The Church has, at various times in its history, been described as a communitas perfecta, a perfect and supreme society that has as its goal the promotion of salvation of humanity. Like any organization, the Church is governed by rules that enable it to achieve its end, and this is the most basic function of canon law. When John Paul II promulgated the revised Codex iuris canonici in 1983 by means of the Apostolic Constitution Sacrae disciplinae legis, recognizing that in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council the place of law in the Church was again being questioned by many, he offers four clear definitions for the role and function of canon law. First, canon law makes the hierarchical and organic structure of the Church visible. Second, canon law ensures the proper exercise of the sanctifying function of the Church. Third, canon law provides rights, obligations, and methods of resolving conflicts in the Church. Fourth, canon law attempts to provide the structures that sustain and direct the Church’s common initiatives.
- Catholic Church
- canon law