The Influence of the Second Vatican Council on the Function of Papal Legates. Comparative Analysis of the 1917 and 1983 Codes of Canon Law and Selected Special Faculties.
The historically rooted institution of the papal legate, similar to other offices in the Church, has experienced modifications and adaptations throughout the centuries. The Second Vatican Council affected such a change. The laws and special delegated powers (faculties) pertaining to nuncios and apostolic delegates issued after the council reflect this change and set a new direction for papal legates.The dissertation has four chapters. In chapter one we briefly look at the historical development of the office of papal legate. However, the main focus of this chapter is the examination of the 1917 Code of Canon Law in regards to papal legates: the office, their function and responsibilities. The pertinent canons are presented thematically, instead of the order of appearance in the code as to present more cohesive image. Chapter two of this dissertation scrutinizes the topic of papal legates as it surfaced during the preparatory stages and discussions of the Second Vatican Council. It also examines the effects of these discussions and interventions as reflected in the decree on bishops Christus Dominus. The goal of the third chapter is to compare in detail and to analyze the 1917 Code of Canon Law, the 1969 motu proprio Sollicitudo omnium Ecclesiarum, the three revisions of the proposed new code and finally, the 1983 Code of Canon Law in their description of the office of papal legate. This analysis allows us to see the tendencies and trends in legislation pertaining to nuncios and apostolic delegates and the effects of the Second Vatican Council on the office of the papal legate. Finally, the fourth chapter examines a selection of the indices of `special faculties' granted to nuncios and apostolic delegates by various dicasteries of the Roman Curia from the promulgation of the 1917 code to the current time. The method used in this dissertation is a historical-juridical comparative analysis of the two codes of canon law in light of the decree Christus Dominus and the motu proprio Sollicitudo omnium Ecclesiarum. The study contributes to the topic of papal legates presenting the changes to the office within the span of the last hundred years.
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