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Luke Coppen's Catholic Herald Blog

Cardinal: The Code must change

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The remarkably industrious John Allen has posted a long and fascinating interview with Cardinal Francis George of Chicago.

The stand-out section, for me, concerns the revised Code of Canon Law, which, he argues, needs to be drastically revised again:

The council was the time for mercy, not justice, the time for persuasion and not coercion. When they redid the Code of Canon Law, it was assumed that if you just show the good, it will be so beautiful that everybody will follow.

They didn’t worry very much about what happens with people who don’t, who are still caught in original sin. You not only have to say ‘this is good,’ you also have to say, ‘this is bad, and if you do it here are the consequences.’ Well, the consequences are minimal in the new Code. That’s why it’s a difficult document to use to govern, which became clear in the sex abuse crisis.

We had to change the Code. Now they’re looking at that, looking precisely at the penal sections of the Code, to see if they’re adequate instruments of government. We have to do the same thing: We have to say that here’s the good and here’s the bad, and Catholics don’t do the bad. When they do, of course, they’re forgiven, but nonetheless they’re told it’s bad.

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Written by Luke Coppen

October 7, 2009 at 5:27 pm

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