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by January 22, 2018 Seminar Papers



Nnubia Christopher C.V.


NCCF: Seminar, January 2018


1.  Introduction


The Catholic Church has the oldest continually operating legal system in the Western Hemisphere. However, it must also be stated that the Church’s code of law has a long and complex history. The first Canons decreed by the Church were from early ecumenical Councils. During the first millennium more canons were added in a variety of ways — from local councils to Papal Decrees. By the Middle ages, it became desirable to begin gathering disparate canons into a comprehensive and systematic corpus — first effectively accomplished by an 11th-century monk named Gratian. The 1917 Code was the first attempt at a codification by the Church, following the example of modern civil codes. Completed in 1917 and put to use the following year, the 1917 Code of Canon Law was the Church’s first Code and is often referred to as the “Pio-Benedictine Code” in deference to the two Popes who brought it about[1]. The Second Vatican Council ‘definitely desired and requested’ for the reform of the 1917 code of Canon Law.

On the 25th of January, 1983, the ‘Church’s principal legislative document[2]which is “extremely necessary for the Church[3]” was promulgated by St. Pope John Paul II. This principal legislative document is known as the Code of Canon Law of 1983 or the 1983 Code of Canon Law. The Code of Canon Law “is an indispensable instrument to ensure order both in individual and social life, and also in the Church’s own activity”[4]. While promulgating the Code of Canon Law of Eastern Churches in 1990, Pope John Paul describes the two Codes of Canon Law as  “two lungs for the same body”.  Thus, the 1983 Code of Canon Law is one of the two lungs for the Church. Precisely, on the 25th of this month, the revised Code of Canon law will be 35 years of its promulgation. It calls for celebration as well as reflection by the Universal Church and the Particular Churches. For the Particular Churches in Nigeria, there is need to evaluate the journey so far to see if the Code of Canon Law “is an instrument that serves the Church’s pastoral mission of bringing God’s mercy to all (especially in Nigeria) and leading them to salvation”[5]. This informed my decision to title this first seminar paper of the year 2018, “Canon Law and the Church in Nigeria: A Critical Reflection”. This is in a bid to reflect on the past and the present condition of Canon Law so as to forecast how the future will be for us as a Church. In the short reflection that will follow afterwards, we shall look at Canon Law and the Laity, Canon Law and the Initial Formation as well as the Ongoing Formation, Canon Law and Nigerian Priests/Religious and Canon Law and Nigerian Bishops. By the Church in Nigeria, I mean Catholic Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Religious and Laity in Nigeria. The emphasis is to bring out some salient points that will guide us in our discussion at this seminar. I tender my sincere apology, should this seminar paper provoke a contrary school of thought, though this is what it intends to achieve too.

The guiding questions for this paper are: Can the Church in Nigeria affirm these statements that “Pastors have at their disposal secure norms by which they may correctly direct the exercise of the sacred ministry”? Can the Church in Nigeria be proud to say that “to each person is given a source of knowing his or her own proper rights and duties”? Can the Church in Nigeria be proud to say that “arbitrariness in acting is precluded and abuses which perhaps have crept into ecclesiastical discipline because of a lack of legislation then can now be more easily rooted out and prevented? Can the Bishops say that “all the works, institutes and initiatives of the apostolate now progress expeditiously and are promoted since a healthy juridic organization is quite necessary for the ecclesiastical community to live, grow and flourish

It is pertinent to note at this juncture that what the constitution is for a nation is to some extent what the Canon Law is for the Church. It is even much more than that because the Code of Canon Law is an instrument which fully corresponds to the nature of the Church, especially as it is proposed by the teaching of the Second Vatican Council in general and in a particular way by its ecclesiological teaching. It is a fundamental body of ecclesiastical laws for the Latin Church. Yes, citizens of a nation can uphold and defend their national constitution but the members of the Church appear to be seeing the Code from the negative side. Why the negative perception about the Canon Law? Let us briefly look at this before we discuss the above outlined points.

2. The Negative Image of Canon Law

I guess that some of us here if not all, have observed that some comments about Canon Law and Canon Lawyers can be rather negative. Why is it so? Is there really problem with this discipline that is unknown to some of us?

The negative perception of Canon Law has a long history. In the first place, the debate about the relationship between Theology and Canon Law has been a perennial problem ever since the latter grew into an independent discipline. Canon Law is no longer seen as a branch of Theology. It is a discipline that has its own style of study and certificates (JCL and JCD) different from that of Theology. Such demarcations could be the reason why some theologians hold some negative views about Canon Law.

Secondly, during the Second Vatican Council, the conciliar discussions included a rather negative assessment of Canon Law and “Canon Lawyers.” ‘Legalism’, according to Coriden, was denounced by the Council Fathers along with triumphalism and clericalism. A rigidly juridical model of Church leadership was viewed as unsuitable and detrimental. This negative judgment about the effects of Canon Law on the life of the Church led to some disaffection with the discipline as well as to its reassessment[6].

Thirdly, the law is seen by many as being opposed to mercy. It is also viewed by many as being all about sanctions without mercy.  Are these true? Are justice and mercy not complementary?

The challenges that faces canon law conventionally and universally also affets it in the Church in Nigeria. This same negative image of Canon Law is not different among members of the Church in Nigeria. In some of the social network platforms I belong to, the attitude of some Priests towards Canon Law and Canon lawyers can be likened to a war between cats and dogs. Once Canon Law is mentioned, for some, it is like an imposed discipline, a phrase never to be pronounced at all. For some, canon lawyers are the ambitious people who are aspiring to become Bishops only. What is wrong with Canon Law? Let us begin this inquiry by examining the Canon Law and the Laity.

3. Canon Law and the Laity

The Laity constitutes the highest number of Christ’s faithful. The Laity is the bedrock of the Church in Nigeria, (cf. Manual of the Laity, 3). The Laity in Nigeria increases in strength and number by leaps and bounds, (cf. Manual of the Laity, 8). Unlike the 1917 Code of Canon Law, the 1983 Code  has, in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, recognition of the Laity. The obligations and rights of the Laity in addition to the obligations and rights of all Christ’s faithful are well spelt out. The Code of Canon law has canons that call for the cooperation of the Laity in the governance of the Church. However, I really wonder how many lay people in Nigeria have heard of the Code of Canon Law. I also wonder how many lay people have seen the Code of Canon Law not to talk of reading and studying it. How many lay people have a  copy of the code of Canon Law in their homes aside the Knights? Even the
Knights possess it because it is one of the materials given to each at their initiations.  Another group of the Laity that might have contact with the Code of Canon Law are those who work at the Tribunals and those having marriage cases. On the 25th of December 2017, I asked the members of a Nigerian Catholic Community somewhere what they know about the Code of Canon Law. It was a shock that not even a single soul was able to say something about it because they do not know.

How many Lay people know their obligations and rights in the Church? In some parts of Nigeria, the essential laws known by the Laity are payment of Church levies for Church entitlements such as Christian burial, insistence on having a son or daughter wedded in the Catholic Church to avoid being stopped from Holy Communion, obligation to belong to any of the statutory bodies in the Church, not to eat meat on holy days of obligation and the likes. In one of the Canon Law Society of Nigeria’s Conferences, a lay person testified that little is known about Canon Law in Nigeria, and called the authority of the society to publicize it. How far has the society gone to that respect? It is a story for another day.

4. Canon Law and the Initial Formation of Priests and Religious

From the analysis above on the perspective of the Laity concerning Canon Law, it is most likely that the candidate who is admitted for formation might have little or no knowledge of the 1983 Code of Canon Law which is one of the lungs for the Church and indeed an instrument which fully corresponds to the nature of the Church. The New Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis outlines  four principal stages of the Initial Formation, namely, the propaedeutic studies, the stage of Philosophical studies or discipleship stage, the stage of Theological studies or configuration stage and the Pastoral stage or the stage of vocational synthesis[7]. Interestingly, the New Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis in no. 3 required each Conference of Bishops to prepare its own Ratio Nationalis on the basis of this Ratio which, in accordance with no. 1 of the Conciliar Decree Optatam Totius and Can. 242 §1 must be approved by the Congregation for Clergy, after having heard the opinion of the Congregation for Catholic Education on matters within its competence. The question is: At what stage of these four principal stages of the Initial Formation is Canon Law taught? At what stage of the Initial Religious Formation is Canon Law taught? During my seminary formation years at St. Thomas Aquinas’ Major Seminary Makurdi in Benue State (Nigeria) Canon Law was taught in the Theology class. Certainly, it is still the same practice today. On further inquiry from some Priests, it is almost the same practice in all the Nigerian seminaries. During my seminary formation, some seminarians, including myself, hated the study of Canon law because it was seen as a dry course with many legalism. We only studied it for the sake of passing examinations. While it is a fact that not all who go into the seminary eventually make it to the priesthood, it is equally true that most of those who do not make it to the priesthood remain Catholics. Why then should Canon Law be taught only at the stage of theological studies or configuration stage? Why is the Church’s principal legislative document “shrouded in the secret archive”?

On the side of the initial Religious formation, a few inquiries made, revealed that the teaching of Canon Law to Postulants/Novices is relative depending on the scheme of individual Congregations. In some Congregations, an introduction to Canon Law is taught in the Novitiate. For another congregation, Canon Law is taught during the Novitiate Formation especially in the first year of the Novitiate which is called the Canonical year. For other congregations,  it is taught in the Postulancy. Still others in the novitiate, which is usually just an introduction to Canon Law and Canon Law proper for religious.


5. Canon Law and Nigerian Priests/Religious

At this stage of “I have arrived” mentality, many Priests and Religious have applied and still apply appropriate Canons of  the Canon Law for effective Parish and institutional governance. A good  number of Priests and Religious have used Canon Law to define their authority in accord with the nature of the Church as mandated by Christ. Some Pastors conscientiously use the Canon Law to correctly direct the exercise of the Sacred Ministry. However, there are still some Priests and Religious who feel that, the Code of Canon Law has  become outdated and only meant for the archives. For others, it has become a reference book to be used for the intimidation of Parishioners/workers and co-workers; and arbitrariness in acting. Still for some others, the laws are redefined and interpreted at will as they become both Legislators, Executives and Judges. This attitude is manifested in the day-to-day institutional/Parish governance from misunderstanding among Priests working together, Religious working together, Priests and Religious working together, Priests and lay people in the Parish Councils or Pious Associations/Societies. Different ministries and personal laws to govern them are being established in some places by Priests. In the midst of all this, one may wonder whether such people had any knowledge of Canon Law at the initial stage of their seminary/religious formation. The celebration of Liturgies and administration of sacraments, it is now for some as inspired by the “Holy Spirit”. Quote the Code of Canon Law for such people for guidelines, and an immediate response is given “the ultimate goal of the law is the “salvation of souls” and the chapter is closed. Even some priests do not see Canon Law as being “pastoral.” As someone rightly remarked; the Priests are the most unruly professionals in terms of observing the law. Other Professionals such as lawyers, engineers, doctors, etc., make reference to and uphold their constitutions but the Priests especially in Nigeria want to operate without the law.  Every society needs laws — and so does the Church and in particular Priests and Religious. There is an old saying: ubi societas ibi lex (“where there is a society there is law”). Imagine driving on the highway where there are no rules of the road? The disaster that one would envisage, is better imagined.

6. Canon Law and Ongoing Formation of Priests and Religious


The New Ratio in nos. 80 – 88 articulate what ongoing formation is all about and the expectations inherent. I urge all to read it. The emphasis here is on Canon Law. With the establishment of the Canon Law Commission by CBCN (Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria), it is an indication that the Bishops take Canon Law seriously. The Commission through the Canon Law Unit of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria organizes annual national seminar for training of tribunal personnel. In addition, the Canon Law Society of Nigeria (CLSN) organizes annual conference and professional conference for ongoing formation. This is commendable too. The Canon Law Faculty of CIWA (Catholic Institute of West Africa) is doing a lot to produce more Canon Lawyers for the Church in Nigeria. Even at that, it is still at the level of getting knowledge of Canon Law without Canon Law degree rather with Sacred Theology degree. Some Bishops/Superiors make efforts to send their Priests/Religious to study Canon Law in other parts of Africa, Europe and America. This has relatively increased in recent times and it is a good development worthy of commendation. Although this is usually on scholarship basis which has its challenges too, as the Church in Nigeria still falls within the Mission Territory. One of such noticeable challenges is usually the language barrier. Canon Law needs understanding from the first day in class till the last day of the course. For instance, if a Priest or a Religious who has difficulty in understanding languages easily, has three years to obtain JCL in a non English speaking area, a year or two may pass by without adequate comprehension of the course of study. Then in the third year, he or she is done and back home for practice. Those who had gone through this experience may tell better of their challenges during field work.

7. Canon Law and Canon Lawyers in Nigeria

Recorded in the CSLN Newsletter, are 187 canonists (both Clergy and Religious). Here on this Canon Lawyers Platform, we are 65 (both Priests and Religious) of which some are already included in the 187 members of the CSLN. There are still others who do not belong to any of these. It is indeed a blessing to the Church in Nigeria. Hypothetically, we can say that each diocese in Nigeria has one or more Canonist(s) either working in the diocese or outside his/her diocese in Nigeria or outside Nigeria. Each of them has a personal story on how he or she got into this discipline but one which appears to be more common is summarized below in the words of Cardinal Burke: “…To be honest, I took up the study of Canon Law in obedience to my Bishop and  not because of a deep personal interest in the discipline, soon learned how much the Church’s discipline was disdained by her Priests, in general”[8]. Some of us took up the study of Canon Law in obedience to either our Bishops or Superiors and not because of a deep personal interest in the discipline. However, like Burke, did we discover how much the Church’s discipline was disdained by her Priests and Religious, in general? If yes, what role are we playing to correct this impression in our various places of apostolate?

Considering the negative side of Canon Law and Canon Lawyers as being displayed by our colleagues, Burke noted: When I responded to the usual question of  what my area of study was, the responses fairly consistently went like this: “I thought that the Church had done away with that,” and “What a waste of your time.” These responses, in fact, reflected a general attitude in the Church toward her canonical discipline, an attitude inspired by the hermeneutic of discontinuity, by that sense that “a day of sunlight” had arrived in the Church, in contrast to the darkness of what had gone before[9]. This negativity seems to make some of us inactive after study. Those who are active are working seriously hard through articles and books to convince the non-Canon Lawyers that the present Code of Canon Law is not about legalism rather it is ‘pastoral’ in nature. Kudos to Canon Lawyers who have written books. Kudos also to those who have written articles in many international and national journals. Kudos to Canon Lawyers who are lecturing in different Institutions.

There are still others who are struggling with the challenges of explaining how to apply the Canons and their interpretations as some were faced with the challenge of understanding the language used in teaching the Discipline outside their familiar clime as pointed above. As can be seen from the discussions on various issues raised on this platform, we can hardly at times arrive at a consensus in explaining some Canons. It is an indication that we need a platform such as this to be discussing canonical issues in order to provide authentic teaching, interpretation and advice in our Dioceses/Congregations. The services of Canon Lawyers cannot be overemphasized. It is not good for us to prove that the following statement made by a brother priest is correct: “…stop deceiving or consoling yourself; we have no Canon Lawyers in the Church; we only have Canon Layers who are trained to be Canonical Stooges and Spin Doctors to the Bishops”.


 Let us look at the various areas in which Canon Lawyers are needed in Church governance:


At the Diocesan Curia; Apart from instances where a Canonist is appointed as Vicar General, Episcopal Vicar or Chancellor, he has an advisory and consulting duty which are both serious and sensitive. Canon lawyers also function at the Diocesan tribunal. A few Canon lawyers in Nigeria are utilized in this capacity while others are not. Kudos to those who work tirelessly at the marriage Tribunals. However, it is worthy of note that some diocesan Tribunals have been operating as a sole judge tribunal for years (‘one man squad tribunal’). John Cardinal Onaiyekan, the Archbishop of Abuja while interviewing him during my thesis noted: “It is a thing of concern that many of our Priests have Doctorate in Canon Law but are not particularly vast or interested in the issues of marriage Tribunals. This is a general observation by the Bishops. There are many doctors of Canon Law in Nigeria but there are not many who show keen interest, expertise and practical performance in the area. And this is quite disturbing because in spite of the huge wealth of experience we have in Nigeria, those who were in the forefront of really pulling together Tribunals and marriage tribunal work in Nigeria started  this without any academic qualification”[10].

Canon Lawyers have a continuing duty to advise the Local Ordinary about Canonical matters; to advise all engaged in the pastoral ministry about canonical matters which protect the rights of persons and the good order necessary in the administration of the Church in matters both spiritual and temporal, and to raise the consciousness of others in the Church concerning possible areas of injustice or inequitable practice.” While the Diocesan Bishop retains the freedom to consult whomever he chooses, Canon Lawyers constitute these important groups that offer assistance to the Bishop. The challenge remains to guarantee their optimum service to diocesan governance. The Canon lawyer must clarify the legal functions of persons who, by delegation, share in the powers of the bishop. The inevitable ambiguity, confusion, and overlapping of tasks which is bound to occur when several “legal persons” stand in the place of the bishop in similar ways-such as the Vicar General, Episcopal Vicars, Auxiliary bishops, and Deans – may be offset through the work of the Canon lawyer[11]. In some dioceses, the appointment of Vicar General and Episcopal Vicars often appear ambiguous. For instance, where there are Vicar General Administration, Vicar General Pastoral, then (“Episcopal” is at times omitted) Vicar  Religious, Vicar Welfare of the Clergy, Vicar Evangelization, Vicar Laity etc. The Canon Lawyer should give a prudent advice to the Bishop on their different functions and the canonical implication of creating these offices wrongly knowing our passion for positions and power.

In this vein, Canon lawyers “use their professional expertise in the evaluation of canonical or quasi-canonical agencies and structures within the Church as regards either their design or the functioning of these agencies and structures. Perry suggests that a permanent seat should be provided for a Canon Lawyer, so that he may advise on matters of canonical consequence, on Priest councils, Episcopal councils, Diocesan synods, and Diocesan pastoral councils.” Additionally, these institutions should be periodically reviewed, so that they will be of maximum service to the bishop, and to prevent the unnecessary duplication of tasks. In the Church community, expertise and service are recognized and called to the benefit of the wider Church. Canon lawyers stand among other professionals of competence in the Local Church. Pastors and Theologians help the Bishop minister to the Faithful’s spiritual and sacramental needs. Liturgists help insure the quality of worship. Catechists and educators maintain the life and operation of the Gospel in the community. Married couples, with insights on family life, help to insure the growth of the local Church. Economists and civil lawyers guarantee fiscal responsibilities and the Church’s obligations within the civil forum. Unlike other Ecclesiastical works, Canonical ministry secures order and justice in the Christian community. Church law exists for the wellbeing of the total Church. The Canon lawyer’s sole task is to serve the Church community. The Canon Lawyer has no work without the community. The Canon Lawyers should be consulted in the hosting of Diocesan websites to study it from the canonical point. Some of our Diocesan websites including that of the CBCN and the CSN reflect the actual situations in the dioceses and the Church in Nigeria. Note that even the Bishop Canonist may not have time to study his Diocesan website before being hosted. This observation might be wrong or right; however there is need to point it out: the website of CSN is different from that of the CBCN. Is the CSN no longer a general secretariat of the CBCN in accordance with Can. 451? Are the above services of the Canon Lawyers being put to use in the Dioceses/Congregations by the competent Authority?

8. Canon Law and the Nigerian Bishops

From the programme of the 2017 CLSN Conference held in Port Harcourt, there are 12 Bishop Canonists in Nigeria. This is a blessing to the Canon Law family. One of the responsibilities of the Diocesan bishop is to make the faithful appreciate the value of Canon Law. Moreover, in governing the Diocese, the Bishop has to be concerned that the Faithful appreciate the value of canon Law in the Church, which has as its objective the well-being of persons and the ecclesial community[12]. The Bishops have collectively and individually shown interest in Canon law. By law, the Diocesan Bishop is both judge and legislator of  the Diocese. He exercises his judicial role, however, most often through others whom he appoints. With the reform of Pope Francis, the Diocesan Bishops as native judges are involved in the matrimonial process especially the briefer process[13]. The Diocesan Bishop may or may not be a Canon Lawyer. His legislative and judicial authority arises from his position within the ordained hierarchy, in communion with the Roman Pontiff. As chief pastor of the local Church, he possesses all the power needed to govern his portion of the larger Church.[14] The bishop’s guide in carrying out the office of shepherd is the Church’s discipline which is contained in the Code of Canon Law, the liturgical books (cf. canon 2), and other Church legislation.

Some Bishops through their Pastoral letters have been educating the people of God entrusted to them. The convocation of the diocesan synods to discuss the common needs of the Diocese are commendable. The appointment of persons and institutions for pastoral governance of the diocese is also commendable in some dioceses.  The Catholic Bishops Conference (CBCN) is doing well in providing some Church documents for guidelines. However, there are few observations which call for reflection. In recent times, there are some documents that have emanated from the CBCN which kept me wondering if consultations are made with the previous documents. For instance, the Manual of the Laity stipulates the age range for the Youth as 15 to 35 years while the Catholic Youth Organization of Nigeria’s National Constitution approved by the Bishop in charge of Youth Apostolate of the CBCN, which came after the Manual of the Laity has 14 years to 35 years. The Particular Complementary Norms by CBCN as already observed in this platform has few issues that contradict the Code of  Canon Law. Recently, the tenure of the leaders of various pious societies/associations were defined by CBCN through a text message and a letter signed by the Secretary General of CSN. The disagreements among the Bishops which should be handled within the ambient of the Conference have gone to the public domain. Is there no respect for the internal forum again? Are the particular laws by the Diocesan Bishops and CBCN being promulgated in accordance with can 8?

9. Conclusion


This reflection tries to bring out the areas the Church in Nigeria has done well to implement the 1983 Code of Canon Law and how the Code has helped and is still helping in local Church governance. It also brings out some salient points that are points for discussion in this seminar. The knowledge of Canon Law by Christ’s faithful in Nigeria is still not encouraging. The CLSN needs to push further to see that the study of Canon Law at the Initial formation of Priests and Religious begin at the propaedeutic studies since the CBCN is required to have its own Ratio Nationalis. For the rest of Christ’s Faithful who may not have the opportunity of going to the seminary or Religious formation house, the CLSN should call for the establishment of CLSN branches in all the dioceses, and if not possible in all Dioceses, at least in all the provinces so that through this society, more programmes of Canon Law will be felt at the Diocesan or Provincial level. There is need to have a Canon Law center at the National level as well as at the Diocesan level. There is also need to have a Canon Law Commission in various dioceses as is found in the CBCN . The Faculty of Canon Law of the Catholic Institute of West Africa, CIWA urgently needs to be authorized to be awarding at least licentiate degree in Canon Law because a study of Canon Law in the local context has a big advantage for the Local Church, the CLSN and the Canon Lawyer in particular. The doctoral study could be obtained elsewhere even in non-English speaking zones. There is also an urgent need to have a Commentary on the Code of Canon Law within the Nigerian context. For instance, An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Canon Law of the Western (CIC 1983) Church and Eastern (CCEO 1990) Churches by Rev. Fr. Emmanuel O. Nwabude has shown that even a Commentary can be achieved by Nigerian Canon Lawyers for the Church in Nigeria.

Those of us on this platform should be actively involved in discussions. Express your views even if it is not correct and be open/willing to accept corrections. Some of us shy away from participating in the discussions because of fear of making mistakes as well as avoidance of attacks. This is not a good spirit of scholarship.

The 1983 Code of Canon Law proves to be an efficacious means in order that the Church in Nigeria may progress in conformity with the spirit of the Second Vatican Council and may every day be ever more suited to carry out its office of salvation in this world. The interpretation and application of the text of the canon law should respect the mind of the legislator and, therefore, avoid any kind of formalism. Also, there is need to emphasize on both the letters of the law and the spirit of the law for the future of the Church in Nigeria. The false conflict between Canon law and the pastoral nature of the Church in Nigeria, between truth and love, needs to be addressed.

Finally, for the future of the Church in Nigeria, there is need for a more renewed knowledge of and respect for the Canon Law of the Church.














































Burke, R., “The New Evangelization and Canon Law”,, March 30, 2011, [accessed: 2/12/2017].

Caprile, G.,  Il concilio Vaticano II, Periodo pimo. Rome 1968.

Congregation for Clergy, The Gift of Priestly Vocation, New Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis. Paulines Nairobi, 2017.

Coriden, J.A., Canon Law as Ministry. New York,  2000

Goodwin, J., “What is Canon Law all about?”,, 3/1/2017, [accessed: 11/10/2017].

John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution, Sacrae Disciplinae Leges, Jan. 25, 1983, AAS 75 (1983) vii-xiv.

Nnubia, C., The Diocesan Tribunal of First Instance (Canon 1419§1): A Study of its Operation in Abuja Archdiocese, Nigeria, A thesis of Catholic Institute of West Africa, Port Harcourt, 2015.

Perry, J. «The Canon Lawyer and the Local Church», in The Catholic Lawyer Volume 26 Number 2 Volume 26, Spring 1981, Number 2, Article 4, September 2017,, [accessed: 1-11-2017].

Pope Francis, m.p. “Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus”, Nairobi 2015.

_______,, October 9, 2017, [accessed: 1/11/2017].





[1] J. Goodwin, “What is Canon Law all about?”,, 3/1/2017, [accessed: 11/10/2017].

[2] John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution, Sacrae Disciplinae Leges, 1983.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Cf. Pope Francis,, October 9, 2017, [accessed: 1/11/2017].

[6] J.A. Coriden, Canon Law as Ministry. New York,  2000, 10-11; For references, cf. G. Caprile, Il concilio Vaticano II, Periodo pimo(Rome, 1968), 197, 239, 241-44, 246, 248-50, 253, 257, 280, 555.

[7] Congregation for Clergy, New Ratio Fundamentalis 57.

[8] R. Burke, “The New Evangelization and Canon Law”,, March 30, 2011, [accessed: 2/12/2017].

[9] Ibid.

[10] C. Nnubia, The Diocesan Tribunal of First Instance (Canon 1419§1): A Study of its Operation in Abuja Archdiocese, Nigeria, 39.

[11] J. Perry, “The Canon Lawyer and the Local Church” in The Catholic Lawyer Volume 26 Number 2 Volume 26, Spring 1981, Number 2, Article 4, September 2017,, [accessed: 1-11-2017].

[12] John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution, Sacrae Disciplinae Leges, 1983.

[13] Pope Francis, m.p. “Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus”, Can. 1683.

[14] J. Perry, “The Canon Lawyer and the Local Church” in The Catholic Lawyer Volume 26 Number 2 Volume 26, Spring 1981, Number 2, Article 4, September 2017,, [accessed: 1-11-2017].


One commentcomments4

  1. I know additional ideas that synergize with this. If I may?

  2. This is truly helpful, thanks.

  3. Thanks, it’s very informative

  4. Would you please write more about this? Your reasons should be accepted everywhere…even so..There are a few reasons that support this. Sincerely- ty for your time.

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