19 Nov. 2010
1. The symbol "=" is simply a place-holder as I search for additional information; it is not part of the official citation, and it should be removed before using these citations in a scholarly paper.
2. The language of the title of a book or article is the language of that book or article except as noted.
3. All book reviews are in English except as noted.
Canon Law * Toward a Uniform System of Canonical Citation
Main Directory for Dr. Peters' Canon Law Resources and Citations Project
These pages provide what I propose as standard citations for important canonical resources. The rationale behind my proposed system is set forth on this page, below. Actual citations to (and some explanations of) canonical resources are provided as follows:
Toward a Uniform System of Canonical Citation
Canon law is an international system of law in search of an international system of citation. It will probably never achieve one, of course. National publishing conventions, variations in technology, and even differing attitudes toward the role of references in scholarly work impede the adoption of a uniform system of canonical citation. Nevertheless, I want to propose some steps toward a uniform canonical citation system, not under any illusion that they will all be adopted, but rather, in the hope that they might influence canonical writers and publishers to think more carefully about the science of citations and the art with which references should be drafted. If, as result of these reflections and suggestions, regional canonical citation systems come to communicate essential information more efficiently, eliminate useless information, and in general to resemble each more closely, I shall be satisfied.
Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur. It is a fundamental postulate of the intellectual life that gratuitous assertions warrant no assent by the mind. Every assertion made in scholarly canonical writing must rest on one of the following foundations:
A) "Common knowledge", whereby truth of the assertion is easily recognizable by the average adult practicing the Roman Catholic faith in the region today. Example: "Pope John Paul II routinely drew large crowds in his pastoral visits." or "Sunday Mass is the occasion when most Catholics most directly encounter the faith community."
B) "Inherently convincing", that is, the assertion itself, considered in context, satisfies the demands of formal logic. Example: "At the parish level, not every pastoral initiative can receive the same amount of attention and resources, and sometimes hard choices among competing goods must be made. Disappointments are inevitable and should be handled in a way that encourages the widest cooperation with those projects chosen for parochial focus."
C) Every assertion that does not fall with the boundaries of "common knowledge" or "inherently convincing" must be supported by a source identified in a footnote or by in-text citation.
Clarity, Accuracy, Brevity
Abbreviations save time and space, but at a cost in terms of clarity. The more abbreviations an author uses, the more abbreviations must be recalled by readers. In this age of electronic typesetting, abbreviations save authors relatively little time, and even paper is not so expensive as to warrant complex space-saving techniques. Use abbreviations sparingly.
Do not over-use modern font options! Place everything in a uniform font except as follows. Put the title of a monograph (including multi-volume works) in Small Caps. Put the title of a journal in Italics.
Use italics sparingly. Use them to indicate journal titles, and in-text expressions or quotations in a language foreign to the main body of the text. If using italics for emphasis, use them sparingly (pace John Paul II).
First Names: Use full first name (including hyphenated first names) for the author of an journal article or monograph (including multi-volume works). Use an abbreviated first name for an editor of a work, the author of an entry in a reference work, or the author of a book review. Of course, if one only knows the first initial of an author for whom a full name is warranted, use the initial.
Middle Names: Do not use middle names or initials unless necessary to distinguish between two people likely otherwise to be confused for one another.
Last Name: Always use full last names, including double or hyphenated last names. Avoid placing last names in ALL CAPS. This bucks a major European convention, I know, but last names are obviously last names, one does not need to put them in caps to know they are last names. Instead reserve caps, especially, small caps, for the title of monographs and books so that they can be immediately distinguished from journals and periodicals (which would be italics).
In the first or bibliographic reference to a journal article, monograph chapter, or reference entry, indicate the entire page range of the work. Afterward, indicate only specific page(s) cited. Use "at" if needed for clarity, do avoid using "p." or "pp." in footnotes.
Publication, place of
In the electronic age, place of publication has become difficult to define (just where is the New Catholic Encyclopedia really being published?) and, more to the point, is irrelevant (one does not need to know the city of publication in order to know which phone book to look in for a publisher's street address to try to buy a copy of the book.) There is some usefulness in identifying the city of publication for much older works, though be warned these names will often be in a Latin spelling whose modern form is not easily guessed. Pick a demarcation date before which you will bother to list the city of publication, and after which you will not. I suggest 1900, or possibly 1917.
Terms of Art
Assume understanding of terms of art in accord with your intended audience, not according to your subject matter. If writing for scholars, assume wider familiarity with terms of art; if writing for novices, assume less familiarity. In case of doubt, avoid or explain terms of art.