Fr. Roger Keeler
Father Roger Keeler, a former pastor in the Edmonton Archdiocese, has been appointed executive director of the Canon Law Society of America.
Ordained in 1984, Keeler has served at several parishes in the archdiocese, worked at the Alberta Regional Tribunal and taught at St. Joseph's College of the University of Alberta.
He left Edmonton two years ago to accept Father Ron Rolheiser's invitation to teach at the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas.
In a telephone interview with the WCR, Keeler expressed his delight with his new Washington-based appointment.
The society is one of the largest societies of canon lawyers worldwide and Keeler's task "is going to be the day-to-day operations of the society, working closely with the board of directors in terms of their plans, projects, the administration branch of things."
The new executive director is also responsible for coordinating and hosting the annual society convention and editing the two publications of the society's proceedings that publishes papers arising from the convention.
Keeler also edits Roman Replies and works on plans for new handbooks for current issues, such as Marriage and Baptism.
His position also requires him to work with with other canon law societies in the English speaking world and assist U.S. bishops with queries they might have.
When asked if Pope Francis is having an impact on what he was doing, Keeler chuckles. "Of course. One of the areas I am really intrigued with is the conversation around evangelization."
He gave several examples such as not closing the Church's doors to the unmarried young mother who wants to have her baby baptized, or to couples living together who want to get married in the Catholic Church.
Says Keeler to the latter pronouncement, "The law says living together is not an impediment to marriage."
"The Holy Father is encouraging us to evangelization and hospitality . . . and I think it is raising some of these issues. We are going to have to be responding to all of these things with prudence and care and sensitivity."
Noted for his love of parish work, Keeler has been doing marriage preparation since arriving in Texas as well as filling in for fellow priests when they go on vacation.
True to his calling and despite the onerous responsibilities of his new position, Keeler says "I've already suggested in Washington that I would like to live in a parish and contribute in any way that I can."