HomeNews‘Holiness is greater than just fairness,’ Nuncio tells canon lawyers

‘Holiness is greater than just fairness,’ Nuncio tells canon lawyers

By Chrisma Mangaoil, CBCPNews

Papal nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown has reminded the county’s canon lawyers of the deeper context of canon law, emphasizing its connection to justice in the evangelical sense.

Speaking at Mass during the 30th Canon Law Society of the Philippines (CLSP) National Convention in Dipolog City on Feb. 27, he stressed the need for justice to have a pastoral dimension alongside its usual association with justice.

“Holiness is greater than just fairness. There’s a salvific function of canon law,” Brown said in his homily at the Dipolog Cathedral.

“Relieving burdens and facilitating holiness, untying, unknotting of knots should be the aim of canon law,” he said. “Penalties are designed to bring us back to Christ.”

More than 100 participants joined this year’s CLSP convention held on Feb. 26 to 28, with the theme, “The canonical aspects of the internal forum: Beyond the seal of confession to the realm of governance and spiritual direction.”

At the opening Mass presided over by Bishop Severo Caermare of Dipolog on Feb. 26, he stressed the importance of mercy in the administration of justice.

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He also exhorted the canon lawyers and canonists present to become witnesses of the mercy of God.

“In spite of our failures, we choose to continue to love,” Caermare said

Among the speakers at the three-day event was Fr. Danilo Flores from the Diocese of Rome, also serving as the Judicial Vicar of the Diocese of Paranaque, who addressed specific canonical updates, notably the Franciscan (Pope Francis) Reforms.

Keynote speaker Friar Robert Lezohupski, OFM Conv, a judge at the Ecclesiastical Tribunal of Vatican City, addressed the topics of the “notion of the internal forum” and the “sacrament of penance as an apostolate of mercy”.

Lezohupski, also a canon law professor at the Pontifical Urban University in Rome, began his lecture by expressing gratitude to priests for their dedication in the confessional.

He emphasized the indispensable nature of the sacrament, stating, “The role of the Church is not to cast people out but to bring them (back) into the Church.”

According to him, “Justice without pastoral love is revenge. Justice without love is a lie.”

During his lecture on the Internal Forum, he urged the attending priests to avoid spiritual abuse and the conflation of the internal and external forums.

“Ignorance breeds spiritual abuse,” he emphasized, reminding participants that betraying the seal of confession is tantamount to betraying Christ.

Msgr. Raul Go, CLSP president, said that the topic on the internal forum was chosen because nobody among the Canon Lawyers in the country have been trained on it.

Fr. Flores had been Fr. Lezohupski’s student in Rome.

Six principal and four associate members of CLSP were also sworn in during the convention participated by 110 priests, 5 religious and 16 lay.

The Diocese of Cubao will host the 31st CLSP Convention next year.

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