As domradio.de reports, Pope Francis has stated that canon law must be adapted to fit the image of the church that has developed through the Second Vatican. The occasion was a message to a conference on the hundredth anniversary of church’s first universal code of canon law which appeared in 1917.
Pope Francis states that canon law can be a “preferred means” for promoting the teaching of the Second Vatican Council – for example, in the realms of ecumenism, mercy and charity, religious freedom, synodality, “open and positive” treatment of laity, and a “healthy collaboration between the church community and civil society.”
Canon law can serve an educational function and help Christians find their way to a culture “that corresponds to the teachings of the Council,” he wrote.
Quoting his predecessor Benedict XVI, Francis wrote that there has been a transition since Vatican II from an ecclesiology formed by church law to church law adapted to ecclesiology. It is “necessary that canon law always corresponds to the conciliar ecclesiology.”
Francis said that canon law ideally is “an effective means for implementation of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council in the daily life of the People of God.” This means that changes can come about with the passage of time.
The pope’s letter was addressed to the participants in an international conference on the topic of canon law and legal culture. The four-day event at the Lateran University ended today.