University of Erfurt

University of Erfurt

Prof. Dr. Myriam Wijlens

Professor for Canon Law at the Faculty of Catholic Theology

Myriam Wijlens obtained a licenciate in Catholic Theology at the Catholic University of Nijmegen (The Netherlands) in 1986. Subsequently she studied canon law at Saint Paul University, Ottawa and at the University of Ottawa (degrees: Master and Licentiate, 1988; PhD and Doctor of Canon Law (JCD) 1990). 1997 she completed the habilitation at the Westfälische-Wilhelms-Universität Münster. After visiting professorships at The Catholic University of America (Washington DC) from 2001-2003 and Saint Paul University in Ottawa from 2004-2006, as well as being an assistant professor at the University of Tilburg (1999-2005), Myriam Wijlens was appointed as full professor for Canon Law at the University of Erfurt in 2005. From 2008 till 2011 she served as vice president of the University of Erfurt. The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity (Vatican) appointed her as its delegate to the Standing Commission of Faith and Order at the World Council of Churches (Geneva) in 2008. In 2014 the delegation was renewed till 2022. In 2012 the same Pontifical Council mandated Myriam Wijlens to serve on the Consultation between the Roman Catholic Church and the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe. The University of Durham appointed her as hononary professor for Ecumenism and Canon Law from 2012-2021. Since 2004 Myriam Wijlens is co-moderator of the international research group Peter and Paul Seminar, which focuses on reform of the church. Pope Francis appointed her as a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors in 2018.


Myriam Wijlens focuses on ecclesiological and ecumenical themes with a particular attention for canonical issues. Other areas of research concern sexual abuse of minors and the law on institutes of consecrated life.


Myriam Wijlens offers in particular courses on the foundation of canon law (incl. general norms), the Constitution of the Church and contemporary issues in canon law. In the Studium Fundamentale she offers interdisciplinary courses (e.g. "The Well Being of Children: Rights – Protection – Promotion" and "Sexual Abuse of Minors in Institutions: Law – Causes – Prevention").

Publications (selected)

  • Reform durch ein Reset der konzilaren Hermeneutik: Kollegialität – Synodalität – Sensus fidei, in: Bernd Oberdorfer / Oliver Schuegraf (Eds.), Reform im Katholizismus. Traditionstreue und Veränderung in der römisch-katholischen Theologie und Kirche, Beihefte zur Ökumenischen Rundschau, Bd. 119 (Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, voraussichtlich 2018) 363-391.
  • Reforming the Church by Hitting the Reset Button: Reconfiguring Collegiality within Synodality because of sensus fidei fidelium, in: The Canonist 8 (2017) 235-261.
  • Reform and Renewal: Implementing Vatican II, Antonio Spadaro, Carlos Galli (eds.), For a Missionary Reform of the Church: The Civiltà Cattolica Seminar (New York, Mahwah, NJ: Paulist, 2017) 336-357.
  • Future Paths for the Ecumenical Movement: Canonical Considerations, Challenges and Contributions, Proceedings Canon Law Society of America (Washington, DC: CLSA) 76 (2014) 13-41.
  • Myriam Wijlens (ed.), Die wechselseitige Rezeption zwischen Ortskirche und Universalkirche. Das Zweite Vatikanum und die Kirche im Osten Deutschlands. Erfurter Theologische Schriften, vol. 46, (Würzburg: Echter, 2014) 177p.
  • Sharing the Eucharist: A Theological Evaluation of the Post Conciliar Legislation. With a foreword by Johannes Cardinal Willebrands (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2000) xx-397p.
  • Die Kooperation von Laien mit kirchlichem Seelsorgeauftrag und Klerikern: eine gegenseitige Ergänzung,  in B. Kranemann, M. Wijlens (eds.), Gesendet in den Weinberg des Herrn: Laien in der katholischen Kirche heute und morgen. Erfurter Theologische Schriften, Band 35 (Würzburg: Echter, 2010) 31-50.



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