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Dr. Edward Peters 

To work for the proper implementation of canon law is to work for the up-building of the Church herself. It is

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Updated

4 jan 2013

The Pontifical Commission for the Codification of Canon Law (1904-1917)


Overview

Pietro Gasparri (1852-1935) was the driving intellect behind the Catholic Church's first codification of canon law in the early 20th century, but one should not forget the other members of the papal commission that aided him. Below, then, are what might be termed "the Men behind the Man behind the Code of Canon Law." 

 


Notes

 

Several of the men listed here were considered "papabile" in their time. See my Notes on the Canonist's Conclave of 1922.

All full members of the commission were Cardinal Fathers, with a young canonist, the future Pope Pius XII, serving as an assistant. Their academic credentials (where I could locate them) were impressive, and not a few had also made their mark outside of canonistics. Most of the early members were Italian, of course, though Spain (Vives y Tuto and Merry del Val y Zulueta), Germany (Steinhuber), Holland (van Rossum) and France (Matthieu) were represented. Several (Martinelli, Satolli, Cavvichioni, Vives y Tuto, and Merry del Val) had significant exposures to Anglo-American common law. Some died († ) before the Pio-Benedictine Code was promulgated. To these were added various consulters, some of whom were later promoted to the Commission itself.


 

 

Most photos are taken from Salvador Miranda's Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, used with permission, and linked to biographical sketches thereon.

 

See also Reginald Fellows, "The New Code of Roman Canon Law", Journal of Comparative Legislation and International Law, 3rd Ser., Vol. 1, No. 3 (1919) 239-244.

 

 

 

 

Commission President

 

Pope St. Pius X, 

in his motu proprio,

Arduum sane munus,

19 March 1904, 

announced plans to codify

the Canon Law of the

Roman Catholic Church

 

See also:

Cdl. Gasparri's letter, Perlegisti

 

For some documentation regarding the early days of the Pio-Benedictine Code, click here.

Pietro Gasparri

PhD, STD, JUD

Commission Assistants

 

 

Eugenio Pacelli

JUD

 

& Adam St. Sapieha

 

 

Commission Charter Members soon named to Executive Council

 

  B. Cavicchioni

JUD

† 17 Apr 1911

  F. Cavignis

PhD, STD, JUD

† 29 Dec 1906

D. Ferrata

STD, JUD

† 10 Oct 1914  

  C. Gennari

 

† 31 Jan 1914

 J. Vives y Tuto

 

† 7 Sep 1913

 

 

Other Commission Charter Members

 

  A. Agliardi

JUD

† 19 Mar 1915

 

F. Cassetta

STD, JUD

G. Gotti

   

† 19 Mar 1916

 F.-D. Mathieu

D.Litt.

† 26 Oct 1908

R. Merry del Val

JCL, PhD, STD

 

Ramp. del Tindaro

  JUD 

† 16 Dec 1913

 

 

F. Satolli

PhD, STD

† 8 Jan 1910

 

F. Segna

 

† 4 Jan 1911  

 

A. Steinhuber

 

† 15 Oct 1907  

 

S. Vannutelli

PhD, STD, JUD

† 19 Aug 1915

 

V. Vannutelli

Sources:

 

1) Pope Pius X, m.p. Arduum sane munus, Acta Sanctae Sedis 36 (1903-1904) 549-551; see also American Ecclesiastical Review 30 (1904) 500-502, and, in a German trans., Archiv für katholisches Kirchenrecht 84 (1904) 347-350.

 

2) R. Merry del Val, lit. circ. Pergratum mihi, Acta Sanctae Sedis 36 (1903-1904) 603.

 

 

Consulters and others promoted to Commission over time

 

 

G. Bisleti

   

 

G. de Lai

 

F. Giustini

M. Lega

JUD  

S. Martinelli

 

B. Pompilj  

W. van Rossum

 

 

 

Other original Consulters to the Commission

  • Priests: A. Eschbach, T. Esser, V. Fernandez y Villa, P. Giustini, B. Klumper, P. de Langogne, C. de Lai, L. Janssens, M. Kaiser, A. Lepicier, C. Lombardi, A. Pillet, G. Sebastianelli, P. Valenzuela, A. Veccia, F. Wernz.

 

Others named Consulters to the Commission over time

  • Archbishops: J. Befani, E. Binzecher, A. Budini, P. Checchi, I, Costa, J. de Montel, O. Giorgi, J. Latini, E. Lucidi, I. Lugari, D. Mannaioli, B. Melata, J. Nervegna, H. Pezzani, A. Sili.

  • Priests: C. Benedetti, I. Bucceroni, M. de Luca, A. Lepidi, J. Noval, B. Ojetti, D. Palmieri.

  • Layman: C. Capogrossi-Guarna

 

Others named to or contributing to Commission work over time included: P. Bastien, C. Beccari, F. Do Rego Maia, E. Estaban, Joachim a S. Simone Stock, J. Laurentius, S. Many, A. Mariani, R. Maribi, P. Pacelli, F. Parillo, A. Rolli, J. Rossi, C. Santucci, I. Serédi, A. Sincero, M. Sleutjes, J. Sole, F. Spolverini, D. Taccone-Gallucci, A. Verde, P. Vidal. (See Stickler, Historia Iuris, 378). As well, G. Osterle, J. Serédi (Wrenn, Jurist 41: 301).

 

 

Read more about the codification process:

Every man has his special mission in life. Mine was the codification of Canon Law and the support of Benedict during the [First World] War. These two tasks are now completed.  Cdl. Gasparri on 22 Jan. 1922.

 

His Eminence did not mention his: 1) authoring of De Matrimonio in 2 vols., the most influential treatise on marriage in since Gratian; 2) his negotiation of the Lateran Treaty seven years later, and 3) his editing of 7 out of 9 volumes of the 1917 Code's Fontes. Most men would be proud to have accomplished any one of these tasks.