Ottawa Priest Named Interim Head of Canadian Appeal Tribunal

Monday, December 15 2003

(CCCB-Ottawa) Rev. Thomas Cassidy, O.M.I., has been named Acting Judicial Vicar of the Canadian Appeal Tribunal, replacing Rev. Pierre Allard, S.M., who retired last October. The Tribunal is the judicial arm of the Canadian episcopacy dealing exclusively with marriage annulment cases forwarded by “first instance” or diocesan tribunals.

Father Cassidy has a doctorate in canon law and holds degrees and certificates from several Canadian universities including the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Queen’s University and Saint Paul University. He has worked with the Tribunal since 1993, first as defender of the bond, a judge and most recently as Associate Judicial Vicar.

Born in Ottawa, Father Cassidy was ordained to the priesthood in 1963 as a member of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. He taught in high schools, was a chaplain with the Canadian Navy and has held several administrative posts with his religious order. He was Superior of the English section of his community in the Ottawa region (Saint Peter’s Province) since 1999 and in December 2003 was named Councillor of the new Lacombe Province and Superior of the Ontario community.

In addition to his duties at the Canadian Appeal Tribunal, Father Cassidy is English secretary and canonical counsel at the Apostolic Nunciature in Ottawa. He is also a sessional professor of Canon Law at Saint Paul University in Ottawa.

The Canadian Appeal Tribunal was established by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1984, with the approval of the Apostolic See. It is a national tribunal – the only “second instance” tribunal in Canada. After thorough study and, if necessary, additional evidence, the Appeal Tribunal confirms or reverses the “first instance” decision. The work of the Tribunal is both judicial and pastoral.