Vatican Legal: Church teaching doesn't change, but church laws can

From the USCCB’s press service, the CNS:

Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta has a special briefcase he uses exclusively to carry documentation for a project that would completely revise an entire section of the Catholic Church’s basic law.


The current code was drafted in the 1970s, Bishop Arrieta said, “a period that was a bit naive” in regard to the need for a detailed description of offenses, procedures for investigating them and penalties to impose on the guilty. It reflected a feeling that “we are all good,” he said, and that “penalties should be applied rarely.”

“The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, when Pope Benedict was prefect, was obliged to act as a consequence of the fact that the (church’s) penal law was not working,” he said.

The naivete of the law became clear with the sexual abuse crisis, Bishop Arrieta said. In addition, the sanctions section of the 1983 code was written with such an emphasis on the role of the individual bishop in his local diocese that each bishop bore the full weight of deciding when and how to intervene and what sort of sanction or punishment to impose on the guilty.
I hope that they make more explicit rules that impact Catholics in public life (re-enforcement of Canon 915)

The Vatican official who is helping oversee the revision of the chapter of the Code of Canon Law that deals with canonical penalties said in an interview that the current code was drafted …


The proposed draft incorporates the Vatican’s 2010 updated definition of “delicta graviora” – Latin for “graver offenses,” including clerical sexual abuse of minors, the “attempted ordination of women” and acts committed by priests against the sanctity of the Eucharist and against the sacrament of penance.

Perhaps we will see a change to Canon 915. Perhaps we’ll see a clarification that bishops must follow this particular law considering the consequences of not doing so: scandal and sacrilege.

I really dont know much about canon law but this sounds like a good step in the right direction.

OOps sorry Mark…I didn’t see your post here.

And I wholeheartedly agree!

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