Dr. Edward Peters 

To work for the proper implementation of canon law is to play an extraordinarily

constructive role in continuing the redemptive mission of Christ. Pope John Paul II







1983 Code



1917 Code


 Liber Extra



 Eastern Code


1152 x 864


2 apr 2017

Introductions, Popular Treatments, and Textbooks on Canon Law


The following is a list of general introductions or overviews of canon law as a legal system in service to the Catholic Church. Listed (usually) in reverse chronological order. Complete beginners might well start with one or more of my short essays:


A Catechist's Introduction to Canon Law (1997)

A Simple Overview of Canon Law (1994)

What Canon Lawyers Are and Aren't (1991)


1983 Code



  • James Coriden (American priest, b. 1932), Canon Law as Ministry: Freedom and Good Order for the Church, (Paulist, 2000) 205 pp.

  • Joseph Martín de Agar, Handbook on Canon Law,  (Wilson & Lafleur, 1999) 268 pp., = trans of de Agar's Elementi di Diritto canonico (1996). Reviews: W. Brown, Studia Canonica 35 (2001) 252-255; A. Morin, Studia Canonica 35 (2001) 255-256 (French); and D. Zwifka, The Jurist 62 (2002) 216-218. Order it here.

  • Lawrence Spiteri, The Code in the Hands of the Laity (Alba House, 1997) 224 pp. Review: =. Order it here.

  • James Coriden (American priest, b. 1932), An Introduction to Canon Law (Paulist, 1991) 232 pp. Reviews: P. Cogan, Studia Canonica 26 (1992) 265, and R. Cunningham, The Jurist 51 (1991) 232-233.

  • Jordan Hite (American, 3rd Ord. Regular, b. 1938) and Daniel Ward (Benedictine, b. 1944), Readings, Cases, Materials in Canon Law: a Textbook for Ministerial Students, rev ed., (Liturgical Press, 1990) 493 pp. Reviews: J. Huels, The Jurist 50 (1990) 656-657; and R. Cunningham, The Jurist 50 (1990) 657-659.

  • E. Rinere, ed., New Law New Life (CLSA, 1985) = pp.

  • John Huels (American layman, b. 1950), The Faithful of Christ: the New Canon Law for the Laity (Franciscan Herald, 1983) 118 pp.

  • J. Provost, ed., Code, Community, Ministry: Selected studies for the parish minister introducing the revised Code of Canon Law (CLSA, 1983) 116 pp.


  • Daniel Cenlamor & Jorge Miras, El Derecho de la Iglesia: Curso Básico de Derecho Canónico [2004), 2nd ed., from Cenlamor-Miras, Il Diritto della Chiesa, Corso di Diritto Canonico [2005], (Eunsa, 2005) 573 pp. Review: E. Peters, Studia Canonica 40 (2006) 540-542.


  • Daniel Cenlamor & Jorge Miras, Il Diritto della Chiesa, Corso di Diritto Canonico (Universitŕ della Santa Croce, 2005) 528 pp.

1917 Code

Emile Jombart (= Jesuit, 1881-1964), Summary of Canon Law, trans. R. Bégin., (Benziger, 1960) 232 pp. Reviews: F. McManus, The Jurist 21 (1961) 283; P. Fedele, Ephemerides Iuris Canonici 7 (1951) 90-91 (of French version).


René Metz, What is Canon Law?, trans. M. Derrick (Hawthorn, 1960) 157 pp. Review: B. Deutsch, The Jurist 20 (1960) 359-360.