Asked Questions About the Society of Saint Pius X
8: Shouldn't we accept the 1983
Code of Canon Law?
A code is a collection of laws, each
one being an order of the competent authority: each canon in the
1917 Code of Canon Law was a law of Benedict XV, and each
canon in the 1983 Code of Canon Law (commonly called the
"New Code") is a law of Pope John Paul II.
Pope John Paul II, the purpose of the 1983 Code of Canon Law
is the expression of the Second Vatican Council's new ecclesiology
(i.e., the new understanding that the Church has of her nature and
mission) in canonical language, and it must be understood always
in the light of conciliar teaching.1
that particular Council adulterated Catholic teaching.
must, therefore, suspect the new legislation of codifying the same
errors and so be ready not to accept all its "laws,"2
but only those which do not evidently compromise Catholic teaching
on faith or morals.
the most part, we may regret the loss of clarity, precision and
integrity the 1917 Code of Canon Law had, but that is insufficient
reason to reject these canons.
ARE A FEW NOVELTIES, THROUGH, WHICH MUST BE REJECTED:
- canon 844,
§4 allows the administration of penance, anointing of the sick,
and even holy communion to non-Catholics who manifest "Catholic
faith" (vs. Principle
7) in these sacraments.
used to be considered a mortal sin and was gravely
forbidden (1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 731, §21) because
it implicitly denies the dogma, "Outside the Church, no salvation"
is an inadmissible surrender to modernist ecumenism.
- canon 1055,
§1 no longer defines marriage by its primary end, the procreation
of children, but mentions this only after a secondary end, the
good of the spouses. And this latter, as we can see in the light
of annulments now given, has become the essence of marriage3:
the partners give each other their whole selves (and not just
"the exclusive and perpetual right over the body of the partner
as regards the acts capable in themselves of generating offspring,"
1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 1081, §2) for their self-fulfillment
in wedlock (canon 1057, §2). There is considered to be no marriage
where one spouse cannot provide the other this help (canon 1095,
2 and 3°, canon 1098, etc., cf. canon 1063, 4°). Whence
today's annulments' fiasco: in the United States, for example,
there were 338 annulments granted in 1968; there were 59,030 in
grave doubts are to be held concerning the annulments issued by
Novus Ordo Tribunals.
- Canon 336
codifies the collegiality of Vatican II. The "college of
Bishops," a 20th century invention, is now made a permanent
subject, together with the Pope, of supreme and full power over
the Universal Church. A bishop, moreover, participates in this
universal jurisdiction by the mere fact of his consecration (cf.
canon 375, §2).4
collegiality tampers with the divine constitution of the Church,
derogates from the Popes powers, and hampers his government of the
Church (and that of the Bishops in their dioceses). "Episcopal
Conferences" now assume authority, which thus becomes impersonal
are but the most grave deficiencies; other defective points include
- mixed marriages
(canons 1125, 1127),
in censures (excommunication of freemasons, etc.),
- the teaching
of St. Thomas Aquinas is no longer strictly enjoined in seminaries
(canons 25Iff), and
- general absolutions
are more readily available (canons 961-963, etc.).
passing, it is interesting to note that for Pope John Paul II the
1983 Code of Canon Law has less weight than a conciliar constitution.
Sacrae Disciplinae Leges, Jan. 25, 1983.
cf. Principle 9.
vs. Principles 5 and 6.
This becomes all the more disconcerting when one considers the recognition
now given by the Vatican to the Orthodox Bishops. Cf., Pope Paul
VI: "It is on the heads of the Churches, of their hierarchy,
that the obligation rests to guide the Churches along the way that
leads to full communion again. They ought to do this by recognizing
and respecting each other as pastors of that part of the flock of
Christ entrusted to them..." (Quoted at Balamand, by the Joint
International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the
Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, Final Statement §18
cf., §14; Ut Unum Sint, §§50-63).
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