In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviewed by:
  • A Passion for Justice: An Introductory Guide to the Code of Canon Law
  • Robert W. Graffio
A Passion for Justice: An Introductory Guide to the Code of Canon Law, by G.J. Woodall. Herefordshire: Gracewing Ltd., 2011.

G.J. Woodall, priest of the Diocese of Nottingham, moralist (S.T.D.), canonist (J.C.L.), and professor at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome, has produced in this work a useful introduction to the Code of Canon Law for the non-specialist.

After giving an introduction to the function of canon law in historical perspective and an explanation of the revision of the Code in Chapter 1 (7-45), the author summarizes the canons in seventeen subsequent chapters: General Norms (46-80); Christ's Faithful (81-110); The Supreme Authority [End Page 306] of the Church (111-135); Particular Churches (136-177); Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (178-209); The Teaching Function of the Church (210-230); Liturgy and the Sacraments in General (231-254); The Sacraments of Initiation (255-294); The Sacraments of Healing (295-319); The Sacrament of Holy Orders (320-343); The Nature of Marriage (344-369); Impediments to Marriage and Matrimonial Consent (370-405); Canonical Form and Other Questions (406-428); Places, Times, and Other Acts of Divine Worship (429-438); The Temporal Goods of the Church (439-462); Penal Law (463-494); and Procedural Law (495-545). After a brief conclusion, the author provides treatment of a few additional topics in three appendices: Reception of Former Anglican Communities (549-553); Two Changes to the Code (554-556); and Procedures for Clerical Sexual Abuse of Minors and Other Grave Crimes (557-562). The book includes a detailed Table of Contents, Index of Modern Authors, General Index, thirty-one tables, and copious footnotes.

This work serves as a very solid introduction to the law of the Latin Church. Though the author's primary aim is to summarize the canons straightforwardly, he also provides some insightful general commentary throughout, including discussion of recent events and documents. Two particularly interesting excursus discussed the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite (usus antiquior) and the clerical sexual abuse of minors. In the latter, the author draws on his training in moral theology to analyze the crisis.

This book is very well suited for anyone with little or no prior knowledge of canon law. It can be read as a stand-alone work by someone interested in an overview, or used with great profit in conjunction with the text of the Code of Canon Law and with the Catechism of the Catholic Church. (The Code is cited all throughout the Catechism.) In this way, Woodall's book would make an excellent text for seminarians, permanent deacon candidates, lay theology students, self-studiers, and even priests who need a review or who studied canon law before 1983. A Passion for Justice is a valuable contribution to the effort to promote a greater knowledge of the law of the Latin Church. [End Page 307]

Robert W. Graffio
Archdiocese of San Francisco
Metropolitan Tribunal
San Francisco, CA


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 306-307
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.