CCBI Releases Complementary Norms to the Code of Canon Law and User Guide for Book VI of the Code of Canon Law
Bengaluru (CCBI): The Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) releases two books: “Complementary Norms to the Code of Canon Law” and “User Guide for Book VI of the Code of Canon Law”. His Eminence Filipe Neri Cardinal Ferrão released the two books during the 35th Plenary Assembly of the CCBI held on 30 January 2024 in Bangalore. Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Cardinal Anthony Poola, Abp. George Antonysamy, Abp. Anil Couto, Bp. Antonysamy Savarimuthu, Rev. Dr Stephen Alathara, Rev. Dr Merlin Rengith Ambrose, Mr Nigel Fernades and Mr Peter Purdue were present during the release ceremony.
The 34th Plenary Assembly of the CCBI held on 24-30 January 2023, unanimously voted the updated Complementary Norms presented by the Commission for Canon Law and Other Legislative Texts. The revised Complementary Norms consist of 43 general decrees and were approved by the Dicastery for the Evangelization on 8 August 2023.
Canon 455 authorizes Bishops’ Conferences to enact or adapt certain canonical provisions to suit the specific needs of their local Church. Building on this, the CCBI initially promulgated its own set of Complementary Norms in 1994. The many recent revisions in the Code of Canon Law involved a meticulous revision of existing Complementary Legislations by the CCBI’s Commission for Canon Law and Other Legislative Texts. The revision process was meticulously executed by Most Rev. Antonysamy Savarimuthu, the Chairman of the Commission and Rev. Dr. Merlin Rengith Ambrose, the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Rev. Dr. Stephen Alathara, the Deputy Secretary General, with their continued dedication, erudition and diligence. The insightful guidance of Cardinal Oswald Gracias steered the project towards precision. All these meticulous efforts and canonical erudition culminated in the revised legislation receiving the “recognitio” – official approval – from the Dicastery for Evangelization at the Holy See.
This extensive revision ensures that our Complementary Norms of CCBI remain aligned with the latest developments in the universal Church while addressing the specific context of the Catholic community in India. CCBI is grateful to the tireless efforts of the Commission members, whose expertise and dedication were instrumental in bringing this project to fruition. The revised Complementary Norms cover many areas, including ecclesiastical governance, pastoral ministry, and the administration of Church property. It provides clarity and guidance for dioceses, parishes, and individual members of the faithful in navigating various legal matters.
This significant update marks a new chapter in the legal framework of the Catholic Church in India. The revised Complementary Norms will serve as a valuable resource for Bishops, canonists, chancery officials, and pastoral ministers in ensuring the smooth functioning of the Church and effectively responding to the pastoral needs of the faithful, always remaining faithful to the magisterium of the Catholic Church.
The released publications, namely, Complementary Norms and the User Guide for Book VI of the Code of Canon Law stand as authoritative resources reflecting the comprehensive efforts of the CCBI, assisted by the Commission for Canon Law and Other Legislative Texts. The meticulous crafting of these documents stems from the collective wisdom and dedication exhibited during the assembly.