Canon and Civil Lawyer

Michael J. Mazza, J.D., J.C.D.

(+1) 605.416.9303 – United States or (+39) 02.99770.088 – Italy

Michael Mazza is a practicing civil and canon lawyer who advocates on behalf of clerics, religious, and lay people. He also represents dioceses and religious orders. With over 20 years of civil law experience, Michael provides canon law services to those who need professional legal advice, expertise, and representation. If you are in need of a canon lawyer, especially if you are an accused priest, contact Michael Mazza J.D., J.C.D.

About Me


Years of Civil Law Experience


Doctorate in Canon Law


Total Clients


Priest Clients

Practice Areas

Advocacy for Clerics, Religious, and Laity

Too often, the rights of the faithful – under both canon law and even natural law – are not being observed, even by some in the Church. If you need an expert canon lawyer to help you vindicate your rights, please let me know. If you are a priest accused of misconduct, it is vital that you avail yourself of competent canonical counsel as soon as possible.


Demographic tensions, financial struggles, and ideological differences can cause tensions within parishes and within dioceses. If your group needs an objective opinion or expert advice, I am here to help.

Declarations of Nullity "Annulments"

The process surrounding a declaration of nullity regarding a marriage can be confusing and painful. If you need an independent advocate to hear your story, please call.

Defamation Actions

Attacks on reputation are becoming more common – and more damaging – in this age of the internet and social media. If you believe that your good name has been harmed, I am ready to advocate on your behalf.


“Michael’s help was indispensable in helping me remain in ministry. I am grateful for his wise counsel and steady hand at a time of great stress for me.”

 – a diocesan priest (East Coast USA)

“The members of our parish who retained Michael to help us in our dealings with the diocese were very pleased with his professionalism, his diligence, and his promptness in replying to our concerns.”

– a parish group (Midwest, USA)

“In addition to his excellent legal advice, I am very grateful for Michael’s patient ear and caring heart during my struggles with my diocese. Without his help, I’m not sure where I’d be at the moment.”

– a diocesan priest (Southern USA)

Publications and Presentations

Webinar on Guidance for Independent Review Boards

– Men of Melchizedek 

(21 Sep 2023)

Webinar on Model Policies for Dioceses and Religious Orders for Abuse Claims

– Men of Melchizedek

(6 Oct 2022)

The Church, Persons, and Juridical Goods: An Introduction to Canon Law (translator)

– Wilson & Lafleur

(released Nov 2023)

JCD Thesis reviewed in Studia Canonica

– by Rev. Brian T. Austin, F.S.S.P.

(Fall 2023)

That Which is Just in the Church: An Introduction to Canon Law (translator)

– St Augustine’s Press

(released Nov 2023)

The Nature of Law, the Role of Justice in the Church, and the Vocation of a Canon Lawyer

– Career Day Speaker to Students

(20 Oct 2023)

Standards of Proof in Preliminary Investigations

– Rocky Mountain Regional Meeting Speaker

(14 Oct 2023)

The Importance of Standards of Proof at the "Heeding the Call of Truth" Conference

 – CLE Presentation at the Annual CBA Conference at the Scalia School of Law

(27 Oct 2023)

The Vulnerable Person and the Law of the Church:

Are Accused Priests "Vulnerable Persons"?

(4 Nov 2023)

Justice in the Church:
The Rights and Duties of Catholics

Santa Barbara (CA) Legatus Chapter Speaker

(18 Oct 2023)

La garanzia del diritto di difesa nelle procedure penali amministrative

(The guarantee of the right of defense in administrative penal procedures)

 – Alumni Webinar

(7 June 2023)

The Rights of Priests and Pastors

– Rocky Mountain Regional Meeting Speaker

(22 Oct 2022)

Justice in the Church:
Do Catholics Have Rights?

– Ventura/North LA (CA) Legatus Chapter Speaker

(19 Oct 2023)

A Review of the Sauvé Report on the Clerical Sexual Abuse Crisis in France

– Church, Communication and Culture

Protecting the Right to Reputation

– Studia Canonica

The Canonical Tradition Valuing the Right to Reputation

– Revista Española de Derecho Canónico

The Natural and Spiritual Basis for the Right to Reputation (a 2-part article)

– Homiletic & Pastoral Review

Review of a doctoral thesis on canonical prescription in penal law matters

 – Preview on Project Muse

The Right of a Cleric to Bona Fama

– A canon law doctoral thesis (available on Amazon)

Defending a Cleric's Right to Reputation and the Sexual Abuse Scandal in the Catholic Church

– Tulsa Law Review

May a Catholic University Have a Catholic Faculty

– Notre Dame Law Review

Should Clergy Hold the Priest-Penitent Privilege

– Marquette Law Review

The Rise and Fall of Part-Time Legal Education in Wisconsin

– Marquette Law Review

FATHERS! “The first few hours after an accusation is made are absolutely critical.”

 – Fr. Z’s Blog

Contact Michael

To learn more about canon law services and how I can help, please send an email, or call (+1) 605.416.9303 (United States) or (+39) 02.99770.088 (Italy). I look forward to speaking with you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Canon law is the body of norms that govern the Catholic Church. The time-honored principles of canon law help define and protect the rights and duties of the faithful, making sure that the Church lives up to the mission entrusted to it by the Lord.

A canon lawyer can help people in need of advice, assistance, or representation with any issue regarding the Catholic Church. This can include actions relating to defamation, declarations of marital nullity (“annulments”), fiscal mismanagement in a parish or diocese, difficulties within religious congregations, or issues relating to sexual abuse claims or abuses of ecclesiastical power.

As soon as someone’s canonical rights begin to appear to be threatened, the early involvement of a reputable, knowledgeable, and competent canon lawyer is absolutely critical. If you are a cleric accused of misconduct, you need to call such a canonist as soon as possible, as time is of the essence.

Civil lawyers are used to negotiating and problem solving. They also can be trusted to keep client confidences under the attorney-client privilege. Being familiar with both systems of law can be of tremendous assistance when helping clerics accused of misconduct.

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