“Canonical discipline is directed to the pursuit of holiness of life”: Cardinal Raymond Burke,
President of the Supreme Tribunal of the Catholic Church
“Canonical discipline is directed to the pursuit, at all times, of holiness of life. The final canon of the Code of Canon Law,
which reminds us that the salvation of souls, which must always be the supreme law in the Church, is to be kept before one’s eyes.
It reflects the truth that every canonical norm, whether it be considered of greater or of lesser importance, is directed to the ultimate good of souls.”,
said Cardinal Raymond Burke, President of the Supreme Tribunal of the Catholic Church. He was inaugurating the 27th Annual
Conference of the Canon Law Society of India held on October 21, 2013 in Delhi.
Archbishop Anil Joseph Thomas Couto, the Archbishop of Delhi presided over the inaugural session.
The others who spoke at the Inaugural function included Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio,
the Apostolic Nuncio to India, Oscar Fernandes, Union Minister for Transport and Highways
and Dr. Alex Vadakumthala, the President of the Canon Law Society of India. The five day
conference was held at Don Bosco Provincial House, Okhala, New Delhi.
Speaking at the inaugural session, Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, the Apostolic Nuncio to India, quoting Pope Francis,
said: “Deaf to the call for renewal of Vatican II, we have forgotten that Jesus invited his followers
“to put new wine in new wineskins.” In his address, he shared mainly on three areas, such as the need
to concentrate on the element of justice in all administrative endeavours of the Church, secondly
on the pastoral mindedness, and finally, on the need to focus our attention on the family in all
our pastoral activities.
Prof. K.V. Thomas, Minister for Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution, gave the inaugural
day special address on the topic, “Give them something to eat – Mk 6:37: Right for Food and the Food
Security Bill of the Government of India and its implications in the lives of the poor and marginalized”.
The talk triggered lots of interest and discussion among the participants on the commitment of the Church
and the Government to the poor in the society.
“The central theme of the annual conference was on the Second Vatican Council and the Canonical
Legislations in the church, since this year being the golden jubilee year of the Council. The emphasis
of the discussions were on the renewed understanding of the administrative and legal structures and
tribunals within the Church and the need to make it more relevant and effective according to the needs
of the time and the context”, said Dr. Alex Vadakumthala, President of the Canon Law Society of India.
Other resource persons of the conference include Justice Kurian Joseph of the Supreme Court of India,
Dr. Linus Neli from Caritas India, Dr. A. Rayappan from St. Peter’s, Bangalore, Dr. Varghese Koluthara
from Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram, Bangalore, Dr. Paul Pazhangatt, CSsR, Dr. Varghese Palathinghal and Dr.
Yesudas Kattungalthayyil. As a part of the Conference a short recollection was preached by Rev. Fr.
Joe Mannath, Secretary of the Conference of Religious of India.
The 118 members participated in the Conference elected the new office bearers of the Conference. Rev.
Dr. Rayappan was elected as the new President, Dr. John Mendonca from the Diocese of Uduppi, the Vice-President,
Fr. John Mohandas as the Treasurer and Fr. Irudaya Raj from the Archdiocese of Calcutta was elected as the Secretary.
Dr. John Abraham and Dr. Varghese Koluthara, CMI are the new executice committee members. The Canon Law Society of
India, an association presently with 300 experts in the legislative texts of the Church, was started in 1987 under
the leadership of Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, who is also presently the patron of the Society.