The 1917 Code of Canon Law, also referred to as the Pio-Benedictine Code, was the first comprehensive codification of Latin canon law. It was promulgated on 27 May 1917 and took legal effect on 19 May 1918. It was in force until the 1983 Code of Canon Law took legal effect and abrogated it on 27 November 1983.
Cover of the 1917 Code of Canon Law
By the 19th Century, this body of legislation included some 10,000 norms. Many these were difficult to reconcile with one another due to changes in circumstances and practice. This situation impelled Pope St. Pius X to order the creation of the first Code of Canon Law, a single volume of clearly stated laws. Under the aegis of the Cardinal Pietro Gasparri, the Commission for the Codification of Canon Law was completed under Benedict XV, who promulgated the Code, effective in 1918. The work having been begun by Pius X and promulgated by Benedict XV, it is sometimes called the "Pio-Benedictine Code" but more often the 1917 Code. In its preparation, centuries of material was examined, scrutinized for authenticity by leading experts, and harmonized as much as possible with opposing canons and even other codes, from the Codex of Justinian to the Napoleonic Code.
In response to the request of the bishops at the First Vatican Council, on 14 May 1904, with the motu proprio "Arduum sane munus", Pope Pius X set up a commission to begin work on reducing these diverse documents into a single code, presenting the normative portion in the form of systematic short canons shorn of the preliminary considerations ("Whereas...") and omitting those parts that had been superseded by later developments.
The code was promulgated on 27 May 1917 as the Code of Canon Law (Latin: Codex Iuris Canonici) by his successor, Pope Benedict XV, who set 19 May 1918 as the date on which it came into force. For the most part, it applied only to the Latin Church except when "it treats of things that, by their nature, apply to the Oriental", such as the effects of baptism (canon 87). It contained 2,414 canons.
- ^ a b c Dr. Edward Peters, CanonLaw.info, accessed June-9-2013
- ^ NYTimes.com, "New Canon Law Code in Effect for Catholics", 27-Nov-1983, accessed June-25-2013
- ^ Pietro Cardinal Gasparri, preface to the CIC 1917
- ^ Manual of Canon Law, pg. 47
- ^ Manual of Canon Law, pg. 49
- ^ Ap Const. Providentissima Mater Ecclesia Benedict XV, 27 May 1917
- ^ canon 1, 1917 Code of Canon Law
- ^ Dr. Edward N. Peters, CanonLaw.info "A Simple Overview of Canon Law", accessed June-11-2013
Manual of Canon Law
Fernando della Rocca (translated by Rev. Anselm Thatcher, O.S.B.), "Manual of Canon Law" (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1959)
1917 (Pio-Benedictine) Code of Canon Law (CIC)
Translated by Edward Peters, "The 1917 or Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law: in English Translation with Extensive Scholarly Apparatus" (Ignatius Press, 2001)
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In the same way he pointed out that the 1917 Code of Canon Law considered two people living together to be public sinners who should be shunned. “Then at a certain point, we said: No, these people are in a situation, but they shouldn't be avoided. In ...
Fri, 30 Jan 2015 07:00:30 -0800
Did you know that the 1917 Code of Canon Law said that it is “forbidden” to marry a non-Catholic? The 1983 Code of Canon Law similarly says it is “prohibited” to marry a non-Catholic. Both codes refer to the dangers to salvation to the Catholic party (cf.
National Catholic Register
Thu, 16 Oct 2014 11:09:51 -0700
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Catholic Culture (blog)
Thu, 11 Sep 2014 20:51:11 -0700
Canon 761 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law stated "Pastors should take care that a Christian name is given to those whom they baptize; but if they are not able to bring this about, they will add to the name given by the parents the name of some Saint and ...
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Beyond his diplomatic and humanitarian activity, Benedict XV also issued the 1917 Code of Canon Law, the first time that canon law had been codified. He was honored when Joseph Ratzinger was elected Bishop of Rome in 2005, and took his name, ...
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... just as we must admit the Spirit was at work in the Church when Trent set forth our current theology of marriage, and when the canonists changed significant applications of that teaching in devising the 1917 Code of Canon Law. Most importantly, we ...
National Catholic Register (blog)
Tue, 26 Apr 2011 07:24:25 -0700
Some time ago I did a post (possibly more than one) dealing with the subject of women's headcoverings at Mass—a practice that was required by the 1917 Code of Canon Law but that then fell into desuetude after the Second Vatican Council and was ...
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