Saint Raymond of Peñafort, c. 1175–1275
Many of our Church laws are based on the Ten Commandments. Laws that are written for the Church are called "canon laws." Saint Raymond of Peñafort was a priest who studied canon law. There were many canon laws, but they were not organized into one place. The Pope asked Raymond to put all the canon laws in one book. He had to make sure no law was repeated. It was a big job! When all the laws were in one book, Saint Raymond became the head of the Dominican Order. He lived about 800 years ago.
Discuss: How do you follow the Ten Commandments?
Many of our Church laws are based on the Ten Commandments. Laws that are written for the Church are called “canon laws.” Saint Raymond of Peñafort was a priest who studied canon law. There were many canon laws, but they were not organized into one place. Pope Gregory IX asked Raymond to come to Italy to put all the canon laws in one book. He had to make sure no law was repeated. It was a big job! When all the laws were in one book, the Pope declared that only the versions of the laws in that book were the ones the Church should follow.
After he finished collecting the canon laws in one book, Saint Raymond was invited to become an archbishop. He chose to return to his home in Barcelona, Spain and rejoin his Dominican order. He then became the head of that order. Saint Raymond was especially interested in conversion, and encouraged Saint Thomas Aquinas to write a book to encourage missionaries in non-Christian lands. Saint Raymond lived about 800 years ago. He is the patron of canonists and canon law.
Code of Canon Law
Go online and pull up a copy of the Code of Canon Law. You can find this on the Vatican website or open up one of the PDF files available elsewhere for a file that is easier to work with.
"... a Code of Canon Law is absolutely necessary for the Church. Since the Church is established in the form of a social and visible unit, it needs rules, so that its hierarchical and organic structure may be visible; that its exercise of the functions divinely entrusted to it, particularly of sacred power and of the administration of the sacraments, is properly ordered; that the mutual relationships of Christ’s faithful are reconciled in justice based on charity, with the rights of each safeguarded and defined; and lastly, that the common initiatives which are undertaken so that Christian life may be ever more perfectly carried out, are supported strengthened and promoted by canonical laws."