Canon Law in the Anglican Communion: A Worldwide Perspective

Canon Law in the Anglican Communion: A Worldwide Perspective

Canon Law in the Anglican Communion: A Worldwide Perspective

Canon Law in the Anglican Communion: A Worldwide Perspective

Synopsis

There is no recognized corpus of binding law globally applicable to all Churches in the Anglican Communion. Ostensibly, each Church is autonomous, free to make rules to facilitate and to order its internal life. This book, which is global in scope and will be of interest throughout the world, makes available for the first time a comparative study of the Constitutions, Canons, and other forms of law of Churches in the worldwide Anglican Communion. Does analysis draws out the similarities and differences between them and, from the coincidence of actual laws and from global ecclesiastical conventions enunciated by the Lambeth Conference, he elucidates the global principles of Anglican canon law that may apply to all Churches in the Communion. The subjects examined include: government; ministry; doctrine and liturgy; rites; property; inter-church relations; and ecumenism. Does thorough and practical analysis of a hitherto under-explored subject is placed squarely within its jurisprudential and theological context, and will be welcomed by both practitioners and scholars. For those within the Anglican Communion, his book offers a wealth of information enabling individual Churches to see how fellow Churches are organized. For those without, the book provides a valuable insight into Anglican government and law.

Excerpt

The Anglican Communion still awaits a definitive treatment of the canon law of its member churches. Unlike the Roman Catholic Church, which has its Code of Canon Law 1983 containing 'universal law' applicable to the Latin Church throughout the world, the Anglican Communion has neither a central legislative body competent to legislate for all member churches nor, consequently, a body of globally binding law. Each church in the Communion is autonomous, with its own constitution, its own corpus of canons and other regulatory instruments. This book is an attempt to describe comparatively the legal systems of individual churches within the Anglican Communion, their similarities and their differences, and one of its central questions is whether it is possible to speak of 'Anglican canon law', a family of identifiable principles shared by all churches. The book has grown from discussions with students studying for the LL M in Canon Law, set up at the Cardiff Law School in 1991 as a collaborative venture with St Michael's Theological College, Llandaff. A persistent issue for those involved with the course, an issue which needless to say is of considerably wider interest and significance, has been whether for Anglicans 'communion' is characterized by a common legal tradition. The absence of a rudimentary text treating this subject directly has been a cause of frustration for many, and to the students on the course, for their tolerance with the process of experimentation, I owe an enormous debt of gratitude.

For the academic session 1996-97, the Cardiff Law School kindly gave me study leave to work on this project. A generous grant from the Isla Johnston Trust, managed by the Representative Body of my own church, the Church in Wales, enabled me to study at various libraries outside Cardiff. Two special privileges came to me during the year. I am extremely grateful to the President and Fellows of Magdalen College, Oxford, who elected me an honorary member of the senior common room for the academic year, particularly to Dr David Ibbetson, a law fellow at the college, who, along with his colleagues, made my stay there such a memorable, pleasurable and stimulating experience. Moreover, whilst I still have a great fondness for Magdalene College, Cambridge, where my doctoral studies covered a little of the work of the medieval canonists, it is to Magdalen College, Oxford, that the graduates of the Cardiff LL M owe thanks for hosting their annual reunion, organized by the Revd. John Masding, a former demi at the college. I am equally grateful, for a visiting fellowship during the Hilary Term 1997, to the governors of Pusey House, Oxford, where many happy hours were spent in the magnificent library, and in the . . .

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