Religion: Easing the Rule of Law

The Pope issues a new and more flexible code for Catholics

Rather like an American President signing a bill into law, Pope John Paul II, flanked by seven top-ranking aides, last week put his name to a document at a ceremony he proudly called "a historic event." The moment deserved such solemn words; the Pope was promulgating a new code of canon law, to take effect Nov. 27, that is intended to govern in detail the religious practices of 796 million Roman Catholics around the world.* It is the first revision of the statutes since 1917.

The code is the latest manifestation of...

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