Francis Messner, Sects in Europe,
51/1, 2001, p. 5-19.
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,
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,
51/1, 2001, p. 43-73.
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
Jean-Pierre Bastian, Some contemporary protestant approaches regarding sects,
51/1, 2001, p. 75-88.
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.
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,
51/1, 2001, p. 101-111.
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,
51/1, 2001, p. 113-125.
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,
51/1, 2001, p. 141-161.
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,
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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”
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.
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
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.
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.
The article sets our various interpretations of Canon 915 as well as some
new suggestions which have been made recently on the matter.
Christopher Twohig, Cork
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