From the Church Law Society



A Lecture from the Lecture Series The Effects of Law on Society and the Church


The Church Law Society and the Law Chapter of the Czech Christian Academy organized the 60th event in the lecture series on Monday, 30 November 2009; the topic was “Decisions of the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic in Matters of State Law on Churches.” The panel discussion took place in room 220 of the Law School of Charles University in Prague and was well attended by members of the Church Law Society from Bohemia and Moravia and the general public. Doc. JUDr. Jan Kysela, Ph.D., from the Department of Theory of Law and Legal Thought of the Law School of Charles University in Prague spoke about the role of constitutional courts in new democracies. JUDr. Jan Klail, an attorney and the legal representative of the Roman Catholic Diocese in Pilsen, discussed court proceedings in the matter of the Mass Foundation of Dean Josef Schöniger, Olšová Vrata, and in other matters concerning Church entities before courts in the Czech Republic. A number of participants took part in the discussion following the presentations.


A Visit from the Canton of Thurgau


On Friday, 11 December 2009, the Church Law Society leadership, located in the office of the Society in Prague 3, Sudoměřská 25, enjoyed a distinguished visit from the following representatives of the Catholic Church Council of the Canton of Thurgau, Switzerland: Mr. Peter Hungerbühler, President of the Council, Mr. Urs Brosi, Executive Officer and Secretary General, and Mr. August Biedermann, Council Actuary, and his wife. The guests were informed about the activities of the Society since it moved its offices to its new location; the guests expressed their support for the Society.


Recognition from Rome


H.E. S.E.R.C. Zenon Grocholewski, the Prefect of the Roman Congregation for Catholic Education, once again recognized the achievements of the Church Law Review in his Christmas greetings. We recall with gratitude his lasting support for conferences on Canon Law that have been organized every year at the seat of the Diocesan Bishop in Spišská Kapitula (Slovakia) by the Slovak Canon Law Society; a number of members of the Church Law Society have participated in the conferences. We also recall his extremely interesting lecture during his visit to the Prague Church Court in 1994. The Church Law Review printed the Latin sermon that he delivered in 1994 in the Benedictine Monastery Church of St. Margaret in PragueBřevnov, which was addressed to members of Church courts (Church Law Review 2/95, pp. 123 – 125).


A.R.P. Roberto Ombres, OP, the Procurator Generalis of the Dominican Order and a member of the Church Law Society, regularly follows the Church Law Review. We appreciate the warm words of encouragement that he expresses each time he receives a new issue of the Review, as he did again in December 2009. We recall the pleasant visit of three representatives of the Church Law Society to his Dominican priory in Oxford in 2000, and another visit to his Dominican General Curia at St. Sabina during a pilgrimage to Rome in 2005.




On 4 December 2009, P. prof. ICDr. Mgr. MVDr. Konštanc Miroslav Adam, OP, was appointed Dean of the Canon Law School of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome (Angelicum), and on 10 December 2009 he was appointed Vice-President (Vice Rettore) of the University. He was born in 1963 in Michalovce in Slovakia, where he worked from 1987-1990 as a veterinarian and bacteriologist. In February 1989 he joined a secret novitiate of the Dominican Order and from 1990-1995 studied theology at the Sts Cyril and Methodius School of Theology of Palacký University in Olomouc. He worked in the Church administration in the parish BratislavaKalvária and later studied Canon Law at the Angelicum in Rome from 1996-2001, where he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Canon Law. In 2001 he was appointed Provincial of the newly established Slovak Dominican Province. He taught Canon Law at Trnava University in Slovakia and at the Theological Institute of St. Thomas Aquinas in Kiev (Ukraine); he also served as a judge of the Metropolitan Tribunal in Košice in Slovakia.


Since October 2005 P. prof. Adam has been a professor of Canon Law at the Angelicum in Rome; since 2006 he has also been a judge of the Interdiocesan Tribunal for the Rome Diocese and other dioceses in the Latium region. For the past two years he also has served as a defensor vinculi at the Metropolitan Tribunal in Los Angeles, CA (USA). He conducted his research at Catholic University in Lille (France), the Pontifical University in Salamanca (Spain), and at Providence College, RI (USA). He is one of the founding members of the Church Law Society, which he co-founded in January 1995.


On 15 December 2009 the Holy Father appointed Mons. ICDr. Stanislav Zvolenský, the Metropolitan and Archbishop of Bratislava, a judge of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome. For a number of years Mons. Zvolenský was the head of the Canon Law Department of the Sts Cyril and Methodius School of Theology of Comenius University in Bratislava. He has been a member of the Church Law Society/Prague since 26 August 1998.




Brief News


Presentation of a Czech Translation of the Jerusalem Bible


A Czech translation of the Jerusalem Bible was presented in the historical Baroque refectory of the Dominican monastery at St. Giles in Prague on 30 November 2009. It took more than 30 years to prepare the translation, which is now published by the Carmelite Publishing House in Kostelní Vydří and by the Publishing House Krystal OP in Prague. The work was translated by Professor PhDr. František X. Halas and PhDr. Dagmar Halasová, who are husband and wife; the Dominican Order cooperated with the translators during its secret activities in Czechoslovakia before 1989. Most notably, a former Provincial of the Order and the current Bishop of the Hradec Králové Diocese, Mons. ThLic. Dominik Duka, OP, provided great assistance to the translators. A number of prominent theologians from Bohemia and Moravia took part in specialized editing, and technical experts also invested significant and detailed work in the publication.


Motu Proprio Omnium in mentem by Benedict XVI Amends Certain Provisions of the Code of Canon Law


The text of Motu Proprio Omnium in mentem by Benedict XVI, dated 26 October 2009, was presented in the Vatican on 15 December 2009; the document amends certain provisions of the Code of Canon Law in two areas.


The first area is the canons on the holy orders, in which the diaconia of liturgy, word and charity function of deacons is clarified. After this clarification the function of acting “in the person of Christ” − the Head of the Church (in persona Christi Capitis) – is no longer attributed to deacons.


The second area is marriage law, where certain exemptions are eliminated; these exemptions were originally made to the requirement of the Canon Law compliant form of marriage and concerned the obstacle of difference of religion and prohibition of mixed marriages for Catholics who defected from the Catholic Church by a formal act (actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia Catholica). The significance and formal requirements of this legal act were refined in 2006 by the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts; this amendment returns the legal regulation to the previous status under the former Code of Canon Law that was promulgated in 1917.


This Motu Proprio has not yet been officially promulgated; the promulgation should occur through its publication in Acta Apotolicæ Sedis (AAS), and according to Canon 8 CIC/1983 the law will be effective three months after the date of publication in an AAS issue. The Church Law Review has prepared a translation but will publish it after the official promulgation; it will be published with an appendix documenting the amendments to CIC/1983 and CCEO as introduced by this Motu Proprio and also by the Motu Proprio of John Paul II Ad tuendam fidem from 1998 (a translation of which was published in Review No. 10 – 2/98 at pp. 124-127). The Church Law Review is also preparing articles on the topic.