|Pope John Paul II signing Sacrae Discipliae Leges|
This note of collegiality, which eminently characterizes and distinguishes the process of origin of the present "sacrament of salvation" (cf. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, <Lumen gentium>, nos. 1, 9, 48), is presented as the People of God and its hierarchical constitution appears based on the College of Bishops united with its Head. For this reason, therefore, the bishops and the episcopates were invited to collaborate in the preparation of the new Code, so that by means of such a long process, by a method as far as possible collegial, there should gradually mature the juridical formulas which would later serve for the use of the entire Church. In all these phases of the work there also took part experts, namely, specialists in theology, history, and especially in canon law, who were chosen from all over the world. To one and all of them I wish to express today my sentiments of deep gratitude. In the first place there come before my eyes the figures of the deceased Cardinals who presided over the preparatory commission: Cardinal Pietro Ciriaci who began the work, and Cardinal Pericle Felici who, for many years, guided the course of the work almost to its end.Code, corresponds perfectly with the teaching and the character of the Second Vatican Council. Therefore the Code, not only because of its content but also because of its very origin, manifests the spirit of this Council, in the documents of which the Church, the universal
I think then of the secretaries of the same commission: Very Rev. Mons. Giacomo Violardo, later Cardinal, and Father Raimondo Bigador, S.J., both of whom in carrying out this task poured out the treasures of their doctrine and wisdom.
Together with them I recall the Cardinals, the archbishops, the bishops and all those who were members of that commission, as well as the consultors of the individual study groups engaged during these years in such a difficult work, and whom God in the meantime has called to their eternal reward. I pray to God for all of them. I am pleased to remember also the living, beginning with the present Pro-President of the commission, the revered brother, Most Rev. Rosalio Castillo Lara, who for a very long time has done excellent work in a task of such great responsibility, to pass then to our beloved son, Mons. Willy Onclin, whose devotion and diligence have greatly contributed to the happy outcome of the work, and finally to all the others in the commission itself, whether as Cardinal members or as officials, consultors and collaborators in the various study groups, or in other offices, who have given their appreciated contribution to the drafting and the completion of such a weighty and complex work.
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