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


4 mar 2017

Pan-Textual Commentaries on the 1917 Code



Serious canonical research always entails awareness of the opinions of the major commentators on the canon(s) in question.



The great majority of pan-textual Pio-Benedictine commentaries were written by—as incredible as it might seem to us today—individual scholars (e.g., Dom Augustine or Woywod), sometimes by pairs of scholars who are treated as a single author, e.g., Abbo-Hannan or Vermeersch-Creusen. Some of these works contain the 1917 Code itself, others don't. Many of these works underwent frequent, sometimes trivial, revision that makes their citation today cumbersome. Indeed, many "sets" of these multi-volume works actually consist of volumes from different editions. Mitigating the confusion, though, is the fact that many works were divided into "paragraphs" or "sections" (the text-marker term was never clear) and usually these numbers remained consistent from edition to edition even when pagination and commentary changed. If such numbers are offered, one should cite them as well as the page number and edition for the benefit of researchers who must use different editions of the work. Note that some of these commentaries (e.g., Ojetti or Toso) were not completed and that others were bound in more volumes than they were written in (e.g. Blat or Wernz-Vidal). Finally, because most of these works bore similar, often identical titles, they are usually known today by the names of their authors, as in, "Have you looked in Wernz-Vidal?" rather than "Have you looked in the commentary?"


A complete listing of pan-textual commentaries on the 1917 Code is not possible here, but the following works rank among the most important. They are arranged within language groups, and then alphabetically by author.


• Latin











Udalricus Beste (American Benedictine, 1885-1976), Introductio in Codicem [1938], 5th ed., (M. D'Auria Pontificius, 1961). Reviews: G. Osterle, Ius Pontificium 19 (1939) 109-110 (of first edition); E. Roelker, The Jurist 5 (1945) 309 (of the second edition); E. Roelker, The Jurist 17 (1957) 117-118 (on the fourth edition); J. R. Schmidt, The Jurist 22 (1962) 484-486 (on the fifth edition).


Albertus Blat (= Dominican, 1870-1943), Commentarium Textus Codicis Iuris Canonici, in 5 vols., (Libreria del Collegio Angelico, 1921-1922).


Felix Cappello (Roman Jesuit, 1879-1962), Summa Iuris Canonici, in 3 vols., (Gregorianum, =) [herein Cappello, Summa].


F. Claeys Bouuaert & G. Simenon, Manuale Juris Canonici [1939], in 3 vols., (Proastat apud Auctores in Seminariis Gandavensi et Leodiensi, various editions and years).


Mattheus Conte a Coronata (Italian Capuchin, 1889-1961), Compendium Iuris Canonci ad usum scholarum, in 3 vols., (Marietti, =) [herein Coronata, Compendium]


Mattheus Conte a Coronata (Italian Capuchin,1889-1961), Institutiones Iuris Canonici, in 5 vols., (Marietti, =) [herein Coronata, Institutiones]


Guidus Cocchi (Italian Vincentian, 1880-1966), Commentarium in Codicem Iuris Canonici, in 8 vols., various editions and years beginning in 1920, (Marietti, 1928-1932).


Ioanne Ferreres (=, 1861-1936), Institutiones Canonicae iuxta novissimum Codicem … iuxtaque praescripta Hispanae disciplinae et Americae Latinae, in 2 vols., 2nd ed., (Eugenius Subirana, 1920).


Heriberto Jone (German Capuchin, 1885-1967), Commentarium in Codicem Iuris Canonici, in 3 vols., (Officina Libraria F. Schönigh, 1950-1955).


Dominicus Prümmer (German Dominican, 1866-1931), Manuale Iuris Ecclesiastici [1909], 6th ed., (Herder, 1933)  756 pp.


Jean-Baptiste Raus (= b. 1881), Institutiones Canonicae in forma compendii (Emmanuelis Vitte, 1923) = pp.


Eduardo Regatillo (Spanish Jesuit, 1882-1975), Institutiones Iuris Canonici [=], in 2 vols., 6th ed., (Sal Terrae, 1961).


Sylvius Romani (=), Institutiones Juris Canonici, in 3 vols., [1941], (Editrice Iustitia, 1944).


Sylvius Romani (=), Summa Iuris Canonci Lineamenta (Schola Typographica Missionaria Dominicana, 1939) 328 pp.


Stephanus Sipos (Hungarian priest, 1875-1949), Enchiridion Iuris Canonici [1926], 6th ed. rev. by L. Gálos, (Orbis Catholicus-Herder, 1954) 913 pp. Reviews: E. Roelker, The Jurist 15 (1955) 109-110; gc, Ephemerides Iuris Canonici 11 (1955) 494. On the place of Sipos in canonistics, see Anon., "In Memoriam", in Sipos, Enchirdion, vii-viii.


Arturus Vermeersch (Belgian Jesuit, 1858-1936) & Josephus Creusen (Belgian Jesuit, 1880-1960), Epitome Iuris Canonici cum Commentariis [1922-1925], in 3 vols., 4th ed., (Dessain, 1930-1931). For more information on Vermeersch, see Joseph Creusen Belgian Jesuit, 1880-1960), Le Pére Arthur Vermeersch, S.J., L’homme et l’oeuvre (Desclée, 1947) 222 pp.


Franciscus Wernz (German Jesuit, 1842-1914) and Petrus Vidal (Catalan Jesuit, 1867-1938), Jus Canonicum ad Codicis Normam Exactum, in 7 vols., variously bound, in up to three editions, later editions edited by P. Aguirre and F. Cappello (Gregorianum, 1924-1949). This work is a posthumous revision by Vidal of Wernz’s magisterial Ius Decretalium in light of the 1917 Code. On the authority of Wernz, see e. g., R. Naz, “Wernz, François-Xavier”, DDC VII: 1636-1638, and D. Oesterle, “In piam Francisci Wernz S. I. memoriam”, Gregorianum 24 (1943) 9-22.


• Spanish

L. Domínguez, et al., Código de Derecho Canónico y Legislación Complementaria: Texto bilingüe y comentado por professors de la Pontificia Universidad de Salamanca [=], 3rd ed., (Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos, 1949) 1067 pp.


aa.vv., Comentarios al Código de Derecho Canónico con el texto legal latino y castellano, in 4 vols., (Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos, 1963-1964).


• English


Dom Augustine


John Abbo (Italian priest, 1911-1994) and Jerome Hannan (American prelate, 1896-1965), The Sacred Canons: A Concise Presentation of the Current Disciplinary Norms of the Church, in 2 vols. (Herder, 1952). Review: F. McManus, The Jurist 21 (1961) 281-282 (on the second revised edition of 1960). Discussion of Book IV, and even more so V, is quite abbreviated.


Dom Augustine (Charles Bachofen, Swiss/American Benedictine, 1872-1944), A Commentary on the New Code of Canon Law, in 8 vols. (Herder, 1918-1922). Highly-regarded. The honorific "Dom" is important for avoiding the jarring references to "Augustine". One could simply refer to the author as Bachofen. On the place of Dom Augustine in canonistics, see Lawrence Wrenn, "Charles Augustine, O.S.B., excepts from a journal", The Jurist 45 (1985) 297-320.


Lincoln Bouscaren (American Jesuit, 1884-1971) and Adam Ellis (American Jesuit, 1889-1961), Canon Law: A Text and Commentary [1946], 4th ed. by F. Korth, (Bruce, 1966) 1011 pp. Review: E. Roelker, The Jurist 7 (1947) 247-248 (of the first edition).


Matthew Ramstein (Conventual, 1897-1952), A Manual of Canon Law (Terminal Printing, 1948) 768 pp. Review: E. Roelker, The Jurist 8 (1948) 272-273.


Fernando della Rocca (=), Manual of Canon Law, Thatcher trans., (Bruce, 1958) 624 pp. Review: R. O'Brien, The Jurist 20 (1960) 232-234.


Stanislaus Woywod (German/American Franciscan, 1880-1941), A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law [1925], in 2 vols., rev. by C. Smith (Wagner/Herder, 1957).


• French

Adrien Cance (Sulpician, =), Le Code de Droit Canonique, in 4 vols., (Gabalda, various editions and years).


Francisque Cimetier (French Sulpician, 1888-1946), Pour étudier le Code de Droit Canonique [1927], 3rd ed., (Libraire Lecoffre, 1927/1933) with Supplement.


Joseph Mothon (= Dominican, =), Institutions Canoniques, in 3 vols., (Descleé, 1924).


R. Naz, ed., Traité de Droit Canonique, in 4 vols., rev. ed., [=] (Letouzey et Ané, 1954). Review: C. Lefebvre, Ephemerides Iuris Canonici 4 (1948) 594-596.


• German

Eduard Eichmann (German priest, 1870-1946), Lehrbuch des Kirchenrechts auf Grund des Codex Iuris Canonici, in 3 vols., [1923] 9th ed., rev. by. K. Mörsdorf, (Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, 1958-1960).