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Church Law in Modernity
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Book description

Natural law has long been considered the traditional source of Roman Catholic canon law. However, new scholarship is critical of this approach as it portrays the Catholic Church as static, ahistorical, and insensitive to cultural change. In its attempt to stem the massive loss of effectiveness being experienced by canon law, the church has to reconsider its theory of legal foundation, especially its natural law theory. Church Law in Modernity analyses the criticism levelled at the church and puts forward solutions for reconciling church law with modernity by revealing the historical and cultural authenticity of all law, and revising the processes of law making. In a modern church, there is no way of thinking of the law without the participation of the faithful in legislation. Judith Hahn therefore proposes a reformed legislative process for the church in the hope of reconciling the natural law origins of church law with a new, modern theology.


‘Judith Hahn's Church Law in Modernity is the best study of Catholic canon law I have seen. It ably makes the key concepts in canon law interesting to a more general audience, especially those interested in jurisprudence and comparative law.'

David Novak - J. Richard and Dorothy Shiff Professor of Jewish Studies and Philosophy, University of Toronto

‘This book provides a fascinating window into the condition of the doctrines of natural law and ecclesiology in German Catholicism.'

Matthew Levering - James N. and Mary D. Perry, Jr Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary

‘Hahn's book covers a wide range of topics drawn from various disciplines, assembled coherently and rigourously. Natural law and its relation to Catholic canon law, a global system regulating well over a billion faithful, is examined in a multi-faceted way that is both panoramic and specific, concluding with fifty theses that will generate and facilitate discussion.'

Robert Ombres - University of Oxford

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