What is ecclesiastical law? 2 Answers as of September 03, 2013

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Lawyer for Indie Media
Lawyer for Indie Media | Sue Basko
Ecclesiastical Law is the law of the Roman Catholic Church, known as the Latin Church, and also similar bodies of laws in related churches, such as the Eastern Rite, Orthodox Catholic, and Anglican, or Church of England. It is also called Canon Law. The Catholic Canon law has courts, judges, and lawyers who get special educational degrees in Canon Law. This body of law is no longer civilly binding. It is a system that operates only within the Church. The Canon Law can be read on the Vatican website. It is very detailed and gives many rules on how the internal workings of the Church will operate. The people most involved with Canon law are the Pope, Bishops, and the administrators of the Church.

Most lay Catholics rarely come into contact with Canon Law. One example is with divorce. For example, when a Catholic is getting divorced, that is a civil procedure. If the Catholic wants to have the marriage declared a nullity, this is a Canon Law procedure. So the Catholic must first be civilly divorced and may then enter into proceedings to try to have the marriage declared a nullity. If this is done, there is a chance the Catholic may be allowed to remarry within the Church, which is otherwise forbidden. However, the person can still remarry civilly, but will be breaking the rules of the Catholic Church.

Back in history, Ecclesiastical courts were valid civilly. When the USA was founded, one of the main precepts was separation of Church and State. In the US, we do not allow any State-sponsored Church.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 9/3/2013
Bay Oak Law
Bay Oak Law | Andrew K Jacobson
Ecclesiastical law is the law within a particular church or religion. For example, the Roman Catholic church has extensive law on the rights and obligations of its clergy. Ecclesiastical law is governed within that particular church or religion, and governmental authorities have little authority over it.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/30/2013
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