Today would have been the closing of the conference of the international Congress of canon lawyers. It happens every three years and this year was set for Paris! Instead of waiting three years for the next scheduled meeting, this one in Paris has been delayed a year. I am a member and looking forward to it. Not only is it an excellent conference, but Paris! Can’t wait.

Where to find Canon Law in English Brand New!

A few hard copy translations of the Code can be found on the internet.   Of those, the translation by the Canon Law Society is approved by the Holy See.  It is a very good source of the Code in print form.  It can be bought on most book sites or at the site of the  These translations are only that, the actual Code and nothing more.  There are no comments or other information.  If you want that, there are three main Commentaries on the Code of Canon Law that were originally written in English.  They were also all first produced by Canon Law Societies throughout the English-speaking world. 

GET This One

The Code of Canon Law Annotated, Third Edition

This Commentary, known as the “Red Book” among Canonists has consistently been an excellent commentary and now, it is the most up to date.   (It covers Dignitas Connubii and Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus).   This Annotation is known for being complete and succinct.  It has both the Latin and English Canons spelled out, and right after, an explanation or comment on the canon itself.  This is really the most to the point Commentary, and civil lawyers would probably be very comfortable using it because it reads just like one of the great civil law commentaries we delved into in law school.   This new 3rd Edition of the Code of Canon Law Annotated has been updated to contain all the references to all the norms given by the Holy See until May 2020.  This publication is a tremendous feat in the field of Canon Law. 

The canonists who originally produced this were considered the top experts in canon law in their day.   The Code of Canon Law Annotated, 3rd Edition, has been edited by Most Rev. Juan Ignacio Arrieta, the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts and former Dean of the Canonical Law Faculties of the Holy Cross in Rome and in Venice.  Archbishop Arrieta is arguably one of the premier canon lawyers in the world.  That alone makes this the Commentary to buy.   I like the shape of this hard cover book, just like a little, chubby missal.  This is the one, the Commentary, I use every time now.  Of all of the English Commentaries, it is considered to be the most pastoral. 

It can only be purchased at:

CCLS Conference Another Casualty

The Canadian Canon Law Society has postponed its October Conference from 2020 to 2021.  It will be held October 18 through October 21, 2021 in Calgary.  This is a lovely conference. Always has great, relevant topics on their program and put a lot of planning into it. The members who attend have some good, over-a-drink, canonical discussions. There is no hectic schedule of seminars and events. The attendees all go to the same, single seminars and events. It makes for a very laid back learning and networking experience. For more info:

Clericalism and Preaching

Last week I dealt with an Instruction on Parishes.  (At another time I will talk about how that belittles lay people with faint praise.) An Instruction is a document from the Holy See that talks about how to implement law.  There are canons in the Code and Instructions that deal with preaching.  Who can do it?  What is the purpose?  Answers, clerics (men only) and to use the scripture to instruct in the faith.  Whenever I talk with a cleric/canon lawyer about this, they say things like “Well lay people are forbidden to preach at Mass!”  That is harsh and negative.  It also begs the fact that there is room, albeit limited, for exceptions.  I would think that priests would be glad for the help of someone preparing a homily instead of them.

Recently I said something on a canon law listserv to the point of how much better homilies would be if women were giving them too.  One of the priests/canonists answered back that my post was not appreciated because in his judgment, it was not canonical enough and that the style of my post was more Facebook than academic.  He continued that he refuses to be a Facebook subscriber because of the trite nature of most of the posts.  I tend to think that nobody wanted to be his friend.  Note that this whiner is just another member with access to the listserv, he is not the Moderator.  So initially I ask myself, who made him the canon law police? 

Next, I believe that if I were a man, more exactly, a cleric, this whiny cleric would not have minded my comments half so much.  And third, if I were a man/cleric he would never had had the nerve to attack me.  Welcome to the world of clericalism at its worst.  And I see a great deal of that in canon law. 

I got thirty-eight private emails praising me for what I said on the listserv, all supportive and even encouraging me to tell him off because they never liked him anyway.   These same people said they did not want to say it publicly on the listserv because of people like the critical cleric.  If this were the civil law world, there would have been a real and public argument starting with First Amendment rights to say anything  I  want short of “Fire” in a crowded building. (If you do not like what is on the TV, don’t watch or grab the remote). That would have been fun on this listserv but honestly, the critical cleric is no competition.   I have to admit though, I truly appreciated the thirty-eight emails of support.  And I will continue to say what I want, where I want, and not be intimidated by a collar, even one with a canon law degree behind it. So not impressed.

I stick with my initial premise.  If women could preach at Mass, the homilies would be better, maybe even great.