Should the Pope revise Canon Law regarding clergy sexual abuse? Why or Why not?

What exactly do you mean by “revise Canon Law”?

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Call me skeptical.

Does the Holy Father have the authority to revise Canon Law? Genuinely asking because I don’t know the answer.

He has the authority to revise those parts of canon law that are “merely ecclesiastical law.” There are portions of what we call “canon law” that are divine law (either natural law or divinely revealed). For example, baptism must be administered with water. Or, in the course of a trial, a person has the right of defense. The Pope cannot change these parts of canon law. There rest of what we call canon law is “ecclesiastical law”–it has been imposed by the authority of the Church and can be changed/removed by that same authority. For example, a person must abstain from meat on Fridays or a parish pastor must offer Mass for the people on Sundays.

Dan

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Yes, the author might be an expert in something but it doesn’t seem to be canon law.

Dan

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I would agree with this assessment if only there had been (say, through the 1970s-1990s) numerous attempts at applying the norms of canon law to errant priests, and those attempts proved impossible or fruitless. As it was, the Church’s law on crime and punishment was basically ignored during those years (and still is, sometimes).

Dan

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Fascinating, thank you for replying.

On a side note, if I ever meet a canon lawyer in person, can I refer to he or she as “Counselor?” I used to like calling the lawyers I interacted with for work by this title. Thankfully, I don’t deal much with attorneys anymore…

As far as I know, there really aren’t titles like that which people use for “canonists.” At least, not in the “American” context.

Dan

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Past popes have made changes in Canon law regarding abuse of minors recently.

No one hates clergy abuse more than the Pope. Benedict XVI referred to such abusers as “filth” in the Church.

Deacon Christopher

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