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  • Editor's Introduction
  • Kurt Martens

In my introduction to The Jurist 75 (2015) 2, I wrote that current or recent legislative initiatives at the universal level may at times interfere with academic planning and call for changes of publication plans. When Pope Francis simplified and changed the procedure for the declaration of nullity of marriages with the promulgation of the motu proprio Mitis iudex Dominus Iesus for the Latin Church and the motu proprio Mitis et misericors Iesus for the Eastern Catholic Churches, the plan for that issue was changed and priority was given to the publication of commentaries to assist our readership and the many practitioners in implementing the new normative framework. Something similar happened again, albeit with less consequences for most canon lawyers: with the promulgation of the apostolic constitution Vultum Dei quaerere (June 29, 2016), Pope Francis made certain changes to women's contemplative life. Therefore, contributions on this apostolic constitution are both very much appropriate and necessary.

In a first article, His Eminence, Walter Cardinal Brandmüller, President Emeritus, Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, Vatican City, and former ordinary professor of Church History at the University of Augsburg, Germany, reflects on the renuntiatio papae, following the announcement of Pope Benedict XVI on February 11, 2013. That announcement came totally unexpected, and several questions were raised at that time. The author addresses a number of these questions, and starts by calling [End Page 307] attention to similar events in history, in which one believes precedents can be recognized.

On February 18, 2016, His Eminence, Wilfrid Cardinal Napier, OFM, Archbishop of Durban, South Africa, gave the 2016 Cardinal Dearden Lecture at the School of Theology and Religious Studies of The Catholic University of America. The cardinal reflects on collegiality and synodality, in particular during the 2014 and 2015 Synods of Bishops celebrated in Rome. He draws from a vast episcopal experience.

Pope Francis has generally been described by mainstream media as the "Pope of Mercy" or the "Pope of Charity." Canonists admittedly take another view, by citing also Pope Benedict XVI as a "Pope of Charity," due to his influential encyclical Deus caritas est (2005) and the motu proprio Intima Ecclesiae natura (2012). His Excellency, Most Reverend Bernard A. Hebda, Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, MN, took this motu proprio as the theme for the Thirteenth Annual James H. Provost Memorial Lecture he gave at the School of Canon Law of The Catholic University of America on March 10, 2016. The author explains how canon law connects with caritas, and skillfully addresses the challenges to compliance with the motu proprio in the U.S. context.

On November 3, 2016, His Excellency, Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory, Archbishop of Atlanta, GA, delivered the Tenth Annual Monsignor Frederick R. McManus Memorial Lecture at the School of Canon Law of The Catholic University of America. The theme of his lecture was liturgical preaching in the 21st century. The author argues that, when considering the future of the Church in the United States and throughout the world, and the task of the new evangelization in an increasingly secular and even "post-Christian" society, certainly in the Western world, the significance of the homily is more crucial than ever. He starts with a historical survey of the evolution of liturgical preaching over the centuries leading up to the Second Vatican Council and the implementation of the liturgical reforms. He then considers the homily in light of recent magisterial documents, including Pope Benedict XVI's post-synodal apostolic exhortation Verbum Domini and Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium. In conclusion, he addresses the U.S. context, and the challenges to faithful preaching in an increasingly multicultural and diverse Church that is the North American reality today in the 21st century. [End Page 308]

In its articles, The Jurist aims to ensure all areas of canon law are reasonably covered. As is often noted, consecrated life is not always given its proper place in the canonical world. That comment does not apply to The Jurist: three of the ten articles in this issue deal directly with book II of the code of canon law, in particular the section on consecrated life. Two of...


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