Canon Law Themes For Today

Rev. Dr Sahayaraj Lourdusamy, a renowned Canonist in India with many books and articles to his credit, has gifted one more book to the Church titled, Canon Law Themes for Today on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee Year of his Sacerdotal Ordination. The book offers a bold and refreshing vision of the role of law within the Catholic Church—not as an instrument of control, but as a guide and guarantee of freedom for canonist and the faithful.

The first six topics of this book are more ecclesiastical in nature, and the remaining four speak about the life of the faithful in the secular world. Being a Canonist and a registered civil advocate, he is the best person to pen his experiences for the good of the Church.

The book's Foreword is by His Eminence, Oswald Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay and the most respected Canonist in India, where he praises Dr Sahayaraj's clear, legal explanations, and gives special mention to the context in which these are presented. He writes, "The necessity of collaboration of Canon Law and Civil Law also comes out clearly. Fr Sahayaraj has tried to harmonise the two, showing how, while one is subject to both laws, this is not an unduly heavy burden and does not lead to an impossible situation." This aspect of Fr Sahayaraj's book is particularly helpful.

Each chapter is based on wide-ranging research and gives the history of how a current canonical prescription developed originally and has been shaped by time—the 1917 Code, Vatican II Documents, the 1983 Code, and recent, authoritative interpretations. There are frequent quotes from recent popes, including Pope Francis. The emphasis is not so much on legalities, though these are presented clearly, but on the pastoral dimension and on the spirit of the law.