Upcoming congress to focus on code of canon law


Vatican City, Jan 22, 2008 / 11:25 am (CNA).- The Vatican held a press conference today to present the upcoming congress theme: “Canon Law in the Life of the Church, research and perspectives in the context of recent Pontifical Magisterium.” 

Archbishop Francesco Coccopalmerio and Msgr. Juan Ignacio Arrieta, respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, participated in the press conference regarding the congress, organized to mark the 25th anniversary of the Code of Canon Law.

Msgr. Arrieta noted that the goal of the congress is “to undertake a purposeful study ... into the progress of the application of the Code, and of all the other norms that the various offices of the Roman Curia and individual legislators have produced over the last 25 years.”

“Twenty-five years ago, the long process of revising the 1917 Code of Canon Law came to an end,” said Archbishop Coccopalmerio, explaining how the revision “had been announced by Pope John XXIII on the same day he proclaimed the celebration of Vatican Council II” and how it re-examined “the central corpus of the Church's legislative code in accordance with doctrinal aspects contained in the conciliar documents.”

The archbishop went on by considering differences between the Code of Canon Law and the legal codes of nations. Canon Law, he said, “contains the law of the Church, just as a State code contains the laws of a particular nation. And it is called ‘Canon Law’ because it is made up of ‘canons’, which are equivalent to the ‘articles’ of a State code.”

However the Code of Canon Law “is not just a collection of norms created by the will of ecclesiastical legislators”, but it “indicates the duties and rights inherent to the faithful and to the structure of the Church as instituted by Christ.”

In closing, the president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts specified the functions of his dicastery: “helping the supreme legislator (the Pope) to keep Church legislation as complete and up to date as possible... overseeing the correct application of current laws” and “helping the Pope in the delicate process of interpreting norms.”

Scheduled to be held January 24 and 25, the congress will be attended by members of episcopal conferences, and by professors and students of Canon Law from around the world.

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