CANON LAW. Canon law is so named because it consists of rules or canons, which are established to guide the faithful to eternal hap piness. In a strict sense, canon law comprises only those laws which emanate from an ecclesi astical authority that has supreme and universal jurisdiction. In a wide sense, it takes in also those laws enacted for the good of the faithful by anyone having ecclesiastical authority. The sources or fountains from which canon law has originated are sacred Scripture; divine tradi tion; laws made by the Apostles; teachings of the Fathers; decrees of the sovereign pontiffs; ecumenical councils; certain congregations of cardinals under orders of the Pope; custom, which, however, could in no case be contrary to divine law, common sense, good manners, pub lic order or the spirit and the rights of the Church. The Old Testament contains three sorts of precepts, moral, ceremonial, judicial The moral code remains in full force under canon law; the ceremonial and judicial laws have lapsed. The New Testament is the chief source of ecclesiastical law. It contains also dogmas of faith, but with these canon law does not deal except indirectly. By tradition is meant a doctrine not written by its first author, but conveyed by word of mouth. Usually it is subsequently put into writing. Traditions, con sidered in their source, are divine or human. Divine are those which have God for their au thor, and which the Apostles received either directly from Christ or by the suggestion of the Holy Ghost. Human traditions are termed apostolic if they originate with the Apostles, or ecclesiastical if they come from the successors of the Apostles, called bishops of the Church. Divine traditions bind all the faithful; human only those of the localities and times to which they are applicable. Some of the enactments attributed to the Apostles are the Apostles' Creed; abstinence from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled, part of which prohibition has lapsed; the sub stitution of Sunday for the Sabbath of the Jews; the institution of certain feast days; the fast of Lent. The sentences of the Fathers, ap
proved by the Church and made into universal laws by councils or the Roman pontiffs, are part of canon law. These sayings were not inserted in the collection of canons before the 6th cen tury, John Scholasticus being the first to do this in the East in that century, and Regino first in the West in the beginning of the 10th century. To the student it is evident that the constitu tions or decrees of the Roman pontiffs consti tute the chief source of canon law; in fact, the entire canon law in the strict sense of the term is based upon the legislative authority of the Pope. To understand this it is necessary to recall that in the Catholic doctrine all authority in the Church Mlles from above, not only in the office of priesthood, but also in the matter of jurisdiction or power of ruling. Catholic writers hold that the primacy or headship in the Church was established by Christ in Peter be fore the priesthood was conferred on him and the other Apostles, the purpose of the Saviour being to effect unity in his organization. The Church thus organized is a spiritual monarchy; elective it is true, but not an aristocracy or democracy. Other religious organizations hold quite the opposite doctrine and would make their unity a coalition of equal parts. This point of primacy of the Roman pontiff is also the line of separation between the canon law of the West and that of the separated Greek and the Russian churches, the review of which is given later in this article. Ecumenical councils, whose decrees are a source of canon law, are those meetings of the bishops of the Church throughout the world, which are held under the presidency of the Pope or his legates, and whose acts are by him confirmed. There are 20 councils as ecumenic,- the first being that of Nicasa in 325; the latest that of the Vatican in 1870.