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55 Jurist 141 (1995)
The Teaching of Canon Law

handle is hein.journals/juristcu55 and id is 149 raw text is: THE JUIUST 55 (1995) 141-186

The Second Vatican Council desired the renewal of the whole
Church. An essential instrument in this is the renewed Code of Canon
Law. Seminarians must be sufficiently educated in both the spirit and
content of this code if they are to carry out their future ministry ac-
cording to the mind of the Church.
The mind of the Church for the teaching of the code is well docu-
mented. Since the completion of the Second Vatican Council, the for-
mation of priests has undergone many changes so that priests can be
better prepared for their future ministry. The renewed teaching of
canon law must be situated within the renewal of theological formation
initiated by the council.
This article confines itself to the teaching of canon law in major
seminaries of the Latin Church, with special reference to seminaries in
the United States of America. It deals with the role of canon law in the
pastoral formation of future priests as found in church documents from
the 1917 Code of Canon Law to the 1992 edition of the Program of
Priestly Formation of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. It
examines the importance of canon law in the theological curriculum of
the seminary; the content of the minimum requirement in the canon law
curriculum; the teacher of canon law; and, finally, how canon law
should be taught.
A. From the 1917 Code to the Second Vatican Council
1. 1917 Code of Canon Law
The 1917 Code of Canon Law prescribed a two-year course of phi-
losophy and a four-year course of theology in the major seminary.
* J.C.L. (The Catholic University of America, 1994). Professor of Canon Law,
Kimmage Mission Institute, Kimmage Manor, Dublin, Ireland.

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