Christ among the Doctors of the Law



Tuesday, May 06, 2008

I like this: Abps. Myers and Burke to pontifical councils

The Vatican Information Service (VISnews 080506) announced today that Benedict XVI just appointed several new members to the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, the Roman dicastery that, under 1983 CIC 16 and Pastor Bonus 154-158, provides binding interpretations of ecclesiastical law. The PCLT is a very important office for canonistics; in some repects, it is more important than the Roman Rota (long explanation omitted). Papal appointments to the PCLT are worth watching.

Granted that some prelates are named to the PCLT because, well, they couldn't not be appointed given their importance in other Roman curial offices, among the 'personal' appointments announced today, two American archbishops standout: John Myers of Newark and Raymond Burke of Saint Louis. Abp. Myers, an expert in property law, has been serving as a consultor to the PCLT for over 10 years; Abp. Burke, an expert in procedures and penal law, and who was also appointed to the influential Congregation for the Clergy, has considerable experience in the Signatura. Both appointments are very good news for clear thinkers.

Last November, I dismissed theories that the USCCB election for the head of its Canonical Affairs committee was in any way a referendum on the firm approach adopted by Abp. Burke in regard to pro-abortion Catholic politicians. Folks who tried to parlay the bishops' choice of the excellent Chicago auxiliary Bp. Paprocki into an endorsement of a 'kinder, gentler' approach to ecclesiastical law should be glad I did: Else, how will they account, without blushing, for Rome's naming of Abp. Burke to two posts wherein his approach to canon law is going to get a serious hearing at the highest levels?

If one will permit me a bit of button busting, I'm thrilled that three prelates who graciously wrote forwards to my various books (Myers for Annulments and the Catholic Church and The 1917 Code of Canon Law in English Translation, Burke for the Incrementa in Progressu 1983 Codicis Iuris Canonici, and Paprocki for Excommunication and the Catholic Church) are serving the Church's legal system in such prominent ways. Makes me wanna work harder, too.