The Church, Persons, and Juridical Goods

An Introduction to Canon Law

Size: 9 x 6
ISBN: 9782924974124
Binding: Paperback

An Introduction to Canon Law


Canon law is often conceived as a set of ecclesiastical norms aimed at establishing necessary ecclesiastical discipline, but which can also reduce the freedom of the faithful, imprison church life in rigid organizational patterns, oppose pastoral dynamism and, finally, deny the exercise of mercy. The study of canon law, consequently, appears to be nothing more than a mere memorization of norms. At the same time, the historical period we are living through shows the need for means to prevent and remedy the various scandals that plague the Church. At best, in short, canon law is now commonly regarded as a necessary evil.

This book aims to offer a different view of law in the Church, where its existence is not a mere consequence of original sin. Under the proper view of the role of law in the Church, its study is not simply about ecclesiastical law, but about the existence of what is right and just in the Church. From this premise, the study of canon law is conceived as the knowledge of what is just and unjust (iusti atque iniusti scientia) in the Church.

As a result, this text does not aim to expound the current norms, but instead examines the fundamental legal concepts and notions that allow us to understand the fundamental demands of justice in the life of the Church. To this end, the realities of the Church (persons, institutions, associations) are studied from the point of view of justice.

The purpose of this work is to introduce the study of canon law through a reflection on the dimension of justice inherent in intra-ecclesial relations, without claiming to exhaust a determinate part of canonical science.

What is just in the Church today is a key notion that makes it possible to respect persons and charisms while guaranteeing each of the faithful their rights. The book contemplates some basic themes, such as the nature of law and of the rights in the Church, their history, the relationship between the Church and civil society, the constitutional legal principles of the Church, the fundamental rights and duties of the faithful, the legal dimension of the associational phenomenon in the Church, the legal status of sacred ministers, the legal profiles of consecrated life, and just government in the Church.

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