Tribunal - Tribunal Staff and the Code of Canon Law | Diocese of Lansing

Tribunal - Tribunal Staff and the Code of Canon Law

Beyond marriage cases, the Tribunal staff treats a varied and ever-changing range of situations. The diocese and its institutions face questions and decisions that involve widely assorted Church legal issues. But the Code of Canon Law is both complex and comprehensive. In part, the Code . . .

  • presents the rights and obligations of the lay faithful, clergy, and religious in the Church.
  • provides rules for financial, real estate, contractual and personnel decisions in the Church.
  • includes ways to settle grievances and remedy injustice within the Church.
  • regulates sanctions and penalties that Church authorities can impose.
  • sets steps to be followed when there is a trial in the Church.
  • covers worship, the celebration of sacraments, Catholic education and catechesis.

Church law is found in many other sources as well, and not all laws have equal weight. Special expertise is needed to interpret legal texts correctly. Thus, the Bishop, diocesan offices and parishes often ask canon lawyers for review and advice as they make critical decisions or develop policies in harmony with the spirit and letter of Church law. Requests for assistance by persons outside the diocesan staff are best done by phone or letter. Since effective ministry requires a working knowledge of Church law, the canon lawyers of the Tribunal are involved with the education of Church ministers. They may teach classes or give presentations about Church law. When disputes arise or rights are violated in the Church, canon lawyers may provide consultation or advocacy. They may answer questions people have about Church law and how it applies to their circumstances and options. All who practice canon law are obliged to recall that the supreme law of the Church is the salvation of souls.

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