Thursday, March 25, 2021
This chapter examines John Paul II’s contribution to law as a statesman, world leader, and universal pastor of the Roman Catholic Church. John Paul II’s approach to the law was shaped by the stark realities of having suffered firsthand the injustice of two totalitarian regimes and the cruelties of the Second World War. An ardent defender of human rights, especially the rights to life and religious liberty, John Paul II saw in human dignity and human solidarity the two great levers for advancing the development of legal systems. Lastly, this chapter explores John Paul II’s invaluable role in updating and reforming the canon law of the Catholic Church. He had a singular role in promulgating the Code of Canon Law of 1983, the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches of 1990, and the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus of 1988 on reforming the Roman Curia. For these and other relevant legal contributions, John Paul II well deserves the title of jurist.