Many members of the Catholic Church today--clergy as well as laity--find no useful purpose for the Church's legal structure, or canon law. They may view canon law as arbitrary, antiquated, or even a hindrance to the movement of the Spirit, especially within the context of developments following the Second Vatican Council. Kevin E. McKenna counters this attitude with an overview of the positive features of Church law and a modern analysis of the canonical tradition of the Church. /// McKenna argues that the utilization of canon law in the Church today is not only desirable, but necessary and that it can be highly constructive when the law is viewed as a ministry of service. The call of the Church since Vatican II has been towards communion--with Christ, among Christians, and between local churches. The concept of communion provides a structure and a path that can clarify and encourage individual participation in developing the common good. /// After a discussion of the development of Church law and the effect Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II have had on contemporary canon law, McKenna's work underscores the role of canon law in highlighting the rights of all members of the Church. Canon law is necessary to assist in the orderly carrying out of the gospel demands and to protect the freedom of individual Church members. Practical applications of canon law include the annulment process and alternatives for resolving disputes within the Christian community. /// The Ministry of Law in the Church Today provides practical guidance and rationale for the role of law in the Church for pastoral ministers who are accustomed to seeing canon law as a problem rather than a solution. This book will also appeal to laity who harbor a curiosity about the usefulness of Church law in everyday Christian life.
Kevin E. McKenna is the pastor of the Cathedral Community in Rochester, New York. He is former President of the Canon Law Society of America, and has published several books and numerous articles on Church law and other topics.