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Catholic Culture Resources

Catholic Dictionary

Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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CODE OF CANON LAW

The collection of 2414 laws (canons) of the Catholic Church, promulgated by Pope Benedict XV to take effect on May 19, 1918. The Codex luris Canonici contains five "books" of unequal length, dealing in sequence, with General Norms; Persons (clerics, religious, and laity); Things (sacraments, sacred places and times, divine worship, teaching authority of the Church, ecclesiastical institutions, and temporal goods); Procedures (trials, beatification and canonization, and certain policies); Crimes and Penalties. The code of 1918 was the first fully authentic compilation of the Church's laws ever published. Along with the code was established a special commission for authoritatively interpreting canon law, and other provisions were made to ensure sound implementation of existing laws and the drafting of new ones. With the beginning of the Second Vatican Council, Pope John XXIII in 1963 established a Pontifical Commission for the Revision of the Code of Canon Law.