chapter  Chapter 6
34 Pages

Justice in the Church

WithMichael M. Winter

Very few rights are guaranteed for the members of the Church in the Code of Canon Law. One of these rare concessions is the statement in Canon 213 that the laity have the right to receive the sacraments. Although the Catholic Church has proclaimed admirable principles of justice for the consumption of society at large, the implementation of those same principles within the community of the Church raises some disquieting questions. In the absence of legal safeguards for human rights, the Church’s own authorities not infrequently deal with their own subjects in a manner which falls far below the standards of justice, equity, and openness which are taken for granted in modern democratic societies. The treatment of the heroic priests of the underground Church in Czechoslovakia leads one logically to consider what safeguards exist in Church law to protect the rights of the Church’s members against possible abuse from the system within which they work.