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Introduction to Canon Law – Global Legal Collection Highlights

The following is a guest post by Dante Figueroa, a Senior Legal Information Analyst at the Law Library of Congress.  Some of Dante’s recent posts include Resources and Treasures of the Italian Parliamentary Libraries, The Italian Legislature and Legislative Process: A Recent Institution in an Ancient Legal System, and  A Fresh Update on the Canonical Rules on the Election of a New Pontiff.

This blog post is part of our Global Legal Collection Highlights series which is intended to introduce our readers to various foreign legal collections and resources.  Canon law  is not made by a particular country, but rather is the body of laws made within and for the Roman Catholic Church.  The first systematic collection of canon law is the Decretum Gratiani: seu verius, decretorum canonicoru[m] collectanea / ab ipso auctore Gratiano primùm inscripta Concordia discordantium canonum.  This is known in English as “Gratian’s Decretum” and dates back to the twelfth century.  It is composed of several thousand texts about church discipline and regulation and was compiled by the monk Johannes Gratian between 1140-1151.  As with all main historical sources of canon law it is written in Latin, which is the official language of the Roman Catholic Church.  However, during the  upheavals of the Reformation and Counter Reformation in the sixteenth century, canon law treatises were written in multiple languages including German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Polish.  The Law Library of Congress holds many canon law materials, most of which are in the Law Library’s Rare Book Collection.  Some of these resources have been highlighted in two previous posts: Update on Medieval Canon Law, and How to Deal with a Complex Book and Canon Law Update.

The following are primary sources of canon law which are in the Law Library’s collections:

The following are books about canon law, written in various languages, in the Law Library’s general collections:

A recent book in this field, Introduzione al Diritto Canonico [Introduction to Canon Law] by Libero Gerosa (2012), reviews the essential elements of canon law in the context of its relationships with other sciences and delves into the post-Vatican II debate on the scientific method of canon law.Gerosa book

For more Canon law materials held in the Library of Congress, please visit the Library’s online catalog.  If you need research assistance, you can submit your questions through the Law Library’s Ask A Librarian system.

Presidential Signing Statements

The following is a guest post by Shameema Rahman, Legal Reference Specialist in our Public Services Division.  Shameema is a frequent contributor to In Custodia Legis; her most recent post was entitled Where Can I Find a Congressional Bill? Law Library patrons often approach us with inquiries on presidential statements.  Examples of these types of inquiries include: […]

Where Can I Find a Congressional Bill?

The following is a guest post by Shameema Rahman, Legal Reference Specialist in our Public Services Division.  Her most recent post was: Using Secondary Legal Resources to Locate Primary Sources. As a Law Library of Congress reference librarian I am often asked this question by our patrons.  THOMAS and the Government Printing Office’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) website are great sources […]

Using Secondary Legal Resources to Locate Primary Sources

The following is a guest post by Shameema Rahman, Legal Reference Specialist in our Public Services Division.  Shameema is no stranger to In Custodia Legis. Her previous posts include: World Digital Library and the Qatar Foundation; Classes Offered by the Law Library of Congress; and Researching an Unfamiliar Country’s Law. This spring several of the staff in […]

An Interview with Colin Hess, GIS Intern at the Law Library of Congress

This is an interview with Colin Hess, currently an intern at the Law Library of Congress Information Technology Office providing Geographic Information System support. Describe your background I am from Chesterfield, Virginia and am a senior at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia (UMW).  I am a Geography major, with a concentration on […]

Referendum on New Zealand’s Voting System

Today (currently Saturday, November 26 in New Zealand) is election day in New Zealand.  In addition to voting for a candidate standing in their district (“electorate“) and for the political party that they want in Parliament, voters will be participating in a referendum on whether the electoral system should be changed. The current electoral system […]

We’re Here to Serve

The following is a guest post by Megan Lulofs, who works as a contractor from CGI in our Collection Services Division, and as an independent consultant in our Public Services Division of the Law Library of Congress. Just last week I started answering questions from our Ask A Librarian service–and I love it. I’ve been looking forward […]