Too many laws


#1

What is Canon law, how many Canon laws are there, and where can I find them all without buying a huge book of them?
I read this quote: “Canon law is binding upon all Catholics. Breaking the law is a sin”. How grave of a matter is it when that Cathlic education systems have fallen short of teaching things to us corectly? I am basically trying to figure out what it the “suprame law of the Catholic church”, because the biships, cardinals and even the Pope is obligated to follow the rules and I want to know what those rules are that take precedence over everything else (even preceding but not superceeding the Bible). If I see a bishop doing something how and what can I use in the defense of the church to say “you are wrong” and there is no interpreteation involved?

Hope this makes sense.
Deus Vobiscum


#2

google.com


#3

The vatican probably has it vatican.va, ewtn might have it ewtn.com if all else fails, google it.


#4

Here’s a link to the Code of Canon Law in English from the Vatican website: www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_INDEX.HTM

Here’s another link: www.intratext.com/X/ENG0017.htm

There appear to be 1752 canons.


#5

Peace be with you!

[quote=flick427]What is Canon law, how many Canon laws are there, and where can I find them all without buying a huge book of them?
[/quote]

You can’t learn the Law of God unless you are born again. When you are born again, you don’t need huge books, but God will write His Law in your heart. You just walk according to His Word.

In Love,
Yaqubos†


#6

[quote=flick427]What is Canon law, how many Canon laws are there, and where can I find them all without buying a huge book of them?
I read this quote: “Canon law is binding upon all Catholics. Breaking the law is a sin”. How grave of a matter is it when that Cathlic education systems have fallen short of teaching things to us corectly? I am basically trying to figure out what it the “suprame law of the Catholic church”, because the biships, cardinals and even the Pope is obligated to follow the rules and I want to know what those rules are that take precedence over everything else (even preceding but not superceeding the Bible). If I see a bishop doing something how and what can I use in the defense of the church to say “you are wrong” and there is no interpreteation involved?

Hope this makes sense.
Deus Vobiscum
[/quote]

Canon law is mostly for priests and bishops and how to run the church.


#7

:amen:


#8

[quote=YAQUBOS]Peace be with you!

You can’t learn the Law of God unless you are born again. When you are born again, you don’t need huge books, but God will write His Law in your heart. You just walk according to His Word.

In Love,
Yaqubos†
[/quote]

As long as you consider his Word to be Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium of the Church.


#9

[quote=Apologia100]As long as you consider his Word to be Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium of the Church.
[/quote]

Dear Apologia100,

How, exactly, does “canon law” fit into those three legs?

Can you also explain the relationship between what is in the Catechism and those canon laws?

The problem I have is that most ordinary Catholics with active lives cannot possibly know the laws. One young associate pastor we had went away to school specifically to study canon law. The problem with the Church holding us bound to a huge set of laws, under the penalty of sin, is the same with secular and political rules and laws. It is literally impossible to follow all the laws at the same time, so even a citizen who attempts to do everything right is subject to arbitrary and selective enforcement. In the case of the Church, if our own conscience is supposed to do the enforcing, then without an expert knowledge at all the laws, one really cannot know at any given time whether one is sinning so we are no better off here than with secular laws.

It seems to me that Christ tried to make it simple for us by giving us the two most important commandments that sum up the entire law. If one honestly follows these laws to the extent one is capable of, given their current knowledge of all the rules, I would have to say that if they sinned against any law they are not aware of, they would certainly fall under the grace of Jesus’ “for they know not what they do.” To the extent that a person’s intellect and vocation allow study of the canon laws, that person’s behavior could become more refined.

All of this is giving this legalistic framework the benefit of the doubt. Paul had very harsh words for those trying to justify themselves by following the law. Maybe there are many contexts to law, but how does canon law relate to deuterocanonical laws, and whatever law it is that Paul refers to as “the law of sin and death” from which we were supposedly freed?

Alan


#10

[quote=AlanFromWichita]Dear Apologia100,

How, exactly, does “canon law” fit into those three legs?

Can you also explain the relationship between what is in the Catechism and those canon laws?

The problem I have is that most ordinary Catholics with active lives cannot possibly know the laws. One young associate pastor we had went away to school specifically to study canon law. The problem with the Church holding us bound to a huge set of laws, under the penalty of sin, is the same with secular and political rules and laws. It is literally impossible to follow all the laws at the same time, so even a citizen who attempts to do everything right is subject to arbitrary and selective enforcement. In the case of the Church, if our own conscience is supposed to do the enforcing, then without an expert knowledge at all the laws, one really cannot know at any given time whether one is sinning so we are no better off here than with secular laws.

It seems to me that Christ tried to make it simple for us by giving us the two most important commandments that sum up the entire law. If one honestly follows these laws to the extent one is capable of, given their current knowledge of all the rules, I would have to say that if they sinned against any law they are not aware of, they would certainly fall under the grace of Jesus’ “for they know not what they do.” To the extent that a person’s intellect and vocation allow study of the canon laws, that person’s behavior could become more refined.

All of this is giving this legalistic framework the benefit of the doubt. Paul had very harsh words for those trying to justify themselves by following the law. Maybe there are many contexts to law, but how does canon law relate to deuterocanonical laws, and whatever law it is that Paul refers to as “the law of sin and death” from which we were supposedly freed?

Alan
[/quote]

Sure Alan, thanks for the question. The Code of Canon Law falls under the Magisterium and its responsibility for safeguarding the Gospel from the corruption that results from private interpretation. The CCL is not a promulgation or refacing of the Old Covenant Law, but rather a explanation and definition of the “Two Great Commandments”. If people were to just follow the two great commandments with true charity, we probably wouldn’t need the CCL. In addition, the CCL explain many of the customs and disciplines as they apply to us as Catholics. While they appear cumbersome and inhibitive of simpleness of true Christian faith, they are obviously necessary or they wouldn’t exist.


#11

I reside in the state of Texas, in a certain county and city, and I am sure all of these entities have law books several feet thick with things I am bound to obey. I do not find it necessary to have them on hand for reference, or to memorize them. I content myself with familiarizing myself with the laws that apply to me directly. I get a little booklet with laws for drivers, voter registration, registering my kids for school etc. The law that applies to me when I cross the border is posted at the gate if I need it. I don’t concern myself with Texas law governing mineral and water rights, rules for legislators, rules for police officers, border patrol regulations etc. We have elected and appointed officials for that. If I have a need for specialized legal advice such as buying a home, writing a will, fighting a lawsuit, I consult a lawyer, who has studied these laws, and pay for his expertise.

The Canon law deals with governance of the Church. It is not necessary for the average Catholic to know laws on who may become a priest, until such time as they apply for seminary, when they will be explained. If I need direction on laws concerning marriage, what I need to know will be given in marriage preparation class, or explained if I go through annullment procedure. Laws on sacraments will be explained when I go to parent classes or RCIA class. It is on a need to know basis, and nobody but a canon lawyer needs to know all of it.

What business does the average Catholic have trying to quarterback the bishop from the sidelines? We have not been ordained or appointed with that responsibility and it is a grave abuse for laity to try to grab onto what belongs to the ordained, or to fight the authority of the bishop. Granted, bishops and priests sometimes mess up, but the Church has procedures to deal with it, even though it sometimes happen slowly and without perceptible (to us) effect. But the solution is not for the laity to become vigilantes, any more than here in Texas I can mount a private war if I am not happy with what the police are doing about a situation.


#12

I’m assuming that the majority of us are American citizens? Do we know all the laws of governments, from federal to state to local?

No.

But when we have a problem, we look them up.


#13

I’ll mention a couple of factors to consider. First, two principles govern the interpretation of canon law. The first is epikeia (equity). Canon law is supposed to be interpreted liberally, in a human way, not as a set of absolute guidelines. Penalties, for example, are never mandatory. The second principle is that “The supreme law is the salvation of souls.” Canon law is intended to be for the spiritual benefit and well-being of the human soul, not a set of hoops through which Catholics jump.

Second, regarding the nature of canon law itself, an extremely large portion of canon law is dedicated to church administration, including standards for liceity and validity of Sacraments, and much of the remainder simply codifies the infallible decrees of the Magisterium to which Catholics are already bound as a matter of faith. Other portions are protective: they enumerate the rights of the laity and the priests (e.g., the right of a pastor not to be transferred to another parish without good reason), and others permit appeal to the Roman See in order to protect these rights. In terms of the additional disciplinary burden placed on lay Catholics, it is pretty slight (things like the Eucharistic fast, abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent, etc.). Priests and religious have to abide by many more restrictions, as one might expect.


#14

Dr. Edward Peters, a doctor of canon law, has an excellent website devoted to explaining canon law. Two of its many contents are:

A paragraph by paragraph explanation of Sacrae disciplinae leges, Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Constittution that promulgated the current 1983 Code of Canon Law.

A Catechist’s Introduction to Canon Law.

Here is the main paragraph from the home page:

Canon Law, the oldest continuously functioning legal system in the western world, is the legal system of the Catholic Church. It affects virtually every aspect of the faith life of some one billion Catholic Christians throughout the world. Canon law, as Pope John Paul II explained when he signed the 1983 Code into law, “is in no way intended as a substitute for faith, grace, charisms, and especially charity in the life of the Church and of the faithful. On the contrary, its purpose is rather to create such an order in the ecclesial society that, while assigning the primacy love, grace, and charisms, it at the same time renders their organic development easier in the life of both the ecclesial society and the individual persons who belong to it.” ap. con. Sacrae disciplinae leges, para.16.


#15

Peace be with you!

[quote=Apologia100]As long as you consider his Word to be Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium of the Church.
[/quote]

The problem with formalists is that they don’t know exactly what they are talking about. They just accept words because they are said by the leaders…

My friend, do you know what is Tradition?
Do you know that there is an eastern tradition that differs in many points from the western?
Do you know that the teachings of the Church Fathers are part of tradition, and that some of them taught heresies ( like Tertullian and Origen )?
Which tradition is THE Tradition?

My friend, Tradition is judged by the rule of Scripture! If anyone ( including what you call “Tradition” ) says anything opposite to the Scripture, then it is wrong!

Even the APOSTLE Paul says:
“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!
As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” ( Galatians 1:8-9 )

So the Word of God is the Rule.

In Love,
Yaqubos†


#16

[quote=puzzleannie] The Canon law deals with governance of the Church. . . . and nobody but a canon lawyer needs to know all of it.

What business does the average Catholic have trying to quarterback the bishop from the sidelines?
[/quote]

Well said. I work in a field where I must follow “laws” and implement them. As a non-lawyer, I have learned through much experience that I do not think like a lawyer. What looks obvious to me in the law turns out to be exactly the opposite of what I thought. Let’s leave it to the lawyers and take care of our own household!


#17

My friend, do you know what is Tradition?

We know, but I think you may be a bit confused. Only tradition that originated in apostolic times is considered capital-T Tradition. We are aware of the different concepts of Tradition in East and West, and we are aware that there was dissent among the Church Fathers on several issues (although surprisingly little of that). That doesn’t really refute the Catholic understanding of Tradition.

Even the APOSTLE Paul says:
“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!
As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” ( Galatians 1:8-9 )

So the Word of God is the Rule.

What part of that mentioned that the Gospel that Paul taught was entirely and solely contained in Scripture? We certainly do believe that we are not preaching anything contrary to the Gospel that Paul preached to the Galatians.


#18

Peace be with you! Thanks, and also with you.

The problem with formalists is that they don’t know exactly what they are talking about. They just accept words because they are said by the leaders… The problem with liberals is that they think they know what they are talking about, instead of listening to established authority, them make themselves the authority.l

My friend, do you know what is Tradition? Yes, its the passing down of teaching from one generation to another by oral comunication.

Do you know that there is an eastern tradition that differs in many points from the western? I am sure there are, but since Jesus gave the keys to Peter, any Tradition held by someone in schism to Papal authority should be consider spurious.

Do you know that the teachings of the Church Fathers are part of tradition, and that some of them taught heresies ( like Tertullian and Origen )? Because Tertullian and Origen embraced heretical positions towards the end of their lives, they are not considered Church Fathers, but early Christian writers. And just because part of their life was spend in heresy doesn’t contaminate those writings that were created during the orthodox part of their lives.

Which tradition is THE Tradition? That which is supported by the Ordinary Magisterium and the Pope.

My friend, Tradition is judged by the rule of Scripture! If anyone ( including what you call “Tradition” ) says anything opposite to the Scripture, then it is wrong! Since Apostolic Tradition and Sacred Scripture are two halves of the same deposit of faith, Tradition can never conflict with Scripture, because they are both draw from the same divine wellspring.

Even the APOSTLE Paul says:
“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” ( Galatians 1:8-9 ) I agree!

So the Word of God is the Rule. Right, and the Word includes the written Word (Scripture), the spoken Word (Tradition), and the guardian of the Word (Magisterium). Don’t forget the Proclaimer of the Word (Church).

In Love,
Yaqubos†

Likewise :slight_smile: Scott


#19

Who makes the call when scripture contradicts scripture???


#20

As a Byzantine Catholic I follow and know much about Eastern Tradition.

I think that Yaqubos is mistaken. While Eastern Traditions may express things in a different manner, it teaches the same as Western Tradition.

Now when we get down to dicipline, it may be different but that is ok.


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