May 18, 2013
"Church law follows the theological reality of things."
A blog dedicated to "Catholic legal theory" should be interested in the fact of -- and the theory behind -- the ongoing revision of the law of the Catholic Church. Several times I've heard a U.S. Cardinal complain tht the current Code (1983) "doesn't allow bishops to govern the Church effectively. It makes it too difficult to apply appropriate penalties." The following quote from the linked story hits the nail on the head:
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."
It will be more than a little interesting to see how this revision, begun under Pope Benedict, concludes under the governance of Pope Francis. Like his immediate predecessor, Pope Francis is profoundly aware that "we are [NOT] all good," as so many of his daily homilies make abundantly clear. The 1970s weren't a propitious time for revising the Code of Canon Law, nor for much else in the life of the Church.