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65 Jurist 181 (2005)
That All May Be One... (John 17:21) - The Lord's Prayer in the Work of Canon Lawyers: A Mere Option

handle is hein.journals/juristcu65 and id is 185 raw text is: THE JURIST 65 (2005) 181-204

That all may be one.. . (John 17:21).The Lord's Prayer in
the Work of Canon Lawyers: A Mere Option?
1. A 'Commitment to Ecumenism'
.... that what constitutes the substantial newness of the Second Vat-
ican Council, in line with the legislative tradition of the Church, espe-
cially in regard to ecclesiology, constitutes likewise the newness of the
new Code. Among the elements which characterize the true and genuine
image of the Church we should emphasize especially the following: [ ...]
the Church's commitment to ecumenism. If therefore, the Second Vati-
can Council has drawn both new and old from the treasury of tradition,
and the new consists precisely in the elements which I have enumerated,
then it is clear that the Code should also reflect the same note of fidelity
in newness and of newness in fidelity, and conform itself to this in its own
subject matter and in its own particular manner of expression.1
These phrases from the apostolic constitution Sacrae disciplinae leges
through which Pope John Paul II promulgated the Code of Canon Law
for the Latin Church provide legislators, interpreters, and appliers of the
law with a hermeneutical guideline for their work. The pope mentioned
this guideline after he had pointed out the necessary close connection be-
tween Vatican II and the Code of Canon Law: Indeed, in a certain sense
this new Code could be understood as a great effort to translate this same
conciliar doctrine and ecclesiology into canonical language. If, however,
it is impossible to translate perfectly into canonical language the concil-
iar image of the Church, nevertheless the Code must always be referred
to this image as the primary pattern whose outline the Code ought to ex-
press insofar as it can by its very nature.2
* Professor of Canon Law, Theological Faculty Tilburg, Tilburg University, The
Netherlands. This article was commissioned as part of the ongoingfestschrift dedicated to
the memory of the late Dr. James H. Provost.
1 John Paul II, apostolic constitution Sacrae disciplinae leges, AAS 75 (1983) xii.
English translation from Code of Canon Law, Latin-English Edition, New English Trans-
lation (Washington, DC: Canon Law Society of America, 1998) xxx-xxxi. Emphasis in
2 John Paul II, Sacrae disciplinae leges, AAS 75 (1983) xii. English translation: Code
of Canon Law, xxx. Emphasis in original.

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