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Reviewed by:
  • La Peine Canonique de la Suspense
  • Roch Pagé, Judicial Vicar
La Peine Canonique de la Suspense, by Jacques Mukinyi Kadat, Thesis ad Doctoratum in Jure Canonico partim edita. Rome: Pontificia Universitas Sanctae Crucis-Facultas Juris Canonici, 2008.

This is a doctoral thesis on the nature of suspension in canon law. It is in fact a commentary on this penalty in the 1983 Code with a comparison with the same penalty in the Codex Juris canonici orientalis in a last chapter. But it is not a systematic study of the subject in the two codes.

As any thesis of that kind, it begins with a good chapter on the historical evolution of the suspension through the history of the Church from the official documents in different centuries. This first chapter is followed by an overview of the suspension in the 1917 Code (chapter II), the history of the revision of the same law after Vatican II (chapter III), the penalty of suspension in the 1983 Code (chapter IV) and finally, the suspension in the Code [End Page 325] of the Canons of Eastern Churches preceded by a short history of the formation of the Eastern Code of Canon Law.

This thesis does not bring anything new to the topic. Its main interest comes from the fact that it is a good summary of the whole issue and that he considers the suspension in the Eastern Code, pointing out the main differences between the two Codes. It is interesting to consider that one of those differences concerns the fact that the Eastern Code does not distinguish between latæ sententiæ and ferendæ sententiæ penalties and therefore, there are no latæ sententiæ penalties in the Eastern Code. If the Holy See was to revise Book VI of the 1983 Code, it might prove beneficial to take into account that since there are no latæ sententiæ penalties in the Eastern Code, the presumption of innocence is more respected in the Eastern Churches than in the Latin Church. Latæ sententiæ penalties tend to weaken any legal protection afforded by the presumption of innocence.

The presentation is not very good: there are a lot of typos, some words do not exist in the French dictionary, the quotation of the canons in Latin in the full text is boring; they should be quoted in French in the text with a quotation in the original language in footnotes. The conclusion of each chapter and the general conclusion consist of a summary of what is written in the chapter and in the whole study. As a matter of fact, it is not really an interesting study.

This being said, this publication could be useful for someone who wants to have a good idea of the penalty of suspension in both Codes of Canon Law. [End Page 326]

Roch Pagé, Judicial Vicar
Canadian Appeal Tribunal
Ottawa, Ontario


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