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 International Institute of Theological and Tribunal Studies (IITTS)

Welcome to the International Institute of Tribunal Studies at the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.  Read below for our latest on academic programs:


    Rome has made a “home” in Los Angeles! Since 2009, the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (The Angelicum) has made Los Angeles its summer campus for the study of canon law. This year, under the direction of Archbishop Gomez, the Angelicum has also agreed to make Los Angeles its summer campus for the study of philosophy. These two programs allow students to take courses that are not only pontifically accredited but also accredited through the European Union.  Read More.

    Learn about Christian Ethics in a Secular World; What is Happiness, Friendship, and Erotic Love?; The Historical Development of Canon Law; Biblical Greek; St. Thomas Aquinas; The Life and Ministry of Henri Nouwen; plus other courses!  Read More.



Synod Initiative IV of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles deals with Ministry and Leadership: lay, consecrated life, and ordained.  This initiative calls for a deeper commitment to witness, worship, and service. Through Baptism all share in the witness, worship, and service of the Church. The call to ministry and leadership comes specifically from the grace of Baptism, and so there are many forms of ministry that pertain to the laity and are not restricted to clergy and religious. One of the pastoral strategies called for was the establishment of a “school of ministry for laity” or its equivalent in each pastoral region to train parishioners for participation in a variety of parochial ministries.
In response to this Synod priority, to the needs of the Archdiocese and to the growing shortage of canonists and qualified Tribunal staff in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere, on December 15, 2005, the Graduate Theological Foundation of Indiana formally established the International Institute of Tribunal Studies in Los Angeles, with the endorsement of His Eminence Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles. At that time, the Cardinal stated that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has much to offer the Institute, including facilities, expertise and faculty.

In 2007, the Graduate Theological Foundation granted to the International Institute of Tribunal Studies the new status of  P.R.I.M.E. (Partnering Resources in Ministry Education), with the hope that many of the excellent educational programs of the Archdiocese could be used to allow Christ’s Faithful to obtain degrees in different areas of studies.
The Institute has its philosophical roots in the legal concept of apprenticeship, “reading the law” with an experienced lawyer.  This was once the primary means of obtaining a legal education in the American colonies and in the early history of the United States.  From John Adams to Abraham Lincoln, many Presidents had “read the law” under the tutelage of experienced lawyers. The Institute also has its roots in the Catholic academic tradition of the residential study of canon law.  Throughout the world the Holy See has established faculties of canon law with an environment truly suited to the formation of canon lawyers.  These two traditions are merged in the Master’s of Tribunal Studies and the Doctor of Tribunal Studies.  While not pontifically accredited, these two programs allow for the combination of the self-study and apprenticeship found in the early American tradition, and the lecture and tutorial system employed in the tradition of Catholic universities.
It is the belief of the International Institute of Tribunal Studies that its theological endeavors safeguard the main philosophy of the Institute, which is based on the organic relationship between ecclesiastical law, tribunal ministry, and theology.  To this end, the Institute provides theological courses that can lead to a bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree in theology.
Because of the widening of the I.I.T.S. mission from solely preparing those in tribunal ministry to the formation of all of those in ministry, in 2009, with the approval of Cardinal Roger Mahony and the Graduate Theological Foundation, the I.I.T.S. became the International Institute of Theological and Tribunal Studies (I.I.T.T.S.).
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