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254 the jurist INTRODUCCIÓN AL ESTUDIO DE LAS PRELATURAS by Antonio Viana. Pamplona, 2006. Pp. 148. In his book Introducción al estudio de las prelaturas, Viana offers in four chapters a concise overview of the history and various types of prelatures in canon law.After an introduction, he explores in chapter one the historical roots of prelates and prelatures (Raíces históricas de los prelados y las prelaturas). He focuses first on the evolution of the concepts “prelate” and “prelature” and he explains the classical meaning in canon law of the concept “prelate”. He then looks into the postTridentine classification of lower prelates. The chapter ends with some considerations about types of prelatures: territorial vs. personal prelatures . Chapter two is entirely dedicated to the territorial prelatures (Las prelaturas territoriales). The author starts with the regulation in the 1917 Code of Canon Law and then focuses on the application of the concept of territorial prelatures. In this context, he gives four examples of territorial prelatures that are in fact more personal than territorial, among them the military vicariates and the Mission de France. The third part of this chapter is a short discussion of the current law on territorial prelatures. Chapter three addresses personal prelatures (Las prelaturas personales).After an introduction on personal prelatures at Vatican II and the transitory norms issued by Paul VI, the author then focuses on the place of the norms on personal prelatures in the code. He offers an overview of the current law on personal prelatures, and explains their significance for the hierarchical organization of the Church. Likewise, he points to three circumscriptions that are close to personal prelatures (among them, according to the author, the military ordinariate, and the personal apostolic administration). The fourth and last chapter in this book is entirely dedicated to the only existing personal prelature: Opus Dei (La Prelatura del Opus Dei). Topics such as the erection of the Opus Dei as a personal prelature, its organization and government, pastoral and apostolic work, and its relation with particular churches or dioceses are addressed. There is an epilogue with some theological considerations about prelatures. Furthermore, a list with norms and documents on prelatures is included, as well as a selected and annotated bibliography. The author must be praised for writing such a concise book on a new and quite difficult subject. There are some points of critique though. The bibliography is partially annotated; the author deems it necessary to point out the publications he estimates not the best to read. Those annotated publications (e.g., from Benz or Ghirlanda) are somewhat critical of per- sonal prelatures.This approach seems unfair; a discussion about views on certain aspects of a topic should be done in the text, not the bibliography. Some parts of the text could have been more developed. The author mentions the discussion about personal prelatures in the plenary of the Code Revision Commission, but only in a footnote and as a reference (page 52, footnote 4). Such a discussion and the various positions should have been mentioned at least summarily. The author employs a broad interpretation of the term “portion of the people of God”.All hierarchical structures are included, not only particular churches (pp. 70–71). In the same mindset, he points to the similarity between personal prelatures and military ordinariates (p. 74). It remains to be seen if readers are prepared to follow him on this path.The author underlines the flexibility of personal prelatures to respond to pastoral needs, especially in a world that is more and more on the road (p. 79 and p. 82). This is an important argument, but what are the ecclesiological implications of such a statement? In summary: the book is a good introduction; however, as stated earlier , it is impossible to deal with all aspects of the topic in so few pages. The strength of the book is at once its weakness. A reader interested in further study of the topic will want to read other publications on the topic. A good start could be the bibliography at the end of the book, particularly the publications somewhat criticized by the author. Kurt Martens School of Canon Law...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2326-6236
Print ISSN
0022-6858
Pages
pp. 254-255
Launched on MUSE
2016-07-06
Open Access
No
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