Dr. Edward Peters 

To work for the proper implementation of canon law is to play an extraordinarily

constructive role in continuing the redemptive mission of Christ. Pope John Paul II







1983 Code



1917 Code


 Liber Extra



 Eastern Code


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7 nov 2014

An example of Johanno-Pauline legislative history

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Canon Law Blog on

the topic of bishops' retirement age


The retirement age of bishops (1983 CIC 401), a sample of legislative history from Edward Peters, Incrementa in Progressu 1983 Codicis Iuris Canonici: A Legislative History of the 1983 Code of Canon Law (Wilson & Lafleur, 2005) 364. The legislative history of Canon 401 shows an unmistakable trend toward reducing the level of obligation on diocesan bishops to tender their resignation upon reaching a certain age. This fact sheds light on many things, including, how respect for the divinely-constituted office of bishop is reflected in law, and the degree to which one might expect Rome not to accept too quickly episcopal resignations that are submitted purely on the basis of age.



The Incrementa provides the successive legislative texts, formatted for ease of comparison, and references to coetus and Plenaria treatments, as shown in this PDF of Canon 401.





If one were then to track down the coetus discussions of Populo Dei 259 and the Plenaria remarks on 1980 Schema 368, one would find the following interesting comments:


Communicationes 12: 308


Testo del canone: “§ 1. Episcopi dioecesani aliique ipsis iure aequiparati, qui septuagesimum quintum aetatis annum expleverint debent renuntiationem ab officio exhibere Summo Pontifici, qui, omnibus singulorum casuum inspectis adiunctis, providebit. § 2. Enixe rogantur Episcopi dioecesani, qui ob infirmam valetudinem aliamve gravem causam officio suo adimplendo minus apti evaserint, ut vel sua ipsi sponte vel a competenti Auctoritate invitati, renuntiationem ab officio exhibeant."


Il canone viene approvato con i seguenti emendamenti: Al § 1: a) sopprimere “aliique ipsis iure aequiparati” (1’ riga), “debent” (2’ riga) e, b) mettere tutto al singolare. Al § 2, a) dire “ab Apostolica Sede” al posto di “a competenti Auctoritate”; b) sopprimere “ipsi” (3’ riga); c) mettere tutto al singolare.



Relatio 107, Communicationes 14: 208


Can. 368. Locutio “renuntiationem ab officio exhibeat” obligationem statuit, dum in n. 21 Decr. Christus Dominus agitur de commendatione (duo Patres). R. Iam provisum (cfr. responsum ad animadversiones 5 et 6 circa can. 290. Dicitur “rogantur ut renuntiationem...”).