Foreword Introduction


Foreword Introduction
"When a priest is accused it is not just his job on the line, but his calling, his reputation, his
ability to ever 'work' again in his chosen 'field', his friends are limited, his circle of support is
also limited and also his financial concerns are tied to this accusation in essence, it is an all or
nothing proposition."
(Robert J. Flumerfelt, "Canon Law: an Overview for the Civil Attorneys seeking to Assist and Defend Priests," 2015, p. 32,
commissioned by Justice for Priests & Deacons)
The following pages on justice in the Church, as seen through the eyes of Pope Paul VI, were
authored by the Rev. Francis Morrissey, OMI before the 1983 Code was promulgated. However,
the topics addressed are just as relevant and timely in the Church today.
"Over the past 15 years since he became pope, Paul VI has spoken on some 40 occasions about the role
of Canon Law in the life of the church, its importance in the renewal underway, and its essential place
in the life of every believer."
"Any social life of humans has as its foundation the practice of justice, which is not based on a
subjective approach, on situation ethics, or a philosophy of doing what is opportune. Rather, justice
is what brings peace to others. 'There is no true peace except in justice. And true justice is not found
in a legislation that is imposed by one or another group because of its strong position in society. It is
found, on the contrary, in the concern for assuring even better protection for natural rights.' The first
blessing which justice brings forward is indeed peace: 'peace with God and peace among the faithful.'
Justice, therefore, and the juridical life of the Church, have no other purpose, it seems, than of being 'a
pastoral means of constantly fostering and preserving peace.'"
"Canonical equity, the fruit of benignity and charity, is 'justice tempered with the sweetness of
mercy.' It is the qualitative character of the precepts of law and the norm of their applications.
Especially, 'it is an attitude of the mind and spirit that tempers the rigor of the law. It is a human
corrective element and a force for proper balance.'"
"Suffice it for the moment to state that 'in Canon Law it is equity which governs the application of
norms to concrete cases, with the Salvation of souls as the goal which is always kept in view.
Equity takes the form of mildness, mercy and pastoral charity and seeks not a rigid application of
law but the true welfare of the faithful.'"
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