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The Revised Penal Law of the Eastern Catholic Churches: An Overview

6 march, 2024

2:00 to 3:15 p.m. (ET)


With the apostolic letter Vocare peccatores, issued on 20th March 2023, Pope Francis revised certain canons of the penal law within the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. These revised norms officially took effect on 29th June 2023, marking a long-awaited and welcomed legislative act. The revision aims to address the recognized limitations of the previous Eastern Catholic legislation regarding penal sanctions. However, it is important to note that the majority of canons within Title XXVII remain unchanged.

Twenty-three canons have been revised, with some introducing minor changes such as the addition of cross-references, while others have undergone significant transformations. Although a noteworthy focus of the revision lies in addressing delicts against chastity committed by clergy, religious, or laity, as specified in canon 1453, several other areas are also included in the revision.

In this webinar, we intend to provide an overview of the novelty of the revised norms, highlighting their similarities and differences with the Latin penal law and the reasons for the changes. Additionally, we shall examine whether the new law incorporates the vision behind the previous Eastern penal law.


Sunny Kokkaravalayil – Speaker

Sunny Kokkaravalayil, SJ, was born in Kottayam, Kerala, India. He holds a licentiate and a doctorate from the Faculty of Eastern Canon Law at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, where he has been teaching since 2005 (becoming Full Professor in 2018). He was Acting Dean of the same Faculty from 2015 to 2016, and he is presently the Vice Rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute (from 2016). Currently, he teaches courses on Syro-Malabar legal sources, canons on the institutes of consecrated life, philosophy of law, and theology of law. He considers himself fortunate to have had the opportunity to write his doctoral dissertation under the guidance of Prof. George Nedungatt, SJ, and Prof. Urbano Navarrete, SJ, both esteemed veterans in the field of canon law and consulters of the former Pontifical Commission for the Revision of the Code of Eastern Canon Law. His publications encompass various aspects of canon law, including the history of codification, particular law, liturgical law, law on the institutes of consecrated life, theology of law, law on ecclesiastical universities, penal law, and law on evangelization. Among them:The Guidelines for the Revision of the Eastern Code: their Impact on CCEO (Kanonika 15), Rome, PIO, 2009.

Sunny Kokkaravalayil - Speaker

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