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Encyclopedia > Canon law (Catholic Church)

Canon Law is the ecclesiastical law of the Roman Catholic Church. Catholic ecclesiastical law is a fully developed legal system, with all the necessary elements: courts, lawyers, judges, precedent, a fully articulated legal code and principles of legal interpretation. The highest degree of education in canon law is the J.C.D. (Juris Canonici Doctor, Doctor of Canon Law). This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Catholicism. ... A Doctor of Canon Law (Juris Canonici Doctor) is a university academic degree. ...



In the Roman Catholic church, the canons of the councils were supplemented with decretals of the Popes, which were gathered together into collections such as the Liber Extra (1234), the Liber Sextus (1298) and the Clementines (1317). Decretals (Epistolae decretales) is the name that is given in Canon Law to those letters of the pope which formulate decisions in ecclesiastical law. ... The Pope (from Greek: pappas, father; from Latin: papa, Papa, father) is the head of the Catholic Church. ...

Compilations and new Codes

In the 13th century, the Catholic Church began attempting to collect and organize canon law, which after a millennium of development had become a complex and difficult system of interpretation and cross-referencing. The 1582 Code of Canon Law was actually a compilation of the Decreta, Extra, the Sext, the Clementines and the Extravagantes (that is, a compilation of the decretals of John XXII, and Boniface VII through Sixtus IV). (12th century - 13th century - 14th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 13th century was that century which lasted from 1201 to 1300. ...

The 1917 Code of Canon Law (Codex Iuris Canonici or CIC) was actually the first instance of a new code completely re-written in a systematic fashion. It took effect in November 1918.

So much had changed in the Church after the sweeping reforms of the Second Vatican Counil (1961-1975) that the council fathers wrote into the documents that the code be completely revised. The project was nearly complete upon the death of Paul VI in 1978. Later that year when John Paul II had become pope, he brought further major changes to the code. The new revision, (CIC 1982) took affect in 1983.

Eastern Rites

The Eastern Catholic Churches have a separate code of canon law. The first attempt to codify Eastern law under the name Codex Iuris Canonici Orientalis (Code of Eastern Canon Law) was partially completed when Pope Pius XII promulgated portions of the canons in 1948. However, when the project neared completion in 1959, Pope John XXIII suspended work as the expected conciliar reforms would affect the code. The Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium (Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, CCEO) was promulgated in November 1990. The majority of canons correspond closely to the Roman code, but incorporates certain differences in the hierarchy, administration and other areas. The term Eastern Rites may refer to the liturgical rites used by many ancient Christian Churches of Eastern Europe and the Middle East that, while being part of the Roman Catholic Church, are distinct from the Latin Rite or Western Church. ... Pope Pius XII (Latin: ), born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli (March 2, 1876 – October 9, 1958), reigned as the 260th Pope, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, and sovereign of Vatican City State from March 2, 1939 until his death. ... 1948 (MCMXLVIII) was a leap year starting on Thursday (the link is to a full 1948 calendar). ... 1959 (MCMLIX) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Pope John XXIII (Latin: ), born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (November 25, 1881 – June 3, 1963), he was elected as the 261st Pope of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City on October 28, 1958. ... In Western culture, canon law is the law of the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches. ... This article is about the year. ...

External links

  • Code of Canon Law (1983), IntraText edition with referenced concordance, hosted by the Vatican
  • Code of Canons of Oriental Churchs, IntraText Digital Library
  • Catholic Encyclopedia: Canon Law

Robinson, Fergus and Gordon, European Legal History 3rd Ed , London; Butterworths: 2000.



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