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The ecumenical value of comparative church law: towards the category of Christian law

Doe, Norman ORCID: 2015. The ecumenical value of comparative church law: towards the category of Christian law. Ecclesiastical Law Journal 17 (02) , pp. 135-169. 10.1017/S0956618X15000034

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This study explores juridical aspects of the ecclesiology presented in the World Council of Churches' Faith and Order Commission Paper, The Church: Towards a Common Vision (2013). It does so in the context of systems of church law, order and polity in eight church families worldwide: Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Reformed, Presbyterian and Baptist. Common Vision does not explicitly consider church law, order and polity or its role in ecumenism. However, many themes treated in Common Vision surface in church regulatory systems. This study examines how these instruments articulate the ecclesiology found in Common Vision (which as such, de facto, offers juridical as well as theological principles), translate these into norms of conduct and, in turn, generate unity in common action across the church families. Juridical similarities indicate that the churches share common principles and that their existence suggests the category ‘Christian law’. While dogmas may divide the churches of global Christianity, the profound similarities between their norms of conduct reveal that the laws of the faithful, whatever their various denominational affiliations, link Christians through common forms of action. For this reason, comparative church law should have a greater profile in ecumenism today.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff Law & Politics
Centre for Law and Religion (CLR)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
K Law > K Law (General)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (CUP)
ISSN: 0956-618X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2023 21:24

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