Catholic Dictionary

Term

CANON LAW

Definition

The authentic compilation of the laws of the Catholic Church. Two major compilations have been made in the Church's history, Gratian's Decree, assembled about A.D. 1140 by the Italian Camaldolese monk Gratian, and the Code of Canon Law, promulgated by Pope Benedict XV in 1917, and effective on Pentecost, May 19, 1918. Since the Second Vatican Council, a new compilation has been undertaken of existing Church laws.