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Frequently Asked Questions
regarding
THE PURPOSE OF
THE CATHOLIC CODE OF CANON LAW.

Q. 1. What is the purpose of the Code of Canon Law in the Catholic Church?

A. 1. The Code of Canon Law in the Catholic Church, while it lacks the necessary binding force that is found in the modern day legal systems, is a fully developed legal system, with all the necessary elements: courts, lawyers, judges, a fully articulated legal code and principles of legal interpretation.

In the thirteenth century, the Roman Catholic Church began to collect and organize a thousand years of its canon laws, such consisting of an accumulation of ecumenical and local councils that were supplemented with decretals of the popes. By then, the accumulation had become a very complex and difficult system of interpretations and cross-references.

At the request of the bishops at the First Vatican Council, Pope Pius X ordered that work begin on reducing these diverse documents into a single code. The code was promulgated on 27 May 1917 as the Code of Canon Law, it coming into force on May 19, 1918.

Pope John Paul II promulgated a revised edition on November 27, 1983. It is kwown as the "1983 Code of Canon Law."



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