Monsignor Ellsworth Kneal

Monsignor Ellsworth Kneal

Please remember in your prayers Monsignor Ellsworth Kneal, a nationally known expert in church law and professor emeritus at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity of the University of St. Thomas.  Kneal died Wednesday, Jan. 27; services are being held at the seminary this morning, Feb. 1.

Visitation will begin at 9 a.m. in St. Mary’s Chapel, where the Mass for Christian Burial will begin at 10:30 a.m.

Kneal, 92, was born and raised in St. Louis. He was ordained in 1944 and retired from active ministry in 1987.

Kneal was a professor of canon law at the St. Paul Seminary and presiding judge of the Metropolitan Tribunal from 1960 to 1982.  He had been a visiting professor at Catholic University, at St. Paul’s University and at the Seminary of St. Anthony on Hudson.  His writings included articles on matrimonial jurisprudence and the code of canon law.  In 1985, Kneal was appointed by Pope John Paul II to serve on the Pontifical Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of the Code of Canon Law.

In 2001, he received the annual Role of Law Award, the Canon Law Society of America’s highest honor.

Kneal received his B.A. from St. Louis University in 1938 and was a member of the St. Paul Seminary class of 1944. He went on to receive his licentiate in canon law from the Catholic University in Washington, D.C., in 1960, and his doctorate in canon law from the Angelicum University in Rome, Italy, in 1965.

“Monsignor Kneal was one of the finest gentlemen I’ve encountered,” said Archbishop Harry Flynn, archbishop emeritus of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and chair of the St. Thomas Board of Trustees. “He was thoughtful, learned and a skilled canonist with a pastoral heart.”

An obituary for Kneal has been published in the Catholic Spirit newspaper.