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     Home > Synod >  2010-10-16 11:18:28
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Intervention of Mons. Francesco COCCOPALMERIO, Titular Archbishop of Celiana, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts (VATICAN CITY)



For clerical reasons, I must speak to you about Eastern Canon Law and thus also about the Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches. I do so willingly, also in the wake of the recent Conference (8-9 October), which commemorated 20 years since the publication of this Code. The Conference registered the presence of 400 participants and for that reason has given visibility, and above all honor, not only to Eastern Canon Law, but also, and especially, to the venerable Eastern Churches, all represented here.
I. I would like, now, to bring your attention to some elements that come from the Eastern Code and to which the Instrumentum laboris, even without ever citing the Canons of the Code, echoes perfectly. Referring to the title of this Synod: “communion and witness”, I find in the Eastern Code a set of rules that are intended to promote unity among the Churches sui iuris and even with the non-Catholic Churches. I will give some examples.
1) In the same country or region, in the opinion of the Apostolic See, assemblies may be set up of hierarchs from different Churches sui iuris, including Latin, also with the participation of the hierarchs from non-Catholic Churches. These assemblies are designed to facilitate the exchange of prudence and experience, as well as exchanging pastoral views. All this leads to the union of forces for the common good of the Churches (cf. can. 202; CCEO 322 - 447 - 459 CIC).
2) One may initiate a communal project for the formation of clergy, or erect a major seminary for different Churches sui iuris of the same region or country, or even admit to the major or minor seminaries students of other Churches sui iuris, provided in each case the traditions of their own rite are observed (can. 330 §2; 332 §2; 333; 343 CCEO - 242,237 CIC). 3) For an united pastoral action the Eparch may invite the faithful of other Churches sui iuris to participate in the eparchial assembly (including in the pastoral council - can. 273 §3 CCEO - 512 §2 CIC), or, as observers, the faithful belonging to Churches and non-Catholic communities (can. 238 §§ 2,3 CCEO - 463 §§2, 3 CIC).
4) For the service of pastoral care to all the faithful, one asks the Eparch to also pay careful attention to those belonging to another Church sui iuris who do not have their own hierarchy; he is asked in particular to ensure, in close relationship with the superior authority of that Church, the institution of parish staff, or for spiritual assistance from a priest or a pastor or a syncellus
(can. 192 §l; 193; 246; 280 §l; 916 §5 CCEO - 383,518 ClC).
5) In inter-confessional (ecumenical) relationships the whole Church is urged, that is all of the faithful, especially Pastors, to commit themselves to the unity of Christians (can. 902, 903 CCEO), thus it requires, in particular, that in Catholic catechesis the correct image of the other Churches and ecclesial Communities is presented (can. 625 CCEO). Each Church sui iuris must promote ecumenical initiatives in open, trusting dialogue and through joint initiatives with other Christians (can. 904, 905 CCEO). Indeed, if it is convenient and useful, one may publish Sacred Scripture in collaboration with other Christians (can. 655 § l CCEO - 825 § 2 CIC). One should, further, encourage with caution dialogue and cooperation with non-Christians and one must try to provide them with Sacred Scripture with the appropriate footnotes (can. 592 §2; 655 §2 CCEO - 787 § l CIC).
II. Other issues of current importance, which touch on several points from both the Instrumentum laboris and the Relatio ante disceptationem, are, for example, as follows.
1) The individual Churches, and all the faithful in them, must promote social justice (can. 25 §2 CCEO - 222 §2 CIC) and work for the resolution of social problems in the light of the Gospel (can. 601 CCEO); the preachers of the Word of God are required to teach about human dignity and fundamental rights, about a sense of justice and peace and about the need to implement them in our world (can. 616 §2 CCEO - 768 §2 CIC).
2) The faithful must commit themselves so that the right to religious freedom and that of freedom of education are recognized by civil society (can. 627§ 3; 586 CCEO -793, 748 §2 CIC) and to work so that education is extended to all people (can. 630 § 1 CCEO); Catholic schools and Catholic universities must concern themselves with the integral formation of the human being so that students esteem human and moral values, in the light of faith, and thus may cultivate justice, social responsibility and fraternal relations (can. 629; 634 §§1, 3; 641 CCEO-795 ClC).
3) Lay people are expected to know the heritage of their Church to promote unity of action among the laity of the various Churches sui iuris for the common good of society (can. 405 CCEO) and to give witness to Christ in dealing with temporal things, even in socio-political life by proposing just laws in society (can. 401 CCEO - 225 §2 CIC).
4) To preach the Gospel to the world the Church must assert its right to use the instruments of social communication; the faithful specialized in social communication are obliged to collaborate, support and promote this mission of the Church (can. 651; 652 § 1 CCEO - 761, 822 § §2, 3 CIC). The particular law of individual Churches sui iuris may establish the rules for the use of social communications (can. 653 CCEO - 831 §2 CIC).

[00102-02.08] [IN078] [Original text: Italian]




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