RDC t. 51/1, June 2001



résumés en français    Zusammenfassungen


Francis Messner, Sects in Europe

RDC 51/1, 2001, p. 5-19.

An analysis of the phenomenon of sects in Europe raises the ques­tion of how to define a sect. Statues relating to worship have been worked out for and frequently with the collaboration of the churches and the main-stream religious. Recently they have been extended so as to apply to minority religious. However, sects, religious groupings which are controversial in society, do not come within the purview of those statutes. The legal status of Scientology and the Jehovah Witnesses is an instance of this.


Vincente Fortier, Legislative framework relating to Sects in France,

RDC 51/1, 2001, p. 21-42.

On June 12, 2001 France enacted a law purporting to give effect to measures in order to prevent and repress sects  which tend to undermine human rights and fundamental liberties. The stages through which the bill passed before being adopted into law are significant. Three problems are studied here: how frame legislation specific to sects without infringing the neutrality of the State in the matter of religious conviction? How define a sect in legal terms? Why did the offence of “mental manipulation” (brain-washing), as provided in the bill, become the taking advantage of those of weak mind?


Philippe Le Vallois, Definition of Sect and the attitude of the Roman Catholic Church towards sects

RDC 51/1, 2001, p. 43-73.

Faced with the phenomenon of sects, attitudes within the  Catholic Church are developing in the direction of openness. The expression “new religious movement” is preferred to the word “sect” because it is less prejudicial and more precise. Having gone through a phase of rejection, the Church has gradually discovered a pastoral challenge in the “problem of sects” and has engaged in a dialogue with the movements which are the most integrated in the social fabric. Nevertheless, when it is faced with new religious movements, the Catholic Church still vacillates between intransigent opposition and  prudent openness.


Jean-Pierre Bastian, Some contemporary protestant approaches regarding sects

RDC 51/1, 2001, p. 75-88.

From a historical perspective the sect forms part of the protestant ethos. The ecclesiology of the Reformers is based on the universal priesthood of the faithful which quickly gave rise to numerous dissenting movements. Four approaches are set out; the sociological approach of Troeltsch, the position adopted by the protestant Federation of France, the approach adopted by the conference of Amsterdam in 1986 and the position taken by the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches in regard to the Order of the Temple of the Sun in 1994. The conclusion is that sects are never stigmatised, on the contrary protestants advocate vigilance, education and dialogue, while, at the same time, advocating the application of the legislation in force.


Bernard Paperon, Sects in Judaism,

RDC 51/1, 2001, p. 89-99.

The phenomenon of sects is very rare in modern-day Judaism. By way of example one might refer to a comparatively recent Jewish movement established by Philip Berg which manifests many of the characteristics of sects (ritual, structured system of belief, the omni­present importance of money, the undisputed charisma and authority attributed to the spiritual head). However, that appears to be an isolated case. The striking features in Judaism are the tension between orthodoxy and heterodoxy as well as problems arising from relations between Jews and non-Jews and the questions posed by various modern currents in the liberalisation of Judaism.


Michel Reeber, Religious dissidence and Islam: the case of the Ahmadiyya movement,

RDC 51/1, 2001, p. 101-111.

Religious dissent takes three forms in Islam. There is dissent which emanates from doctrinal disputes within the Islamic community itself, there is dissent which is provoked by measures of exclusion, there are counter-currents coming from groups which had their origin in Islam, but which underwent profound change through contact with currents of thought forming part of other religious traditions. The Ahmadiyya movement, having its origin among Indians of the Sunni rite, is part of this third group. It traces its roots to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Its organization is powerful and centralized. The movement is characterized by having available a large number of religious personnel to attend to those who are received into it, the extent and variety of the means used for publishing and promulgating their ideas and especially the respect shown to those who do not share the beliefs of Ahmadisme.


Guy Mazars, Sects and oriental religious,

RDC 51/1, 2001, p. 113-125.

Hindu and Buddhist “sects” which are based on authentic religious tradition do not correspondent with the image which the general public in the West entertains at present concerning sects, imagining them as groups indulging in reprehensible practices. The true teachings of oriental religions are far removed from the inferior orientalism into which western adherents of orientalist sects stray.


Edoardo Dieni, The Decree Pellegrini against Italy issued by the European Court of Human Rights,

RDC 51/1, 2001, p. 141-161.

Ecclesiastical Tribunals declared null the Pellegrini marriage. Through the process of “Exequatur” (in Italian “delibazione”) that judgment was recognized in Italian law and had civil effects. Mme Pellegrini, the Respondent, opposed the canonical nullity first and then the “Exequatur”. Then she had recourse to the European Court of Human Rights maintaining that her right to defence had not been respected in the Canonical process (art. 6 of the European Convention) and that Italy should have refused the “Exequatur”. The Court agreed with her Contention. The article analyses the Italian System of Exequatur in relation to decrees of ecclesiastical matrimonial tribunals, which system has undergone numerous developments since 1929. The article sets out the reasoning of the European Court examines the consequences which the decree will undoubtedly have for the harmoni­ous relationship between Italian Law and Canon Law.


Marcel Metzger, Theology and Canon Law, Victims of Systematisation,

RDC 51/1, 2001, p. 163-187.

The use of a system which is abstract results in problems in theology and canon law. For example, the word “priest” (in the singular) should be reserved to refer to Christ and should not be used for ordained ministers. Likewise, “presbyterorum ordo” does nor mean an “order of priests” or a “group of priests” but “dignity in the priesthood”. A greater attention to pastoral matters in the concrete should help to avoid falling into the trap of abstraction.


Translation Christopher Twohig

Retour au sommet de la page


RDC 51/2, December 2001

(issued february 2003)



résumés en français    Zusammenfassungen


Anders Winroth, The Florentine Manuscript of the Decree of Gratian. A critique of the works of Carlos Larrainzar on Gratian I

RDC 51/2, 2001, p.211-231.

The professor Carlos Larrainzar holds that the Florentine Manuscript (Fd) is not simply one of the extant copies of the first edition. It is, rather, the original manuscript of the second edition of the Decree, a manuscript on which Gratian himself personally worked. Such assertions are radical for a study of the Decree of Gratian. However, it is necessary to prove that they are well founded. A careful in-depth study of those assertions shows that they are based on assumptions which are ill-founded and even improbable.


Fred Paxton, Cause 13 of Gratian and the composition of the Decree

RDC 51/2, 2001, p. 233-249.

The study of Causa 13 in the manuscripts of St. Gall (Sg) and of Florence (Fd) confirms that Sg and Fd contain a text which is older than that of Friedberg (Fr). The canons of the short version are derived from the “collection of Anselm of Lucca”, from the “Tripartita” and from the “Three Books Collection” (3L). The “Polycarpus” does not appear to have been used. The long version drew on the same sources (especially 3L), also on the “Panormia” but makes no significant addition.

However, the over-all structure of Sg and Fd differs markedly. Sg has not “Prima Pars” and contains only thirty three Causae. But the first Causa of Sg contains canons which one finds again in the “Prima Pars” of Fd. Therefore, Sg may have been a first draft containing materials which eventually formed the Distinctiones of the “Prima Pars” of the Decree. It seems then that the short version is itself the produce of an earlier development. At least, this is a matter on which A Winroth and C. Larrainzar can agree.


José Miguel Viejo-Ximenez, The stages in the incorporation of the Roman texts in the Decree of Gratian

RDC 51/2, 2001, p. 251-260.

Since the year 1950, there is no longer any doubt about the fact that the Justinian Texts are the result of a complex process in the revision and enlargement of the Decree. However, to this day the question remains open as to the date at which this process began, what caused it and who were its principal champions. It seems that the incorporation of the Justinian Texts took place gradually, in stages, and that it resulted from the use of Gratian’s work for teaching purposes. The process began at an early date and was closely connected with the developing school of civil lawyers.


Marie-Cécile Minin, Some characteristics of the Decree of Gratian in the manuscript E.21, of the municipal library of Rouen

RDC 51/2, 2001, p. 261-278.

The municipal library of Rouen contains two manuscripts of the Decree of Gratian, one being the manuscript E.21 which comes from the abbey of Jumièges. The originality of the manuscript E.21 lies in the fact that the scribe was not content merely to copy the text which he had before him but went on to modify it substantially. He also added 167 new texts taken chiefly from the Liber ex Lege Moysi. The manuscript is older than is generally acknowledged (2nd half of the 12th century) and it is a copy of a still older manuscript.


Elizabeth Magnou-Nortier, On the Origin of the Cons­titu­tio­nes Sirmondianae

RDC 51/2, 2001, p. 279-303.

The “Sirmondianae” are a collection of sixteen or eighteen imperial ordinances relating to the law of worship, published generally as an annex to Book XVI of the Code of Theodosius. Most experts in Roman law accept their authenticity. However, they appear to have been composed in the middle of the 8th century by the scriptorium of the Cathedral of Lyon. Therefore, they belong to the same period as the False Donation of Constantine, but their spirit is different : the Lyons forgeries are “episcopalian” or “Gallican”, not “papal” or “Roman”.


Laurent Kondratuk, The code of 1917 : between technical exigency and intransigent Catholicism

RDC 51/2, 2001, p. 305-321.

The Code of Canon Law of 1917 is a response to the requests made by canonists and the Fathers of Vatican I to make canon law more accessible and to remove obsolete norms. Beside these requirements of a technical nature, historians of canon law mention other motives of an ideological nature. The codification (according to them) came about as a result of the avowed will of the Church, a perfect society, to assert its power of jurisdiction against the modern state. A re-reading of the motu proprio “Arduum Sane Munus” (1904) of Pius X announcing the work on the code highlights the second argument : the code should contribute to restoring a Christian social order, an objective of uncompromising policy of Pius X and his predecessors. This restoration should include the moulding of a well-formed clergy, anti-modernism and the formation of the faithful. Does the legislator reflect this policy ? Does the Code of 1917 savour of intransigence ? The reply is a qualified one.


Peter Erdo, The Codification of the law for Eastern Churches, is it Latinisation ?

RDC 51/2, 2001, p. 323-333.

Since the codification of the law for Oriental Churches has frequently been deemed to be “Latinisation”, it appears necessary to carry out an analysis in order to discover if those charges prove to have a basis and to what extent, if the answer is in affirmative. A brief survey of the history of the oriental code provides the answer to many questions, in particular the question as to whether the code, in so far as it is a specifically juridical work, is contrary tot he oriental tradition. – also the question to whether the Code of Canons for the Oriental Churches (CCEO) is an expression of Latinisation and whether the use of the Latin language should be regarded as Latinisation.


Richard Puza, The future of codification : application and interpretation of the Law

RDC 51/2, 2001, p. 335-346.

If one were to assess the application of the Code of 1983 over eighteen years and if one were to treat of the perspectives of this code, one could conclude that, for the present, it does not serve a useful purpose to produce a new code, but that it is necessary to develop fresh principles for the application and the interpretation of the code. The example of preaching by lay people is particularly instructive.


Bernard Schwengler, Religion and voting patterns in Alsace from the nineteen fifties to the presidential elections of “2002”

RDC 51/2, 2001, p. 347-372.

The object of this study is, firstly, to calculate the effect of the developing religious factor on voting patterns in Alsace, noting the permanence of this factor and being aware of the growing similarity of voting patterns in Catholic and Protestant commu­nities. Secondly, there is a question as to whether the protestant vote for the National Front, such as can be ascertained in Alsace after the presidential elections of 1988, is a specifically Alsatian phenomenon which warrants investigation and interpretation or whether it is merely a result of the involvement with Catholicism and the vote for the moderate right which has been noted for the whole of France.


Jean Werckmeister, The admission to the Sacraments of divorcees who have remarried and the interpretation of Canon 915

RDC 51/2, 2001, p.373-399.

The article sets our various interpretations of Canon 915 as well as some new suggestions which have been made recently on the matter.

Translation Christopher Twohig, Cork (Ireland)


Retour au sommet de la page

résumés en français