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  • La dimension juridique du sacré by Dominique Le Tourneau
  • Sean O. Sheridan T.O.R.
La dimension juridique du sacré, by Dominique Le Tourneau. Montréal: Wilson & Lafleur, Ltée, 2012. Pp. v–449.

In La dimension juridique du sacré, Dominique Le Tourneau makes another valuable contribution to the Gratianus Collection Series of canon law resources. As canonists know, “For the most part the Code does not define the rites which must be observed in celebrating liturgical actions” (c. 2). As a result, there are a variety of sources for the norms that regulate the celebration of these liturgical actions, which Le Tourneau has brought together and expounded upon in this volume. The book is divided into three parts with a total of twenty-two chapters. Part I includes the historical development of liturgy and its regulation (17–79). Part II moves to a consideration of the juridical component of liturgical actions (81–204). Part III addresses the involvement of members of the laity in the various liturgical and sacramental actions (205–425).

Le Tourneau presents five chapters in Part I that consider important background information essential to an understanding of current liturgical norms. Chapter 1 considers the formation of liturgy from the time of Christ through the apostolic tradition and the works of the early bishops (17–27). A variety of early liturgical traditions, such as the Ambrosian rite, are addressed in Chapter 2 (29–46). Chapter 3 presents a discussion of various liturgical books, such as early sacramentaries and considers the influence of monasteries on liturgical development (47–54). In Chapter 4, Le Tourneau addresses the influence of the Council of Trent and the Tridentine reform of the liturgy (55–63). Finally, Chapter 5 reviews the liturgical developments of the 19th century through the Second Vatican Council (65–79).

In the second part of this book, Le Tourneau turns specifically to the juridical nature of the sacred and its incorporation into canon law. Chapter 6 takes up the distinction between liturgical law and canon law (81–90), while Chapter 7 addresses general considerations about liturgical law (91–103). In Chapter 8, Le Tourneau presents a helpful discussion of the various sources in which liturgical law can be located (105–123), while in Chapter 9, he considers the individuals or ecclesiastical bodies that promulgate these laws (125–137). Chapter 10 addresses the role of natural law in liturgical law (139–162) and Chapter 11 considers important theological themes deriving from Vatican II, such as communio, and how they are to be incorporated into the application of these juridical norms (163–204). [End Page 298]

Finally, in Part III, Le Tourneau considers in depth the role of the members of the Christian faithful in a variety of liturgical matters (205– 425). In Chapter 12, he considers the role of the lay faithful in liturgy, in general (205–252). Chapter 13 discusses the law related to the sacraments (253–270). The subsequent chapters consider the role of the lay faithful in particular sacraments: in Chapter 14, the sacrament of baptism (271–281); in Chapter 15, the sacrament of confirmation (283–287); in Chapter 16, the sacrament of Eucharist (289–338); in Chapter 17, the sacrament of reconciliation (339–367); in Chapter 18, the sacrament of anointing of the sick (369–370); in Chapter 19, the sacrament of orders (371–388); and in Chapter 20, the sacrament of marriage (389–394). Le Tourneau takes up the discussion of additional norms that regulate other liturgical rites of the Church, such as the liturgy of the hours and ecclesiastical funerals in Chapter 21 (395–409), and he concludes Part III with a discussion of the Church as sacrament in Chapter 22 (411–425).

Le Tourneau should be commended for this valuable contribution to the study of norms that regulate liturgical law. This volume is quite clear and presents an in-depth discussion of these principles. The reader should consider this work as a valuable resource when addressing issues related to the celebration of the sacraments and sacramentals of the Church. Le Tourneau’s book will be of interest to canonists and liturgists, particularly to those who are adept with the French...


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