Part II The Code of 1983

          The 1983 Code changed the Code of 1917 completely.  This Code was promulgated by Pope John Paul II in November, 1983.  This is the Code more than one billion Latin Catholics live by today.  Since these two are the only codifications of Canon Law, they are referred to as The Old Code and The New Code. (Note:  There is a separate Code on Canon Law for the Eastern Churches who are not bound by the 1983 Code of the Latin Church.)

          When Civil Lawyers were first allowed to advertise,  TV commercial after TV commercial consisted of a lawyer standing in front of a book case jammed with volumes of the laws of that state, usually taking several bookcases to hold all of the code and decisions involving it.  But Canon Law only has one volume.  It is made up of seven “books” but these are all self-contained in the one volume.  They are:  General Norms, People of God, the Teaching Office, the Sanctifying Office, Temporal Goods, Sanctions and Procedures.  There are a total of 1,752 canons in these “books”.  The best internet source of the Code is that of Fr. Paul Hayward, editor of the Canon Law Abstracts for the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland at:     \

          There are several translations of the Code along with Commentary, published throughout the world.  The best English version for lay people to work with is “Code of Canon Law Annotated” 3rd Edition, edited by Archbishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta.  Canonists have referred to  all three editions lovingly as the Red Code.  This 3rd Edition was published by Wilson & La Fleur of Montreal, Canada in May, 2020.   It is available for purchase from Midwest Theological of Chicago, IL.

If you are going to invest in one book of the Code this is the one to buy. It is the newest Commentary and includes comment on the most recent law on marriage (annulment). Coming next is a fuller explanation of Commentaries to the Code of Canon Law and since this is the latest and the greatest Commentary, it is going to get its own post explaining why.

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