Dr. Ed Morgan

Barrister

Canon  Lawyer

"As a matter of fact, the Code of Canon Law is extremely necessary for the Church. Since the Church is organised as a social and visible structure, it must also have norms; in order that its hierarchical and organic structure be visible; in order that the exercise of the functions divinely entrusted to it, especially that of sacred power and of the administration of the sacraments, may be adequately organised; in order that the mutual relations of the faithful may be regulated according to justice based on charity, with the rights of individuals guaranteed and well defined..." (St John Paul II Sacrae Disciplinae Leges)

That the Church should bear witness to the demands of justice ought to be incapable of controversy. Despite this, the sentiments expressed by St John Paul II and the values which find articulation in the Code of Canon Law 1983, do not enjoy a correspondence with the lived experience of those within the Church. Increasingly, the legitimate demands of Canon Law are relegated and even discounted as an irrelevance. Initially, this disparity between declared legal norm and lived experience was accounted for on grounds of ignorance and inexperience. Over the passage of time, the trend could be attributed to the more serious symptoms of antinomianism; by which certain of those exercising authority within the Church adopt a more selective approach to the Code of Canon Law, and the part is must necessarily play in the authentic witness which the Church is called to provide.     Any disparity between the declared values of The Church and how she is seen to conduct herself raises more than legal anxieties; and must inevitably generate profound theological  questions regarding the nature of the Church and its self-understanding.  

 

The first law of the Church must be and remain the salvation of souls: salus animarum, quae in Ecclesia  suprema lex esse debet (c1752 CIC).  

 

This website is therefore intended to serve as a resource for those who  (no matter how reluctantly) are required to engage with certain aspects of the Code of Canon Law in order to better serve the Church in a spirit of true obedience.