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The Role of Law in the Church According to the Summa Aurea of Cardinal Hostiensis

di Clarence Gallagher

Analecta Gregoriana 208

1978, pp. 244

In the present climate of criticism of law within the Church and the widespread distaste for anything that savours of a juridical approaches to religion, a canonist cannot but ask himself what his place in the Christian community should be

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The Role of Law in the Church According to the Summa Aurea of Cardinal Hostiensis

di Clarence Gallagher

Analecta Gregoriana 208

1978, pp. 244

In the present climate of criticism of law within the Church and the widespread distaste for anything that savours of a juridical approaches to religion, a canonist cannot but ask himself what his place in the Christian community should be. Has he a useful role to play in the modern Church? To be able to answer this question implies, of course, that a satisfactory answer can be given to the more fundamental question about the role that law itself should play in the life of the Church? This question has particular importance today because unless it is clear what the law id trying to accomplish, really meaningful reform of the law will be difficult it not impossible. Canon law tends to be despised and rejected by many today. Those who reject it are often deeply convinced Christians who see law as leading inevitably towards a sort of pelagianism and the self-satisfaction  of that morality of law which was condemned so vehemently by St. Paul. The very term “juridical” has become in some quarters a synonym for all that is narrow, rigid, reactionary and closed to growth and development of any kind. Many catholics look upon canon law not as a guide, but as a straitjacket and they dismiss it as, at best, irrelevant to the modern Church.

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