an educative community permeated with the spirit of freedom and charity (cf. Gravissimum Educationis, 8).

Specific Purpose

The Faculty of Canon Law has for its purpose the study and promotion of ecclesiastical juridical disciplines in the light of the Gospel and the molding of students in the spirit of Church Law, so that they may be prepared for scientific research, for the development, interpretation, and teaching of the same in seminaries, houses of studies and universities, and to train people for professional practice in diocesan and religious curia as well as for holding special ecclesiastical posts. The Faculty of Canon Law shall with special interest search for ways to harmonize the difference between the laws of the Church and those of the State.


The Faculty of Canon Law is governed by the following laws:

  1. The common law of the Church;
  2. Sapientia Christiana and other norms laid down by the Apostolic See;
  3. The General Statutes of the University of Santo Tomas in so far as they are not inconsistent with the particular statutes of the Ecclesiastical Faculties;
  4. The Statutes of the Ecclesiastical Faculties approved by the Congregation for Catholic Education.

In addition, the Faculty is governed by the following regulations:

  1. The norms issued by the Rector in accordance with the statutes of the three ecclesiastical faculties;
  2. The rules issued by the Dean with the Faculty Council in accordance with the statutes;
  3. The legitimate customs related to the Faculty in so far as they are in conformity with the laws of the Church and have been recognized by the authorities of the Faculty.