the Code of Canon Law in 1983
Pope John Paul II promulgated the Code of Canon Law in 1983. Before that the law had not been changed since the Code of 1917. Prior to that, the history of the Code stretches back to the Apostles.
Canon Law is the oldest continuously functioning legal system. It is the only functioning legal system that is universal; it governs its one billion members no matter where in the world they live. The Code is comprised of 1752 canons, all fitting neatly into one volume. Even though the entire Code is contained in one small volume, the Commentaries and Treatises on it fill many more.
The Gratianus Series is a premier succession of books dealing with the contributions of many canonists on the Code and its governance of the Catholic Church. It contributes not only to the intellectual life of the Code, but to the basic understanding by the person in the pew. The more Catholics who understand their rights and duties in the Church, the more they can participate in the mission of the Church, to bring us all ultimately to unity with God.
The Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) was one of the most significant events in the life of the modern Church. Between October 1962 and December 1965 the largest ever gathering of Catholic bishops answered the call of Pope John XXIII to let some fresh air into the Church. Completing the work of an earlier Vatican Council that had been cut short, and in a tradition of ecumenical councils dating back to the time of the Apostles, Vatican II laid the foundations for a renewal process that still continues. For this reason CTS have decided to republish the four major documents of the Council (known as Constitutions and named after their opening words in Latin), with new Introductions by leading churchmen, to encourage continued study of the Council in parishes and elsewhere.
Lumen Gentium, promulgated in 1964, is the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. It reflects the Church's own modern self-understanding - in fact it brought that understanding into focus for the first time. We live in an age of indifference, and yet the Church is a light not just for Christians, but for all humanity. She is the instrument, the Bride and the Sacrament of God, rooted in the Trinity. She is the Kingdom of Christ already present in mystery for those who have eyes to see; but also a pilgrim, afflicted by human imperfections, pointing the way to unity in the Spirit.