Putting Canon Law Within Reach

New Manual Gives an Overview

ROME, JULY 18, 2005 (Zenit.org).- To omit the juridical dimension of the Church would be equivalent to having an altered vision of it, says a professor.

Eduardo Baura made that comment in connection with the presentation in Rome of the book “Church Law: Basic Course in Canon Law.”

The manual, published by EUNSA, is part of the collection of the Latin American bishops’ council (CELAM) theological-pastoral texts that were prepared with Quito’s Corporation of Studies and Publications Editions.

The authors are Father Daniel Cenalmor Palanca and Jorge Miras Pouso, both of the University of Navarre in Spain.

The objective of the new volume, of some 600 pages, is to make canon law known by the whole Church.

Chilean Cardinal Francisco Errázuriz Ossa, archbishop of Santiago and president of CELAM, wrote in the prologue to the Spanish edition that “Church law should be part of a complete Christian formation.”

The book, which is also translated into Italian and published by the University of the Holy Cross, addresses the topics from the juridical perspective without neglecting their theological assumptions.

Not just for specialists

The authors have designed it as a systematic manual for the first cycle of theological studies and for anyone interested in having an overall view of Church law.

“Canon law cannot be a corpus that is foreign to the ordinary life of the Church, nor can knowledge of it be restricted to a few specialists,” said Cardinal Errázuriz.

Eduardo Baura, dean of canon law at the University of the Holy Cross, told ZENIT that the “new volume offers a course in canon law which is not addressed to specialists but to all persons interested in the realm of ecclesial law.”

Moreover, he explained that it is not simply a commentary on the Code of Canon Law or on other positive norms but a “systematic study of the rights of the faithful and of the juridical dimension of the activity of the Church.”

Baura noted: “The juridical dimension of the Church is not a superstructure of the people of God. … Canon law, instead of being an obstacle to liberty, is a guarantee of it, as it is also a guarantee of useful pastoral activity and efficient ecclesiastical governance.”

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