Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $39,295 to go. Please donate!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Vatican official: current Code of Canon Law drafted during ‘naïve’ time

Catholic World News - May 20, 2013

The Vatican official who is helping oversee the revision of the chapter of the Code of Canon Law that deals with canonical penalties said in an interview that the current code was drafted during “a period that was a bit naïve.”

The 1983 Code of Canon Law was drafted during the 1970s, a time when canonists believed “we are all good” and that “penalties should be applied rarely,” said Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta, a Spaniard and priest of Opus Dei who serves as secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

Because “penal law was not working” in addressing sexual abuse cases, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the leadership of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was obliged to act administratively, Bishop Arrieta added.

In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI, out of concern for the “integrity and consistent application of discipline in the Church,” gave the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts the mandate to revise the chapter, Bishop Arrieta said in 2010. Episcopal conferences have reviewed a first draft of proposed changes.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($126,788 to go):
$150,000.00 $23,211.70
85% 15%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 5 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: John J Plick - May. 20, 2013 9:44 PM ET USA

    "The bishops failed, not the Code." Now how long must we wait until they realize that?

  • Posted by: polish.pinecone4371 - May. 20, 2013 6:07 PM ET USA

    Defender, canon 915 isn't in the penal section of the code. It's in Book IV, "The Sanctifying Office of the Church," not Book VI, "Sanctions in the Church." So Cardinal Wuerl doesn't need to listen to this.

  • Posted by: Savonarola - May. 20, 2013 11:57 AM ET USA

    A different view from a well-known American canonist, Father James Coriden,who wrote, with respect to the abuse-and-coverup scandal, "The context of the scandal has revealed inadequate applications of canon law. Serious canonical crimes were often treated as personnel problems, calling for repentance, therapy and reassignment, rather than the investigation and imposition of penalties which the canons prescribe." (Coriden,James, Introduction to Canon Law, p. ix) The bishops failed, not the Code.

  • Posted by: Cornelius - May. 20, 2013 11:13 AM ET USA

    Was the "period" naive, or the people doing the drafting?

  • Posted by: Defender - May. 20, 2013 9:16 AM ET USA

    Canon 915...I hope Cardinal Wuerl is listening.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Cardinal Kasper's unsubtle threat 4 hours ago
When Catholics are less Catholic than non-Catholics October 20
Cardinal Kasper's nose is growing again October 18
Challenge Grant Begins as Synod Ends October 17
What's wrong with this Synod, IV: Unprepared for marriage October 17

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6