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50 Jurist 102 (1990)
Papal and Curial Pronouncements: Their Canonical Significance in Light of the 1983 Code of Canon Law

handle is hein.journals/juristcu50 and id is 108 raw text is: ThE JURIsT 50 (1990) 102-125

Nearly twenty years ago, in the period immediately following the
Second Vatican Council, I published a short study on The Canonical
Significance of Papal and Curial Pronouncements.' At that time this
work evoked special interest because the Church was in the midst of
introducing what eventually came to be called the changes and there
was some confusion regarding the status of the 1917 code and the
significance of certain interim pronouncements, particularly when they
were selectively chosen by certain groups in the Church to champion a
given cause or position.
Since that time, though, the new Code of Canon Law has been
promulgated and a number of the questions resolved. Nevertheless,
new ones have now arisen and there still remain certain ambiguities in
the minds of the faithful regarding the author and significance ofRoman
and other church pronouncements.2 The purpose of the present study,
then, is to examine some of the more important recent papal and curial
pronouncements in the light of the prescriptions of the code and to try
and determine whether or not they do have juridical significance.
It must be remembered that not every pronouncement of the Church
has direct juridical implications, nor should the life of the community
be reduced to legal categories. With due apologies to Shakespeare, we
* J.C.D. (St. Paul University, 1972). Professor of Canon Law, Saint Paul University,
Ottawa; Consultor, Pontifical Council on the Interpretation of Legal Texts.
I Francis G. Morrisey, The Canonical Significance of Papal and Curial Pronounce-
ments (Hartford, CT: CLSA, 1974).
2 For example, the July 9, 1990, issue of Time, p. 55, speaks of a decree from the
Pope when it is would be more correct to refer to an instruction from the Congre-
gation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The document in question is the instruction, The
Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian, May 24, 1990: Origins 20/8 (July 5, 1990) 117,

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