Les Conciles Particuliers dans L’eglise Latine Enjeux des canons 439–446 du Code de 1983 by Faustin Diatezulwa-Mbungu (review)
- The Jurist: Studies in Church Law and Ministry
- The Catholic University of America Press
- Volume 71, Number 2, 2011
- pp. 462-464
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- Additional Information
462 the jurist and the index of canons of the 1983 code and the code of Eastern churches all provide a handy guide for the manual’s use. Huels’ latest edition of The Pastoral Companion is informative and practical; it serves to challenge the pastoral minister to ground application of ecclesial legislation in good theology and ecclesiology. Referring to Huels’work before acting is as always wise, since he reminds us of the highest value of church law: salus animarum suprema lex. T. Mark Condon Our Lady of the Holy Angels Little Falls, New Jersey LES CONCILES PARTICULIERS DANS L’EGLISE LATINE Enjeux des canons 439–446 du Code de 1983 by Faustin DiatezulwaMbungu . European University Studies Theology Series 882. Bern: Peter Lang, 2009. The present theological-canonical work on particular councils is a thesis submitted to the Faculty of Theology of the University of Fribourg in Switzerland by a Spiritan priest, who currently teaches theology at the Theological School of Ngoya in Cameroon and canon law in the Department of Canon law at the Institut Catholique de Yaoundé. It is a rather interesting contribution to the world of post-conciliar reflection on synodal structures in the Church. Subsequent to Vatican II there has been a welcome revitalization of collegial/synodal structures in the Church, e.g., episcopal conferences, synods of bishops, and diocesan synods. This reflects a sharper sense of the constitutional implications of communio, which is grounded in baptism under the influence of the Spirit and nourished by word and sacrament . And in the case of diocesan synods the laity have frequently contributed to their success in the various local churches. Such structures are indispensable if the Church is to take cognizance of ecclesial reality in its local dimension. Certain older synodal institutions which had fallen into oblivion were also encouraged by Vatican II, e.g., plenary and provincial councils. Regrettably , however, they have not been notably highlighted since the council. Few have been held during the past four decades, and neither theologians nor canonists have devoted much attention to such structures perhaps because of the relative success of episcopal conferences in addressing pastoral concerns. This work by D-M makes a plea for the renewed celebration of such councils throughout the Church but especially in Africa. Such entities seem to be more promising an approach than the pan-African council called for by some to address broad ecclesial concerns. However, this kind of council might be genuinely successful after there have been some positive experiences of particular councils in various countries. Unfortunately despite the solid theological-canonical foundations of such particular councils, they have not been implemented in practice by contrast to the more efficient and practical episcopal conferences, which are undertaking tasks and addressing issues once within the exclusive purview of such councils. In a certain sense the current work is also an effort at reflecting on certain tensions in Holy See-particular church relationships in view of possibly shaping the ius condendum. The author is concerned about the current use of the institute of recognitio, which seems to him to be an overly centralized instrument of governance which tends to undercut the healthy decisional autonomy of the local churches. In addressing these matters the author offers some helpful insights on the complex reality of synodality: its effective realization, limits, and prospects for the future. The author concentrates almost exclusively on highlighting the importance and continuing viability of particular councils as expressions of collegiality and synodality. A key point for him is their facilitating the broad participation of the faithful. He devotes relatively little attention to synodal structures at other levels except for the exclusively episcopal conferences of bishops, which are a prime point of comparison in his analysis. He highlights the basis for such councils in the code by contrast to a proposed pan-African council for which there is no comparable canonical legitimation. This rather challenging work is divided into three main parts. Part one examines the history of such councils and focuses especially on their celebration from Vatican II to the 1983 code. Part two provides a detailed analysis especially of canons 439–446 on such councils in their broad Book Two context...