Canon Law – Can it change?

8 February, 2009

Here is a copy of a Canon Law essay that was recently submitted and received a distinction. It takes what may be described as a position of supporting an unchanging continuation of the Canons. This position is very hard to maintain due to the evidence. The relationship between the rhetoric of the Canons and the practical dealing with the Canons is difficult to reconcile. The essay is an attempt to substantiate the rhetoric more closely in trying to explain the practice in a manner that equates with the rhetoric of unchanging Canons. However, the marker found some of the arguments rather forced and unconvincing and even perhaps seemingly contradictory. Nevertheless, he commented that the essay does bring to the fore that the works of many modern writers on the subject have looked at the practice of change and from this have either dismissed or interpreted that rhetoric to make it of little effect and that this approach is not consistent with the tradition.

So, the essay is here, with its weaknesses, to provide some thoughts on the issues from a position seeking to remain faithful to the rhetoric by harmonising this with the historical practice. It is also a warning to those who hope or believe that another Ecumenical Council can make wide sweeping changes to the Church’s Canon Law or to its traditions.

I look forward to any comments or feedback to help develop understanding of these issues, which still require much theoretical work to come to a satisfactory answer.

Canon Law