Under Pope Pius XII, there were the several reforms of Catholic Eastern canon law applying to the Eastern Catholic Churches.

Reforms of Eastern canon law

See also: Eastern Catholic canon law

A commission was established in 1929 by Pius XI to draw up a schema for an Oriental Catholic canon code,[1][2] the Commissionem Cardinalitiam pro Studiis Praeparatoriis Codificationis Orientalis.[3] In 1935, the same pope established another commission with the same goal, the Pontificia Commissio ad redigendum Codicem iuris canonici orientalis, to replace the former.[4]

The Eastern Catholic Churches, not unlike the Latin Church before the Code of 1917, had their own ancient laws, which were not codified. Some reforms of Eastern Church laws for the Eastern Churches were done during the pontificate of Pius XII. The new Church canons promulgated by Pius XII for the government of the Eastern Catholic Churches concern matrimonial law,[5] Church trials,[6] administration of Church properties and religious orders[7] and individual rights.[8]

Eastern groups in the West

After World War II, a new situation developed as millions of united Christians from Eastern Europe and the Middle East emigrated to the West: United States, Western Europe, Canada, South America, and Australia. The new Church law was welcomed, yet in some points, it was critiqued, for not fully adopting to these new Western circumstances. Traditionally, Eastern Christians insisted on legal exemptions, allowing them to keep most of the ancient customs and laws.[9]

Mystici Corporis Christi

Pope Pius XII stated in his encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi those reforms were intended to establish Eastern Catholics as equal parts of the Catholic Church.[10]

Later developments

Further information: Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches

These individual canon law reforms of Pope Pius XII were revised in 1991. The Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches for members of the Eastern Catholic Churches were promulgated on 18 October 1990 by Pope John Paul II and came into effect on 1 October 1991.[11]

See also


  1. ^ Korolevsky, Cirillo (1938). "La méthode d'élaboration du code de droit canonique oriental". Revue des sciences religieuses. 18 (3): 293–318. doi:10.3406/rscir.1938.1763.
  2. ^ Agostino, Marc (1991). "Le Pape Pie XI et l'opinion (1922-1939)". Publications de l'École Française de Rome. 150 (1). Persée - Portail des revues scientifiques en SHS.
  3. ^ Acta Apostolicae Sedis, vol. 21, p. 669
  4. ^ "Catholic Church. Pontificia Commissio ad redigendum Codicem iuris canonici orientalis - Social Networks and Archival Context". snaccooperative.org. Retrieved 2021-01-25.
  5. ^ AAS 1949, 89-119.
  6. ^ AAS 1950 5-120.
  7. ^ AAS 1952, 65-120.
  8. ^ AAS 1957, 433-603.
  9. ^ Herder Korrespondenz Orbis Catholicus, (HK) 13, 84.
  10. ^ Encyclical Mystici corporis Christi on the Vatican website Archived March 17, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution Sacri Canones of 18 October 1990.