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Top Vatican officials join in conference on canon law January 22, 2008

Canon-law experts from around the world have gathered in Rome this week for a high-level conference marking the 25th anniversary of the new Code of Canon Law.

At a press conference on January 22, reporters were briefed on the subjects to be covered during the conference, by Archbishop Francesco Coccopalmiero, the president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts-- the Vatican body charged with the interpretation of canon law.

The new Code, which was officially promulgated by Pope John Paul II on January 25, 1983, "indicates the duties and rights inherent to the faithful and to the structure of the Church as instituted on Christ," the archbishop Said. However, he noted, the Code, "like all human works," can always be improved, and this week's conference is designed "to identify certain points in need of a little restoration."

The conference will hear an impressive line-up of speakers, beginning with Cardinal Julian Herranz, who stepped down last February after more than 12 years as president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. Cardinal Herranz, one Vatican official observed, is "the historical memory on this subject, having followed the entire process personally since Vatican Council II."

Also speaking at the conference will be Cardinal Ivan Dias, the prefect of the Congregation for Evangelization; Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education; Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum; Cardinal Franc Rode, prefect of the Congregation for Religious; Cardinal Peter Erdo of Budapest, the president of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences; and the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

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