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New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law Hardcover – May, 2000
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Clearly an invaluable tool. -- The Jurist
Invaluable to understanding any number of Church issues. This volume is an essential reference work. -- Liturgical Ministry
The commentary is not so much valuable as indispensable. -- Ecclesiastical Law Journal
This commentary should be in the library of every major religious institute in the English-speaking world. -- Review for Religious
Well-bound, beautifully produced, and easy to consult. --Theological Studies
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Pope John Paul II, in his Papal Allocutions to the Roman Rota, has emphasized repeatedly that "In effect, juridical-canonical work is pastoral by its very nature." In 1985, The Canon Law Society of America produced the first Commentary on the current Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1983. This was an extremely brave undertaking for any group. Nothing went before and the responsibility of producing such a maiden work was huge. That first edition became an indispensable tool to canonists universally. It provoked thought and discussion beyond any expectation. This is not a second edition. It is a whole new work with mostly new authors. In the spirit of the instruction of Pope John Paul II, this Commentary brings a veritiable treasure trove of priceless experience and thought. The many contributors to this Commentary include university professors, Tribuanl professionals, administrators of religious institutes, and parish priests. In the years since the 1983 Code was promulgated, there has certainly been change. There have been many documents and official interpretations. The Pontifical Council on the Interpretation of Legislative Texts has issued dozens of authoritative interpretations of the canons. There have been numerous decisions by ecclesial Tribunals all over the world, which have contributed to the meaning of particular canons. In addition there were such important documents as the 1988 Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia; the 1990 Ritual for the Celebration of Marriage; the 1993 Directory on Ecumenism; the 1996 Apostolic Constitution on Papal Elections; the 1998 Motu Propio on Episcopal Conferences; and the 1990 Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. In addition to their consideration of these new documents and decisions, the contributors here bring many varied, lived experiences. And the life experiences of some of these authors is awesome. Two of the authors, also contributors to the first Commnetary, were Professors James H. Provost and Bertram F. Griffin. Both of these men were renowned canonists and their contributions are the last great works we have from these men before their deaths. Their work here proves how greatly they are missed. Contributor Lawrence G. Wrenn has long been an expert on American Catholic jurisprudential thought on marriage annulment. As usual, he excels here.
On the other end of the spectrum, this Commentary shows the depth of some new canonists. Barbara Anne Cusack, Diane L. Barr, John M. Huels, OSM, Rose M. McDermott, SSJ, Robert Geisinger, SJ, and Craig A. Cox, among many others, show that there is still much coming to provoke both thought and canonical action in the Church. The format of this book has each contributor presenting a canon, the state of related issue, and then, his or her own view in the ongoing debates. A commentary is not an authoritative text in the way the Pope is infalible. It is never meant to be. A reader of this type of text is of such a caliber intellectually that any explanation in a vacuum would make the work useless, even insulting. The intended reader is the challenged reader. Challenged to read, to think and to act, with the truest sense of justice, and on the most pastoral path of Christianity.
The new Commentary does an admirable job of presenting the most accurate English translation of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, as well as providing commentary on that Code that reflects accurately the pastoral nature of Church law. Beyond this, the commentary is very practical in its approach.
The articles in the Commentary are written by the leading canonists in America. These commentators are exemplars of real faithfulness to the Church, as well as writing from extensive knowledge of their topics. As a practical resource for ministry in the Catholic Church, you will find nothing better at present.
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