Corpus Juris Canonici
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The Corpus juris canonici (lit. 'Body of Canon Law') is the collection of significant sources of Canon Law of the Catholic Church that was applicable to the universal Church or specifically to Churches of the Latin Rite or Eastern Rites. It was replaced by the Codex Juris Canonici ("Code of Canon Law"), which was promulgated in 1917 and went into effect in 1918. A new Codex Juris Canonici was promulgated in 1983 for the Latin rite of the Catholic Church and the first universal codification of Eastern canon law was promulgated in 1990 for the Eastern rites.
The term corpus (Latin for 'body') here denotes a collection of documents; corpus juris, a collection of laws, especially if they are placed in systematic order. It may signify also an official and complete collection of a legislation made by the legislative power, comprising all the laws which are in force in a country or society. The term, although it never received legal sanction in either Roman or canon law, being merely academic phraseology, is used in the above sense when the "Corpus juris civilis" of the Christian Roman Emperors is meant.
The expression corpus juris may also mean, not the collection of laws itself, but the legislation of a society considered as a whole. Hence Benedict XIV could rightly say that the collection of his Bulls formed part of the corpus juris (Jam fere sextus, 1746). One best explains the signification of the term corpus juris canonici by showing the successive meanings which were usually assigned to it in the past and at the present day.
Under the name of "corpus canonum" ('body of canons') were designated the collection of Dionysius Exiguus and the Collectio Anselmo dedicata (see below). The Decretum of Gratian is already called Corpus juris canonici by a glossator of the 12th century, and Innocent IV calls by this name the Decretales or Decretals of Gregory IX (Ad expediendos, 9 September 1253).
Since the second half of the 13th century, Corpus juris canonici in contradistinction to Corpus juris civilis, or Roman law, generally denoted the following collections: the "Decretals" of Gregory IX; those of Boniface VIII (Sixth Book of the Decretals); those of Clement V (Clementinæ) i. e. the collections which at that time, with the Decretum of Gratian, were taught and explained at the universities. At the present day, under the above title are commonly understood these three collections with the addition of the Decretum of Gratian, the Extravagantes (laws 'circulating outside' the standard sources) of John XXII, and the Extravagantes Communes.
Thus understood, the term dates back to the 16th century and was officially sanctioned by Gregory XIII (Cum pro munere, 1 July 1580). The earliest editions of these texts printed under the now usual title of Corpus juris canonici, date from the end of the 16th century (Frankfort, 8vo, 1586; Paris, fol., 1587).
In the strict sense of the word the Church does not possess a corpus juris clausum ('closed body of law'), i. e. a collection of laws to which new ones cannot be added. The Council of Basle (Sess. XXIII, ch. vi) and the decree of the Congregation "Super statu regularium" (25 January 1848) do not speak of a corpus clausum; the first refers to "reservationibus in corpore juris expresse clausis": reservations of ecclesiastical benefices contained in the Corpus juris, especially in the Liber sextus of Boniface VIII, to the exclusion of those held in the Extravagantes described below, and at that time not comprised in the Corpus juris canonici; the second speaks of "cuilibet privilegio, licet in corpore juris clauso et confirmato", i. e. of privileges not only granted by the Holy See but also inserted in the official collections of canon law.
The history of canon law is generally divided into three periods. The first extends to the Decretum of Gratian, i. e. to the middle of the 12th century (jus antiquum 'old [canon] law'); the second reaches to the Council of Trent (jus novum 'new law'); the third includes the latest enactments since the Council of Trent inclusively (jus novissimum 'newest law').
 Jus antiquum
The most ancient collections of canonical legislation are certain very early Apostolic documents, known as the Church Orders: for instance, the Didache ton dodeka apostolon or "Teaching of the Twelve Apostles", which dates from the end of the first or the beginning of the 2nd century; the Apostolic Church-Ordinance; the Didascalia, or "Teaching of the Apostles"; the Apostolic Canons and Apostolic Constitutions. These collections have never had any official value, no more than any other collection of this first period. However, the Apostolic Canons and, through it, the Apostolic Constitutions, were influential for a time in that later collections would draw upon these earliest sources of church law.
It was in the East, after Constantine I's Edict of Milan of toleration (313), that arose the first systematic collections. We cannot so designate the chronological collections of the canons of the councils of the 4th and 5th centuries (314-451); the oldest systematic collection, made by an unknown author in 535, has not come down. The most important collections of this epoch are the Synagoge kanonon, or the collection of John the Scholastic (Joannes Scholasticus), compiled at Antioch about 550, and the Nomocanons, or compilations of civil laws affecting religious matters (nomos) and ecclesiastical laws (kanon). One such mixed collection is dated in the 6th century and has been erroneously attributed to John the Scholastic; another of the 7th century was rewritten and much enlarged by the schismatical ecumenical patriarch Photius (883).
In the Western Church three collections of canons have exercised an influence far beyond the limits of the country in which they were composed; they are the Collectio Dionysiana, the lengthy Collectio canonum Hibernensis ('Irish Collection of Canons'), and the Decretals of Pseudo-Isidore. The Dionysiana, also called Corpus canonum, Corpus codicis canonum, was the work of Dionysius Exiguus who died between the years 540 and 555; it contains his Latin translation of the canons of the councils of the Eastern Church and a collection of (38) papal letters (Epistolæ decretales) dating from the reign of Pope Siricius (384-398) to that of Anastasius II (died 498). The authority of this Italian collection, at once quite considerable at Rome and in Italy, was greatly increased after Pope Adrian I sent to Charlemagne in 774 a modified and enlarged copy of the collection, thenceforth known as the "Collectio Dionysio-Hadriana", and the Synod of Aachen (802) accepted it as the Codex canonum ('Book of Canons') of the immense Empire of the Franks.
The lengthy Irish collection of canons, compiled in the 8th century, influenced both England, Gaul and Italy. The latter country also possessed two 5th-century Latin translations of the Greek synods (the collection erroneously called Isidoriana or Hispana, and the Collectio Prisca); also an important collection of pontifical and imperial documents (the Avellana, compiled during the pontificate of Gregory the Great, 590-604). Africa possessed a collection of 105, or more exactly 94, canons, compiled about 419; also the Breviatio canonum, or digest of the canons of the councils by Fulgentius Ferrandus (died c. 546), and the Concordia canonum of Cresconius Africanus, an adaptation of the Dionysiana (about 690). In Gaul are found, at the beginning of the 6th century, the Statuta Ecclesiæ antiqua, erroneously attributed to Africa, and among many other collections the Quesnelliana (end of the fifth or beginning of the 6th century) and the Dacheriana (about 800), both so called from the names of their editors, Paschase Quesnel and d'Achéry. In England there developed a collection of canons which are attributed to Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury (died 690). Also, during the early Middle Ages, throughout Europe but especially in the North, numerous local Penitentiales or handbooks of private penance were made, each a typically haphazard collection of types of punishment suggested for various sins; in various ways these penitentials, ultimately Irish in origin, came to affect the canon law collections which were developed on the continent.
Iberia (i.e. Spain) possessed the Capitula Martini, compiled about 572 by Martin, Bishop of Braga (in Portugal), and a Codex canonum or Collectio Hispana dating from about 633, attributed in the 9th century to St. Isidore of Seville. In the 9th century arose several apocryphal collections, viz. those of Benedictus Levita, of Pseudo-Isidore (also Isidorus Mercator, Peccator, Mercatus), and the Capitula Angilramni. An examination of the controversies which these three collections give rise to will be found elsewhere (see False Decretals). The Pseudo-Isidorian collection, the authenticity of which was for a long time admitted, has exercised considerable influence on ecclesiastical discipline, without however modifying it in its essential principles. Among the numerous collections of a later date, we may mention the Collectio Anselmo dedicata, compiled in Italy at the end of the 9th century, the Libellus de ecclesiasticis disciplinis of Regino of Prum (died 915); the Collectarium canonum of Burchard of Worms (died 1025); the collection of the younger St. Anselm of Lucca, compiled towards the end of the 11th century; the Collectio trium partium, the Decretum and the Panormia of Yves of Chartres (died 1115 or 1117); the Liber de misericordia et justitia of Algerus of Liège, who died in 1132; the Collection in 74 Titles — all collections which Gratian made use of in the compilation of his Decretum
 Jus novum and Corpus juris canonici
 Decretum Gratiani
It was about 1150 that Gratian, professor of theology at the University of Bologna and sometimes believed to have been a Camaldolese monk, composed the work entitled by himself Concordia discordantium canonum, but called by others Nova collectio, Decreta, Corpus juris canonici, also Decretum Gratiani, the latter being now the commonly accepted name. He did this to obviate the difficulties which beset the study of practical, external theology (theologia practica externa), i. e. the study of canon law. In spite of its great reputation and wide diffusion, the Decretum has never been recognized by the Church as an official collection.
The general laws of a later date than the "Decree" of Gratian have been called "Extravagantes", i. e. laws not contained in Gratian's Decretum (Vagantes extra Decretum). These were soon brought together in new collections, five of which (Quinque compilationes antiquæ) possessed a special authority. Two of them, namely the third and the fifth, are the most ancient official compilations of the Roman Church (see Papal Decretals). Among other compilations at the end of the twelfth and the beginning of the 13th century the following deserve special attention: "Appendix concilii Lateranensis III"; the collections known as "Bambergensis" (Bamberg), "Lipsiensis" (Leipzig), "Casselana" (Cassel) "Halensis" (Halle), and "Lucensis" (Lucca), so named from the libraries it which the manuscripts of these collections were found; the collection of the Italian Benedictine Rainerus Pomposianus, that of the English canonist Gilbert (Collectio Gilberti), that of his countryman Alanus, professor at Bologna (Collectio Alani) and that of the Spaniard Bernard of Compostella. But soon the new era of official collections began to dawn.
 Decretales Gregorii IX
In 1230 Gregory IX ordered St. Raymund of Pennafort to make a new collection, which is called the "Decretals of Gregory IX" (Decretales Gregorii IX). To this collection he gave force of law by the Bull "Rex pacificus", 5 September 1234. This collection is also known to canonists as the "Liber extra", i. e. extra Decretum Gratiani. Boniface VIII published a similar code on 3 March 1298, called the "Sixth Book of the Decretals" (Liber Sextus). John XXII added to it the last official collection of Canon law, the "Liber septimus Decretalium", better known under the title of "Constitutiones Clementis V", or simply "Clementinæ" (Quoniam nulla, 25 October 1317). Later on the canonists added to the manuscripts of the "Decretals" the most important constitutions of succeeding popes. These were soon known and quoted as "Extravagantes", i. e. twenty constitutions of John XXII himself, and those of other popes to 1484. In the Paris edition of the canonical collections (1499–1505) Jean Chappuis drew them up in the form since then universally accepted, and kept for the first the name "Extravagantes Joannis XXII", and called the others, "Extravagantes communes", i. e. commonly met with in the manuscripts of the "Decretals" (see Papal Decretals).
The "Corpus Juris Canonici" was now complete, but it contained collections of widely different juridical value. Considered as collections, the "Decree" of Gratian, the "Extravagantes Joannis XXII" and the "Extravagantes communes" never had a legal value, but the documents which they contain often do possess very great authority. Moreover, custom has even given to several apocryphal canons of the "Decree" of Gratian the force of law. The other collections are official, and consist of legislative decisions still binding, unless abrogated by subsequent legislation.
The collections of Gregory IX (Libri quinque Decretalium) and of Boniface VIII (Liber Sextus) are moreover exclusive. The former, indeed, abrogated all the laws contained in the aforesaid compilations subsequent to the "Decree" of Gratian. Several authors however maintained, but wrongly, that it abrogated also all the ancient laws which had not been incorporated in Gratian. The second abrogated all the laws passed at a later date than the "Decretals" of Gregory IX and not included in itself. Each of these three collections is considered as one collection (collectio una), i. e. one of which all the decisions have the same value, even if they appear to contain antinomies. It is to be noted, however, that, in cases of contradiction, the decisions of the collections of later date invalidate those found in a collection of an earlier date.
The "Decretals" of Gregory IX, those of Boniface VIII and the "Clementinæ' are divided uniformly into five books (liber), the books into titles (titulus), the titles into chapters (caput), and treat successively of jurisdiction (judex), procedure (judicium), the clergy (clerus), marriage (connubium), and delinquencies (crimen). The rubrics, i. e. the summaries of the various titles, have the force of law, if they contain a complete meaning; on the other hand, the summaries of the chapters have not this juridical value.
It is customary to quote these collections by indicating the number of the chapter, the title of the collection, the heading of the title, the number of the book and the title. The "Decretals" of Gregory IX are indicated by the letter "X", i. e. extra Decretum Gratiani; the "Sixth Book" or "Decretals" of Boniface VIII by "in VIº" i. e. "in Sexto"; the "Clementines" by "in Clem.", i. e. "in Clementinis". For instance: "c. 2, X, De pactis, I, 35", refers to the second chapter of the "Decretals" of Gregory IX, first book, title 35; "c. 2, in VIº, De hæreticis, V, 2", refers to the second chapter of the "Decretals" of Boniface VIII, fifth book, title. 2; "c. 2, in Clem., De testibus, II, 8", refers to the second chapter of the "Clementines", second book, title 8. If there is only one chapter in a title, or if the last chapter is quoted, these passages are indicated by "c. unic.", and "c. ult.", i. e. "caput. unicum" and "caput ultimum". Sometimes also the indication of the number of the chapters is replaced by the first words of the chapter, as for instance: c. Odoardus. In such cases the number of the chapter may be found in the index-tables printed in all the editions.
The "Extravagantes Communes" are divided and quoted in the same manner as the "Decretals", and the collection is indicated by the abbreviation: "Extrav. Commun." For instance: "c. 1 (or unicum, or Ambitiosæ), Extrav. Commun., De rebus Ecclesiæ non alienandis, III, 4", refers to the first chapter (the only chapter) in book III, title 4 of the "Extravagantes Communes". This collection omits the usual "Liber IV" which treats of marriage. The "Extravagantes of John XXII" are divided only into titles and chapters. They are indicated by the abbreviation, "Extrav. Joan. XXII". For instance: "c. 2, Extrav. Joan. XXII, De verborum significatione XIV" refers to the second chapter of the fourteenth title of this collection.
Very soon after the invention of printing editions of the "Corpus Juris", with or without the gloss (comments of canonists) were published. We already mentioned the importance of the Paris edition (1499–1505) for the two collections of "Extravagantes"; it includes the gloss. The last edition with the gloss is that of Lyons (1671).
Though the Council of Trent (1545–63) did not order a revision of the text of the canonical collections, St. Pius V appointed in 1566 a commission to prepare a new edition of the "Corpus Juris Canonici". This commission devoted itself especially to the correction of the text of the "Decree" of Gratian and of its gloss. Gregory XIII ("Cum pro munere", 1 July 1580; "Emendationem", 2 June 1582) decreed that no change was to be made in the revised text. This edition of the "Corpus" appeared at Rome in 1582, in œdibus populi Romani, and serves as exemplar for all subsequent editions. The best-known, previous to the 19th century, are those of the brothers Pithou (Paris, 1687), Freiesleben (Prague, 1728) and the Protestant canonist Böhmer (Halle-Magdeburg, 1747). The text of the latter edition differs from that of the Roman edition of 1582, and does not therefore possess practical utility. The edition of Richter (Leipzig, 1833–39) avoids this defect and is valuable for its critical notes. The edition of Friedberg (Leipzig, 1879–81) does not reproduce the text of the Roman edition for the "Decree" of Gratian, but gives the Roman text of the other collections. it is the best and most critical edition.
 Developments since the Council of Trent
 Jus Novissimus
After the Council of Trent, an attempt to secure a new official collection of church laws was made about 1580, when Gregory XIII charged three cardinals with the task. The work continued during the pontificate of Sixtus V, was accomplished under Clement VIII and was printed (Rome, 1598) as: "Sanctissimi Domini nostri Clementis papæ VIII Decretales", sometimes also "Septimus liber Decretalium". This collection, never approved either by Clement VIII or by Paul V, was edited (Freiburg, 1870) by Sentis. In 1557 the Italian canonist Paul Lancelottus attempted unsuccessfully to secure from Paul IV, for the four books of his "Institutiones juris canonici" (Rome, 1563), an authority equal to that which its model, the "Institutiones" of Emperor Justinian, once enjoyed in the Roman Empire. A private individual, Pierre Mathieu of Lyons, also wrote a "Liber septimus Decretalium", inserted in the appendix to the Frankfort (1590) edition of the "Corpus Juris Canonici". This work was put on the Index. The sources of modern Canon law must be looked for in the disciplinary canons of the Council of Trent, in the collections of papal Bulls (see Bullarium), of general and local councils, and in the collections of the decisions and answers of the Roman Congregations. However, the ancient "Corpus Juris Canonici" forms further the basis of the canonical legislation. The present position is not without grave inconveniences.
 Jus Codicis
At the First Vatican Council several bishops asked for a new codification of the canon law, and since then several canonists have attempted to compile treatises in the form of a full code of canonical legislation, e.g. de Luise (1873), Pillet (1890), Pezzani (1894), Deshayes (1894), Collomiati (1898–1901).
Pius X determined to undertake this work by his decree "Arduum sane munus" (19 March 1904), and named a commission of cardinals to compile a new "Corpus Juris Canonici" on the model of the codes of civil law.
The 1917 Codex Iuris Canonici (CIC, Code of Canon Law) was actually the first instance of a new code completely re-written in a systematic fashion, reduced to a single book or "codex" for ease of use. It took effect in November 1918.
After the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) so much had changed in the Church that the council fathers wrote into the documents that the Code be completely revised. After decades of discussion and numerous drafts, the project was nearly complete upon the death of Paul VI in 1978.
The subjects of the Codex Iuris Canonici (CIC, Code of Canon Law) are the world's 1.2 billion Catholics of what the Code itself calls the Latin Church. Distinct from this are the Eastern Catholic Churches. These Eastern Rites within the Catholic Church have a separate Code of Canon Law, called the Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium (CCEO, Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches) which incorporates certain differences in the hierarchical, administrative and judicial fora.
- From the apostolic period, the Church used different collections of law but development of a single collection which could be used in all courts did not develop until the Middle Ages.
- The books of the Corpus Juris Canonici were derived from Gratian's work Decretum Gratiani and were integrated with papal decretals written from 1200 to 1500.
- Pope Pius V in 1566 began a project to unify the collection of law. He wanted to ensure the use of authentic and reliable versions of the libri legales so that the administration of justice did not depend on the version of Gratian that particular canonical court used. He assembled a committee of great canon law scholars who became known as the Correctores Romani. The Correctores were guided by Antonio Agustín of Spain. Pope Pius V did not live to see this project to completion. Pope Gregory XIII promulgated the finished version in 1580 which was enforced until 1917.
- Pope Benedict XV promulgated a revision as a complete code Code of Canon Law (1917) (Latin: Codex Iuris Canonici)
- Pope John Paul II promulgated a revision in 1983.
 Code of Canon Law
Promulgated in 1917 and effective in 1918, the Codex Juris Canonici replaced the Corpus Juris Canonici with 2414 canons. A new version of the Codex Juris Canonici was promulgated in 1983. The 1983 Codex Juris Canonici is composed of seven books with a total of 1752 canons.
 See also
- Corpus Iuris Canonici, as available online from the Bavarian State Library
- Paul Fournier and Gabriel Le Bras, Histoire des Collections Canoniques en Occident depuis les Fausses Décrétales jusqu’au Décret de Gratien, 2 vols. (Paris, 1931), vol I, pp. 16-17
- David N. Dumville, "Ireland, Brittany and England: Transmission and Use of the Collectio canonum Hibernensis", in Catherine Laurent and Helen Davis (eds.), Irlande et Bretagne : vingt siècles d'histoire, Actes du colloque de Rennes, 29-31 mars 1993 (Rennes, 1994), pp. 84-85.
- Fournier and Le Bras, Histoire des Collections Canoniques en Occident, vol I, pp. 51-62.
- Pope John Paul II (1983-01-25). "Apostolic Constitution Sacrae Disciplinae Leges". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved 2007-04-08.
- Text of the 1582 Corpus Iuris Canonici (searchable)
- Text of the 1983 Codex Iuris Canonici in English translation
- "Corpus Juris Canonici". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.