Ceprome Latinoamérica



Professor Myriam Wijlens, born in The Netherlands, holds a licenciate in Catholic Theology (Catholic University of Nijmegen -The Netherlands), a licentiate, doctorate and PhD in canon law (Saint Paul University/ University of Ottawa – Canada) and completed a Habilitation with the venia legendi for canon law (University of Münster – Germany).

Professor Wijlens is a full professor for Canon Law at the University of Erfurt (Germany) in 2005. From 2008 till 2011 she served as vice president of the University of Erfurt.

In 1987 she first encountered the need to issue Guidelines providing a response to allegations of sexual abuse in Canada. From 1994 onwards she was involved in drafting Guidelines for responding to allegations of sexual abuse in different countries. As of 2002 she was appointed by numerous bishops and major superiors to conduct the preliminary canonical penal investigation (c. 1717) and served in this role in approx. 100 cases. In 2005 the supreme state attorney of Ireland called upon her expertise on negligence and damage caused by a superior who had reassigned a perpetrator to a school. She published books and articles on canonical aspects of abuse of minors. Pope Francis appointed her to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors in 2018-2022 for which she co-organised the seminar “Promoting and Protecting the Dignity of Persons in Allegations of Abuse of Minors and Vulnerable Adults: Balancing Confidentiality, Transparency and Accountability in 2019.

The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity (PCPCU-Vatican) appointed her as its delegate to the Standing Commission of Faith and Order at the World Council of Churches (Geneva) in 2008. As of 2015 she has served as the Co-Moderator of its Working Group “Moral Discernment in the Churches”. From 2012 – 2017 the PCPCU mandated her to serve on the Consultation between the Roman Catholic Church and the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe. In 2019 the PCPCU appointed her as advisor to ARCIC III (=Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission).

The University of Durham (UK) appointed her as honorary professor for Ecumenism and Canon Law from 2012-2021.

Prof. Wijlens focuses on systemic challenges revealed by the sexual abuse crises and necessary ecclesial and canonical reforms in light of Vatican II (with attention for the ecumenical dimension of reform). Since 2004 Myriam Wijlens has served as co-moderator of the international research group Peter and Paul Seminar which focuses on necessary reforms of canon law in light of Vatican II. Currently she works on the research project “Transparency – Accountability – Responsibility: The Reform of Church Structures and Practices.”