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Cdl. Burke on canon law and the New Evangelization

August 31, 2012

Raymond Cdl. Burke’s latest address on canon law, delivered this week at a canon law conference in Kenya, builds on ideas he presented in 2011 at Seton Hall University, and forms the basis of an upcoming article by him in The Jurist. The Kenya address is vintage Burke: Understanding of and respect for canon law is vital to the Church’s overall pursuit of holiness.

Burke’s entire address should be read rather than just summarized here. Afterward, for those wishing to see more discussion of the many connections between the New Evangelization and canon law, may I suggest my “Introduction to the canonical achievements of John Paul II”, Ave Maria Law Review 5 (2007) 1-33, wherein, for example:

“So what is the fire that drove the pastoral focus of the Second Vatican Council, that took root during the reign of Pope Paul VI, and that, I think, animated John Paul II’s papacy? What … explains more than any other single factor the kind and quality of changes we see in the 1983 Code of Canon Law? It is the summons to a New Evangelization.”


“[T]he Church faces not so much a non-Christian culture but a de-Christianized one … It is this situation, never before faced by the Church—certainly not on a large scale—that I suggest underlies most of the startling summons to a New Evangelization … The elimination of institutes from the Pio-Benedictine Code and the introduction of new structures into the 1983 Code correlate strongly with the need to provide the Church with a legal system effective to the overriding missiological goal of New Evangelization.”

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